County Animal Control

E-mail County Council (click here)

Update (10/30/2011)

Dear Friends,

We were as upset as you were to learn that Spartanburg County Council may invest our citizens' tax dollars in another county to pay for services that are available at a lower rate right here in Spartanburg.  The only way this arrangement could cost less than the longstanding relationship with the Spartanburg Humane Society is if Spartanburg County Council intends to ignore the county's stray animals who are not picked up by Animal Control Officers.  In 2010, lost animals picked up by Good Samaritans accounted for more than half of Spartanburg County stray animals, over 5,500 dogs and cats. 

This decision will cost all of us even more in the long run.  By only providing for the stray animals picked up by County Animal Control Officers, County Council will be neglecting many thousands of stray animals who will roam the streets, backyards, and public places in our community.  These animals will multiply and cause an increase in bite cases, an increase in potentially deadly vehicular accidents, and an increase in other public nuisances that affect our quality of life.  Each of these side effects will cost tax payers even more money - money that could have been better spent improving our community.

If you support public health and safety in our community, we encourage you to reach out to your representative and tell them to reach an agreement with the Spartanburg Humane Society. 

Spartanburg County Council has a lot of questions to answer.

  • Why will council consider paying more per animal for services they can get right here in Spartanburg County for less?
  • What will happen to the nearly 6,000 stray Spartanburg County animals who are brought in by citizens each year? Do they expect citizens to drive an hour to Greenville to get these animals to safety?
  • How can County Council justify boosting Greenville's economy with Spartanburg County tax dollars?
  • How many new County Animal Control Officers will be needed to handle picking up twice as many animals and transporting them to Greenville?  How long will animals, and the citizens who find them, have to wait before they can be rescued from our streets? 
  • How much time and money will Spartanburg citizens spend having to drive to Greenville in hopes of finding their lost companion?

These are important questions with serious implications for public health and safety, animal welfare, and everyone's quality of life in this community.  Unfortunately we do not have the answers.  We can only repeat our desire to sit down with council members and discuss a better, local, solution.

The SHS has been honest about our intention to end our contractual relationship with the county.  We proposed a gradual, reasonable, responsible, and humane approach to a transition that could lead to two strong programs:  a strong animal care and control program that gets stray animals off of the streets and a strong humane society with programs focused on adoptions and progressive services aimed at preventing homelessness, neglect, and suffering.  We are still willing to work toward that goal. 

Admittedly, our relationship with the county has been tense; however, that tension is not insurmountable with so much at stake. 

There is still time for Spartanburg County residents to speak up. 

Please let council know if you share our concerns about their proposal to house only a portion of Spartanburg County stray animals in another county.

We invite our supporters to attend the Spartanburg County Council Ad-Hoc Committee Meeting on Monday, October 31st at 3:00 pm and the County Council meeting immediately after in the councilís chambers at the County Administration Building (map) in Spartanburg.  If you cannot attend the meeting, please e-mail or call your representative.

Thank you for your support.

Jeff Horton (chairman) or (864)583-0963
Michael Brown (district 1) or (864) 573-1003
O'Neal Mintz (district 2) or (864) 585-412
David Britt (district 3) or (864) 595-3314 ext. 264
Jane Hall (district 4) or (864) 433-8406
Dale Culbreth (district 5) or (864) 472-6382
Roger Nutt (district 6) or (864) 587-6185

Update (10/18/2011): 

Dear Friends:

We know all of you were disturbed by reports from yesterday, regarding the suspension of the housing and care of the county's stray animals.  For all of us concerned about the care and protection of animals in our community, it was painful to face the county's failure to pay for this service.  We understand your concerns and we want to keep you updated on the situation.

Today, October 18th, Spartanburg County delivered partial payment for their past due balance of nearly $110,000 for the housing and care of county animals.

In light of this good faith effort, the Spartanburg Humane Society (SHS) notified county officials that we will provide housing and care for the county's stray animals until October 31st.

In order to continue housing and caring for county animals beyond October 31st, the Humane Society will need to receive the remainder of the past due balance as well as payment for November services.   If we have not been paid in full by the 31st, we will be forced to suspend services for county animals indefinitely.  

The Humane Society wants to believe that Spartanburg County will fund their responsibility to this community - protecting public health and safety.  However, if the county does not intend to pay their past due balance, this extension affords them time to find an alternative service provider for humane housing of animals.

We have already heard from many friends who have written and called council members.  We are trying to respond to you all individually, but it is difficult to adequately express our appreciation.  Thank you for taking positive action for animals, and for taking the additional step of sharing your inspiring words of support with us.

It is not too late to reach out to council members.  The animals in this community need more voices to speak up on their behalf.  As elected officials, the decisions of Spartanburg County Council members should reflect the will of the people they represent.  It is critical for Spartanburg County leaders to understand that the residents of this community know animal care and control is a priority that needs to be addressed, for the animals and for the health and well-being of the community.  Help us spread the word by contacting county council members.

We have heard from some community members who are confused by some of the media coverage. 
  • Whether or not we house and care for county animals does not impact our other services including low cost spay/neuter and affordable veterinary services, adoptions, classes at the Good Dog Academy, and humane education programs. 
  • We will also remain open for pets surrendered by owners living in Spartanburg County. 
  • The Humane Society's relationship with the cities of Spartanburg and Greer remains strong and there has been no suspension of services for animals from these municipalities.
  • If you are aware of additional confusion, please let us know so that we can address it.

Thank you,

Sandy Christiansen
Sandy Christiansen

President & CEO

On Monday, October 17th, the Spartanburg Humane Society announced to Spartanburg County Council Members and the public that Spartanburg County is past due for over $110,000 for the housing and care of county animals.  Repeated calls and correspondence have gone unanswered.  

County council members and county staff have been notified that the SHS will not accept stray animals from county animal control officers after close of business Monday, October 17, 2011.  The SHS will continue to accept county stray animals from the public until 5:00pm on Saturday, October 22nd.  The SHS will continue to accept critically ill or injured animals in need of immediate help.  

The SHS wants to continue to work with the county to manage their stray animal population; however, the SHS can no longer continue to house county animals without compensation.  

Since July, the county has been ignoring an increase in the cost of services provided by the SHS.  Since September, the county has refused to pay for increased costs related to the longer stray hold.  Now the county has stopped paying completely. 

Spartanburg County has never covered all of the costs associated with responsible care of stray animals.  Historically, the county has accused the SHS of doing too much for animals.  Instead of lowering our standards, the SHS has covered extra costs for care we know is necessary, including vaccines that prevent diseases like parvo and distemper, as well as basic medical and behavioral screenings.  This has stretched our budget to the limit.  

Continuing to pay for the county's expenses for animal control threatens our ability to continue proactive programs that we believe are critical to animal welfare in this community, programs supported by donor dollars.  In order to prevent closing the doors of the Humane Society completely - doors which open to many lifesaving services - we must close our doors to county strays until the county accepts their responsibility and pays their bill.  

Two weeks ago, the SHS notified council representatives of our intention to end our relationship within a year.  Our goal was to work together toward a smooth transition for animals and the community.  Their failure to pay for ongoing services and their refusal to offer any explanation of why or when payment would be made has led to the suspension of services.  

This is a very dark time for Spartanburg County.  The SHS cannot imagine a community without a strong animal control program that includes responsible housing and care of stray animals.  

We are calling upon citizens to make your voice be heard.  Whether or not you care about animal welfare, if you are concerned that thousands of stray dogs and cats will remain on the streets of your towns and cities, please speak up.   Tell Spartanburg County Council members that you want your leaders to invest in a strong animal control program.