Who Ya Gonna Call?
This morning, the SPCA Shelter Manager, Sybil received a call about an injured deer on the side of Highway 19, just outside of Aiken city limits. On an early Sunday morning months ago, we got a call from a lady asking us to remove a possum from her shed. The SPCA receives a plethora of calls from folks who want to report animal abuse or neglect, or who would like us to pick up a stray running loose in North Augusta, Saluda or even Martinez. We also get tons of calls from people wanting emergency care or veterinary advice for their own pets.
While the SPCA is ever-so-happy to help, these calls should all be directed elsewhere, which makes me wonder: How much does the community know about the SPCA and other available animal welfare services?
Where should these calls have gone, if not to the SPCA? Well, it depends.
First, any emergency veterinary assistance should be directed to a private veterinarian or emergency clinic. The SPCA can make recommendations for local veterinarians but cannot offer veterinary assistance for ill or injured animals. The only veterinary services we provide are spay and neuter surgeries, vaccinations, nail trimming, ear cleaning, and testing such as those for FIV or heartworms. For a complete list of our services and prices, visit www.LetLoveLive.org.
Injured or deceased animals are reported to different agencies depending on the species and location of the animal. Wildlife, such as the aforementioned deer, that are injured but not dead, should be reported to the Department of Natural Resources. Region 3 of South Carolina’s DNR covers Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun, Clarendon, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland, Saluda and Sumter counties. The phone number is 803-734-3886.
On the other hand, if you encounter wildlife that has gone to the great beyond, the contact is dependent on location. Outside the City of Aiken, you should call the Department of Transportation at 855-GO-SCDOT (855-467-2638). Within city limits, you can call Aiken Public Safety at 803-642-7620.
“Nuisance animals” such as bats, raccoons, possums and snakes that often are found in attics, garages and sheds warrant calls to a pest control agency if they are indeed taking up residence. There is a complete list of pest control agencies on the DNR website: www.DNR.SC.gov. Be advised, these are private businesses, and they will certainly charge for their services. Also, if you are concerned about the welfare of these impostors, you may want to be sure the company you contact is on the same page. There are ways of removing and relocating animals without harming them.
According to Lt. Karl Odenthal of Aiken Public Safety, if the nuisance animal is within Aiken city limits and has not actually moved in with you but is just visiting, and there is an officer available, they will be happy to help you “shoo them out.” In general, however, a pest control company is the correct call to make.
For reports of animal neglect or abuse, call the Animal Control Department in your jurisdiction. City of Aiken Animal Control is at 803-642-7620, and Aiken County Animal Control is 803-642-1537.
If you still aren’t sure (and we can totally understand why it’s confusing), please call the SPCA at 803-648-6863. We will get you to the right agency.
Now that you know all of the things the SPCA doesn’t do, how about learning some more about what we do? We’d love to have you out for a tour of our facility. Just give us a call to set one up. The tours are led by a senior staff or board member and will give you a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on here at the SPCA, in our dog adoption wing, our catteries, clinics and the Marr Education Center.
No appointment is necessary to just look around, so come on out. You’ll be amazed at what the SPCA has to offer the community and our homeless pets: sterilization services, Phideaux University, Read and Relax and so much more!
Chrissey Miller, CAWA
SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare