Friends of the Animal Shelter is an organization made up of wonderful, diligent volunteers who have spent countless hours raising funds that have made the new facility a reality.

The Board of Appeals has ruled that the Aiken County Animal Shelter is required to have 12 paved parking spaces at its new location, instead of only two as requested.

Every penny counts. Why is this necessary? The shelter has functioned for 21 years with an adequate gravel parking lot. The gravel parking lot is not only beneficial to the surrounding trees and foliage, but assists in dispersing dog waste as well the safety issues.

The added expense of $2,000 (loose estimate) for the additional parking spaces may not be an issue to some, but it will actually feed all the animals in the entire shelter for one month which is huge.

This is a public facility paid with taxpayer's dollars, inadequate without the generosity of FOTAS. Favoritism and fairness has nothing to do with the issue at hand as stated in Aiken Standard article written on Dec. 14. “It smacks of favoritism and goes against the sense of fairness,” James Baggott, board member of Aiken County Board Appeals, was quoted as saying.

In today's economic climate, attempting to raise funds is so difficult, it seems that some sort of consideration pertaining to requirements for public places funded by the public could be considered.

It seems reasonable that the variance asked that only two handicapped spaces be paved at the new shelter and the rest of the parking lot and driveway remain gravel.

With FOTAS' good intentions, it is unfortunate that the total Board of Appeals were not able to grant an exception.

Sam Cato