Southern Canine Rescue is hoping to make a difference for some of the dogs that end up at animal control, and to bring awareness to the need to spay and neuter area pets.
“I started about two years ago just going up to the shelter,” said Pat Manser, one of the group’s leaders.
First she has the dogs scanned for microchips, and then if she can identify the dog as a particular breed she works to place the dog with a rescue group.
“Almost every rescue that will take a dog in will spay, neuter, bring the dog up to date on its shots,” Manser said, “and also if the dog needs heartworm treatment, or any kind of treatment they’ll bring that dog back to health.”
She also said they want people to know how many dogs in the area are brought into the shelter.
“It’s been getting to be more and more every time I go up there,” Manser said. “A stray dog is only held three days before it can be euthanised. A dog that’s surrendered by its owner can be put down that day. A lot of them are because there’s no room, and the shelter does put down between 25 and 30 dogs a week—that’s a good week,” Manser said.
Kacy Tedder said there’s a misconception that the animal control is the humane society.
“Pat goes up there once or twice a week and there are different dogs every time she goes, and we know they’re not all being adopted,” Tedder said. “The shelter’s been very good to us.”
Manser said animal control has worked with her for the last couple of years, and they will see if she can find a place for some of the dogs.
“They do work with us, but it’s heartbreaking,” she said.
Said Tedder: “It’s a huge problem, and it’s growing. As the economy is going down, more dogs are going to the shelter. This area really needs some attention.”
Manser said it’s important for people to realize if they take their animal to the shelter, it most likely won’t make it a week.
“There are a lot of mixed breeds up there that are sweet as anything,” she said, “and my heart breaks because it’s like I can’t find the rescue for them, and just because they’re a mixed breed, that’s a shame.”
She said the rescues will take mixed breeds if they have enough room. Tedder said there are many reasons a dog ends up at animal control.
“There are dogs of divorce up there,” Tedder said. “There are dogs that the owner died and the family didn’t want it. Most of them are mistreated.
“We feel like in Effingham there are a lot of people who care and who do want to help. It’s hard to know where to begin, and maybe they thought they don’t have much to offer,” she said. “We’re going to try to do fundraising events and get people to help transport and volunteer help with different things. Even if people thought they don’t have anything to offer, they do.”
Manser complimented animal control for the crew of prisoners it has working there now.
“The crew they’ve got working up there now have the biggest hearts,” she said, “and I think it’s making a difference on them too, on these guys.”
Manser said a good tool for pet owners is a microchip. This can be done through the pet’s veterinarian or at clinics that are held. She said a lot of people don’t realize if their dog is missing, they should contact the shelter every few days because there are times someone will take a dog in to try to find the owner. When they don’t, the dog may then go to animal control.
Tedder said they became involved with a golden retriever rescue because there is a “huge overpopulation of labs up there.”
Manser said it is the most common dog at animal control. They were involved with the Atlanta Dog Squad, a group that took many from this area.
“We feel like it’s important that we stand up for ourselves here in Effingham County,” Manser said. “We’re taking our problem and moving it up there. Atlanta has enough dogs of their own, and they’ve just been really kind to us.”
Tedder said that they hope to continue to work with other rescue groups but currently many of the rescues are full, and it’s difficult to place a dog, even if it is pure bred.
Currently, Southern Canine Rescue is looking for donations and volunteers. The group’s 501c3 approval is pending. While they wait for their nonprofit status to be approved, they are preparing to begin work as soon as they can.
“Money’s critical,” Tedder said. “Volunteers are critical, but money’s critical because we pull a dog, and we may not know what it has. Once we’ve pulled that dog, we’ve committed and it’s not going back. We have to do what we need to do get it healthy. We need foster parents. Volunteer to foster a dog — when we start pulling dogs we have to have somewhere for them to go.”
Manser said before a dog is placed in a foster home it will be brought up to date on its shots, temper tested and held at the veterinarian’s office for a couple of days to make sure it does not have an illness that could be passed to any of the pets in the foster home.
“We expect that maybe the amount of time that someone would have to foster would be at the most between four to six weeks,” she said.
Tedder said what the group will be able to do will depend on the volunteers that join and the support from the community. Currently they spend every third Saturday of the month at the Tractor Supply Company handing out information and selling things to support the organization.
Manser said Tractor Supply has been good to them.
“They’re very dog friendly,” she said. “They’re more than willing to let us sell or put anything we want out there.
Manser said the group also hands out information on the Spay/Neuter Alliance and Clinic (SNAC). They are currently planning to put a cookbook together to raise money, looking at a golf tournament in the spring. They also collect printer cartridges, cell phones and aluminum cans, which can be dropped off at Savannah River Mortgage in Rincon.
“Every little bit helps,” Tedder said. “We get $10 or $20 from something, that’s two shots (for a dog), or that might be a boarding. Eventually when we get up and going, it’s a great way for teenagers to get involved. We’re dedicating this time to raising awareness, bringing in volunteers and raising money, so that when we have our paperwork filed, because it’s a yearlong process, we want to be ready to pull dogs.”
When the 501c3 status is approved, and they can begin taking dogs from the shelter they will require them to be indoor dogs.
They said fostering dogs would not be for everyone, but there are people who sew and bake things that can be sold to raise funds and they need people to transport dogs to other rescue groups. They also need people who can take flyers to places that would allow them.
Manser said getting a dog spayed or neutered isn’t expensive, especially through the SNAC, which will pick up and bring the dog back after the procedure. It’s also the only way to deal with the pet population, she said.
“It’s also healthy for the dog to be spayed or neutered,” she said. “For the males, it prevents testicular cancer, and for females, it prevents breast cancer. This area does have a pet overpopulation problem.
“We really want it to work,” she said. “It’s been so depressing at times. We’ve just got to try to make it work.
There’s got to be good people here in Effingham County who are willing to help. It’s depressing to go up to that shelter and know most of them are not going to be there next week.”
She said because the county is growing so quickly she thought there would be more people looking to adopt dogs.
“It doesn’t look that way to me,” Manser said. “It looks like we’re just getting more and more unwanted, uncared about pets. It’s not their fault. Some of these dogs are wonderful dogs. I’ve gotten some of these dogs to homes where the dog’s been housebroken — they’re great with kids, they’re great with the other dogs. They’re good with cats. What more could you ask.”
For more information Southern Canine Rescue, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org