As an animal lover and FOTAS volunteer, I always read with interest the columns written in the Aiken Standard in support of the animal shelters in Aiken County.

I was dismayed to read Gary Willoughby’s recent submission regarding his partnership with the Aiken County Animal Control.

He neglected to mention the most important force behind the creation of the programs for the Aiken County Animal Shelter – FOTAS or Friends of the Animal Shelter.

While Bobby Arthurs and his staff do an outstanding job of animal control, providing food and shelter to the homeless and unwanted animals, there would be no animal advocacy without the partnership with FOTAS.

Three years ago, FOTAS was formed by a handful of concerned people.

Their first priority was to bring awareness to the citizens of Aiken that the county shelter existed.

Now, there are roughly 1,000 members and 75 active volunteers who work tirelessly on behalf of the county shelter.

Our efforts include raising money for the desperately needed new facility, establishing and expanding our Spay Neuter Assistance Program to target local communities, most recently through Palmetto Lifeline.

Dedicated FOTAS volunteers help make shelter animals more adoptable with exercise, training and TLC.

We have also created a program to foster puppies, kittens and their mothers.

Another FOTAS contribution has been the creation of a separate cat colony building to ease overcrowding in the main shelter.

On behalf of FOTAS, I would like to speak up and give credit where credit is due.

Anyone wanting to help support the homeless animals of Aiken County, please join us at our upcoming fundraiser: Woofstock – “Mutts & Music Festival” at Highfields Event Center, Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sally Stroker