Friends of the Animal Shelter was awarded a $10,000 grant to help continue placing adoptable cats or dogs into forever homes.

The Best Friends Animal Society, in partnership with PetSmart Charities, recently awarded the grant to the local nonprofit to assist in its adoption and placement programs at the Aiken County Animal Shelter. The purpose of the grant is to increase adoption rates in the area, according to a press release.

“This grant project targets animals that are most at-risk to be killed and provides an innovative solution to save lives,” stated Ellen Gilmore, manager of Best Friends’ No More Homeless Pet Network. “Best Friends has been building effective life-saving programs for nearly 30 years. With the help of groups like Friends of the Animal Shelter, we can save even more. In fact, if we all work together, we can save them all.”

According to the release, approximately 9,000 stray animals are killed in shelters each day, and these organizations are working to drop that number, which they’d like to see at zero.

Friends of the Animal Shelter President Jennifer Miller said they are very proud and grateful to receive the grant. She said the goal is to adopt out an additional 240 pets to loving families.

“The money will enable us to save more adoptable animals at our community Aiken County Animal Shelter – another step in our mission to never have to euthanize one adoptable pet,” Miller said.

Miller commended the Friends’ volunteers and their hard work over the years to help local animals in need. She said more volunteers are needed for foster homes or other tasks.

“The volunteers are our lifeline,” Miller said. “Without them, we would not be able to do this program.”

Friends of the Animal Shelter in Aiken was founded in 2009 and is an all-volunteer nonprofit. The organization works to decrease the euthanization rate of adoptable animals that land in the County Animal Shelter through fostering them as well as promoting them in hopes to find them homes.

Anyone interested in volunteering can visit the Aiken County Animal Shelter, located at 411 Wire Road or call 803-642-1537.

New volunteer orientations are held on Saturdays at the shelter at 10 a.m.

Amy Banton is the County reporter fro the Aiken Standard and has been with the publication since May 2010. She is a native of Rustburg, Va. and a graduate of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College.