BENNETTSSVILLE, SC (WMBF) - The mayor of Bennettsville is addressing concerns at their local city animal shelter after it was brought to his attention for the first time.
Mayor Heath Harpe said the safety of the animals being housed in the 50-year-old building on Huckabee Street is his No. 1 priority.
"We're working with the Humane Society and they recommended just working on keeping what we have clean and the animals safe in there and we will try to identify a permanent solution." Harpe said.
That permanent solution is one the mayor said will take time and effort.
"Any time there is deficiencies in our local government or anything we are in charge of, we like for them to be brought to light, so we find solutions and correct the problem going forward," Harpe said. "That's what it is. I had a lengthy meeting with the administrator yesterday (Monday) and are committed to providing funding and finding solutions and taking care of the animals going forward."
Harpe said the city is taking care of all veterinarian bills and tests on the 15 dogs and one cat living in the shelter. A local veterinarian, Dr. Terry Eades from Blenheim, is visiting the shelter to set up a mobile vet station. It is located off West Main Street right next to the waste water treatment facility.
Harpe started looking into a solution after one woman shared photos of the shelter and her concerns. One of the pictures showed animals in the freezer. The mayor said that is protocol for after an animal euthanized and until they can be disposed of at a South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control-approved facility.
It wasn't the only concern that Harpe discussed.
"The concern that the gas chamber was still being used there, that's not the case," he said. "The gas chamber is not being used. We've actually made plans it will be torn out this week and I've had contact with the National Humane Society and I've told them I would send them pictures when the old chamber is torn out."
Harpe added he wants to update the city's animal control ordinance and get monthly reports of animals being brought in through animal control, which falls under the city police department. He said getting the animals in the county shelter is his ideal permanent solution.
He asked if anyone is looking to rescue the animals to contact the Humane Society of Marlboro County.
Humane Society representatives should be working with the vet until the need is no longer there.