All that exceeds FOTAS’ accomplishments are our possibilities! Here are a number of recent reasons for our optimism.

Yesterday, FOTAS held its second Woofstock Festival of Mutts and Music. With the weather forecast, sponsor/vendor/exhibitor support, and community interest as predictors of success, it must have been spectacular. All of the proceeds from the event will be invested in our new shelter.

Last month, accompanied by some very special adoptable dogs, FOTAS engaged the community on the needs of our County Shelter at St. Mary’s Chocolate Festival and Fall Steeplechase. More than 5,000 unwanted, mostly adoptable, dogs and cats a year are still coming into a grossly inadequate facility.

Since January FOTAS has transferred 431 dogs to no-kill shelters up north. They move through an unbroken chain of relationships from our inadequate shelter to volunteer foster homes, to transfer partners, to the love of responsible, well-vetted homes.

Combined with our county adoptions, we are saving twelve- to fifteen hundred pets a year, and still seven out of ten animals coming into the county shelter die there.

Naturally, we cannot build, adopt or transfer our way out of this heart-breaking reality. The real solution to the horrific euthanasia rate of impounded animals is to address the problem at its source: the elimination of unwanted litters of puppies and kittens through spay/neuter and responsible pet ownership.

Beginning last spring, through an opportunity offered by Pawmetto Lifeline in Columbia, FOTAS volunteers moved deliberately and actively into facilitating low-cost, targeted spay/neuter services through the new Spay/Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP).

Wagener area citizen’s response to the program was huge and saw that more than 80 cats and dogs were fixed before funds were exhausted in Columbia. That is when Aiken SPCA stepped up to the plate and became the critical partner for FOTAS SNAP in Wagener, picking up the surgeries for an additional 50 to 60 animals.

FOTAS and Wagener owe a huge debt of gratitude to Gary Willoughby, the SPCA’s executive director, who dedicated private funds received to continuing two spay/neuter transports of up to 20 animals each to their clinic this month.

As FOTAS continues to expand SNAP, piloted so successfully in Wagener, to other county trouble-spots, the SPCA will be ramping up their surgical capacity in the new Albrecht Center. The partnership emerging between the two organizations has the potential to move our county ever closer to never having to euthanize an adoptable pet!

There are so many ways you can help us achieve this goal. One way is to make a donation to our Capital Campaign for the new county shelter. Another is to write a check to FOTAS-SNAP and help fund targeted spay/neuter with the SPCA.

Or, now that the cold weather is upon us, the county shelter badly needs warm blankets for its current residents who are relegated to the overflow pens.

Donate: dollars, food, or blankets. Volunteer. Foster. Adopt a shelter pet. Help make the possibilities realities. We need you; in fact, can’t do it without you.

FOTAS volunteers work with the Aiken County Animal Shelter, 411 Wire Road. For more information, email or visit

Aiken County Animal Shelter: “By the Numbers”

Oct. 29 thru Nov. 4

Received: 50 dogs and 44 cats

Adopted: 10 dogs and 2 cats

Euthanized: 27 dogs and 34 cats