‘It’s been declining’: Marion County Animal Shelter to temporarily close to fix ongoing issues

Published: Jun. 20, 2023 at 3:59 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 20, 2023 at 6:29 PM EDT
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MARION COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – The Marion County Animal Shelter and county leaders have reached a decision to temporarily close on July 1.

WMBF News has been following updates on the shelter, where two full-time employees, one part-time employee and volunteers do all that they can to give a comfortable life to the animals who are searching for their forever home.

But now ongoing issues have forced the shelter to close for a bit. Leaders want to address problems facing the shelter such as sanitation, employee working conditions, animal diseases and a rodent problem.

RELATED COVERAGE | ‘We need help’: Marion County Animal Shelter pleads for help to take care of nearly 200 dogs, cats

“It’s been an ongoing issue over time. It didn’t just happen last night, didn’t just happen last year, it’s been declining for some time now. Just issues that needed to be addressed, need to be addressed now,” Interim County Administrator Chavis Watford said.

Watford met on Tuesday morning with several leaders, including the animal shelter director and shelter employees, to formulate a plan on what needs to be done to temporarily close the shelter.

One of the biggest hurdles is finding a place for nearly 200 animals. Currently, the shelter has 91 dogs and 90 cats.

Watford said the county needs animal rescues, other animal shelters and the community to help take the animals. Any animals not adopted by July 1 will be placed in a designated area while crews clean and sanitize the shelter.

MORE INFORMATION | Marion County Animal Shelter how to adopt and/or donate

The animal shelter is looking to host adoptions for the current animals, with dog adoptions costing $100 and cat adoptions costing $35, before the shelter temporarily closes.

Watford said there isn’t a timeline for when the shelter will reopen, but said leaders want to work as quickly as possible to fix the issues.

“It’s only a temporary fix, so I think everybody understood that if we work together in a timely fashion then we can have a better shelter than what we have now,” Watford said.

Watford added that this is a short-term solution while the county works to build a new shelter.

Anyone who can help give the animals a place to stay during the temporary closure is asked to call the Marion County Animal Shelter at 843-423-8370.