By: Claire Roberson, Communications Director

The effects of COVID-19 are widespread, affecting millions of people, but also affecting thousands of companion animals in your local shelters. The animals, as well as the health of our vital staff and volunteers, are our top priorities at this time. We are working hard to reduce the overall number of animals coming into the shelter, because we have already seen a sudden decrease in adoptions and expect an increase in intakes, which typically happens in times of uncertainty.

The SPCA Albrecht Center operates yearly at or near capacity, so reducing intakes and maintaining outcomes is essential to avoid overcrowding and depleting resources. The plan developed over the last few days addresses all areas of operation at the shelter:

  • Adoptions

    Temporary adoption hour change: Monday – Saturday 11 am to 3 pm

    At this time, the shelter is not restricting adoptions. However, we ask that the traffic coming into the shelter side is restricted to ONLY adopters and volunteers coming in to fulfill their duties. ALL adoption fees are currently $0, in an effort to move animals quickly through the shelter into their forever homes.

  • Fostering

    To help reduce the number of animals in the shelter, we are seeking temporary foster homes in the event of an outbreak. Interested foster homes can fill out a quick and easy online foster application at The shelter will create a list of foster homes to contact if we reach critical capacity or in the event of a full closure.

  • Owner Surrenders

    At this time, we are restricting the number of owner surrenders we are taking in. We are trying our best to avoid overcrowding and want to maintain space for the pets that need us most. We ask all pet owners seeking to surrender to keep their pets during this time, or research alternative ways of rehoming:

    If you or someone you know has been directly affected by COVID-19 and has pets, we ask family members or neighbors to help care for these animals while their owner is in treatment.

    Stray Animals

    We ask that all strays needing assistance be reported to City of Aiken Animal Control directly – (803) 642-7620 – rather than being brought to the shelter

  • Volunteering

    At this time, we are not suspending volunteer activities. Our volunteers are essential to the everyday operations of this shelter. If you are a current volunteer and are willing and able to continue your volunteer duties, we welcome you. If you are an “at risk” volunteer, we send you gratitude for your generous service. Volunteer Information Sessions are continuing, but limited to five attendees, and jrSPCA activities are temporarily on hold.

  • Donations

    We THANK YOU and welcome all donations that can assist us during this pandemic. A list of essential items needed at the shelter can be found online at: We ask donors to order donations through Amazon, in order to limit foot traffic into the shelter. However, if needed, you may still drop off donations by using the SPCA’s ‘Intake Lobby;’ door located down the breezeway next to the Adoption Center.

  • Veterinary Care Center

    The Veterinary Care Center is still in operation. Walk-In Hours: Tuesday through Friday from 1 pm to 4 pm and Saturday from 8 am to noon (Closed Saturday, March 21). Patrons will be asked to wait with their pets outside or in their vehicle to limit the number of persons confined in the Care Center’s lobby. TNR (trap-neuter-return) surgeries are currently on hold. Privately-owned pet spay/neuter surgeries are still being scheduled.

  • Thrift Store

    The Mitchell Plaza Thrift Store (1589 Whiskey Road in Aiken) is still open to the public; Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm.

The public Dog Park is still open to current members, but we ask them to use extreme precautions when using the Park. April’s Cat Yoga event is postponed – updated date TBA.

Though the SPCA Albrecht Center is still in operation at this time, we ask anyone coming into the Shelter, Veterinary Care Center or Thrift Store to use proper precautions in line with CDC recommendations – washing your hands for 20 seconds and sanitizing regularly. If you are sick, have recently travelled to or from countries where COVID-19 outbreaks have been reported, have been in contact with a suspected persons with COVID-19, or if you yourself have tested positive or are awaiting COVID-19 test results, please DO NOT enter the Shelter, Care Center or Thrift Store.

The SPCA Albrecht Center is committed to maintaining transparency with our supporters for the sake of our community’s animals. As new information comes to light about COVID-19, we will continue to develop our strategy and communicate it to the public. We understand this pandemic is affecting everyone in many different ways, but if you find it in your heart to assist, please consider adopting, fostering or donating to the animals in our care. Thank you!

According to the CDC, “at present, there is no evidence to suggest that dogs or cats will become a source of infection of COVID-19 in other animals or humans.”

An Aiken native and self-proclaimed cat lady, Claire Roberson is the SPCA Albrecht Center’s Communications Director, working in marketing, grant writing and media correspondence. She attended College of Charleston, where she graduated with a degree in Nonprofit Business and interned with Charleston Animal Society, the leader in No-Kill South Carolina. When not working, you can find Claire hanging out with her 18-pound Maine Coon mix, Anakin.

The SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare is a private, nonprofit, no kill animal shelter in Aiken, SC.  The SPCA also operates a local Thrift Store (“Where Shopping Saves Lives”),  a public, affordable Veterinary Care Center & a Dog Park.  It is our mission to improve the lives of companion animals by rehoming abused, abandoned, and neglected pets while fighting for their well-being through vigorous legislative efforts, humane education, and by offering affordable veterinary care for all.