Marion County takes over operations of animal shelter

Marion County takes over operations of animal shelter

MARION COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Marion County has taken over the operations of the Marion County Animal Shelter, terminating its partnership with Paws to the Rescue.

The shelter will be closed to the public until January 20 while the county conducts an inventory of supplies and equipment, and an evaluation of the shelter's animals and records is completed, according to a news release from the county.

County staff and volunteers will be operating the shelter during this transition phase. Anyone who is interested in volunteering can call the County Administration at 843-423-3904.

Any individual or organization interested in making donations to the shelter may contact Tim Harper, Marion County Administrator, at 843-423-3904.

After the transition, the county will seek an approved non-profit organization with a proven track record to operate and manage the shelter, according to county officials.

On Thursday, the Paws the the Rescue Facebook page posted an eight-page letter from their attorney to the county, explaining that the issues between them and the county stem from a 2013 request by the county for the organization to provide a financial report. According to the letter, the county then requested a more in-depth financial audit, which the organization claimed would cost about $10,000 of the $53,000 annual budget. The organization's attorney explained that there was confusion over whether the county's contract would require a financial report or a financial audit.

The letter also accuses the county of a lack of communication regarding several dogs that were housed at the shelter for pending court cases, including one dog that was stolen from the shelter in December 2014.

The letter concludes by stating that Paws to the Rescue had hired an accountant to conduct a full financial audit, per the county's contractual agreement.

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