Dr. Holly Woltz’ recent column in the Aiken Standard – PET TALK: Adopt, Adopt, Adopt from April 1 – which stressed the importance of spaying and neutering as well as adopting pets, really hit home with me.

The Aiken County Animal Shelter just moved into its fantastic new headquarters and is packed with wonderful dogs and cats looking for new homes. Yet, largely because many people in the past did not get their pets fixed, there are simply too many of these wonderful creatures for the shelter to house.

Even with the larger building and its expanded, state-of-the-art facilities, the shelter cannot accommodate the huge influx of lost and orphaned animals in Aiken County that desperately need forever homes. As Woltz said, “adopt, adopt, adopt.” If all of us living in Aiken County adopted an animal at our community’s Aiken County Animal Shelter, we could save the lives of thousands of amazing pets.

The only way these overwhelming numbers can be reduced is for people to get their pets neutered and spayed and for more residents to provide homes for the wonderful canines and felines that need love and care.

As a part-time volunteer, I see firsthand how the staff and volunteers at the shelter tirelessly take on their mission to save more animals. They are continuously reaching out to our local residents to adopt and are contacting rescues in other states to take in the shelter’s overflow of orphaned pets.

But even with the best efforts of the shelter’s professionals and volunteers, the amount of orphaned and unwanted animals is still too great. As Woltz pointed out in her column, the end result of an unchecked dog and cat population is that a higher percentage of orphaned pets must be euthanized.

So, please adopt a pet from the shelter and, if you already have animals, get them spayed or neutered as soon as possible. The shelter offers a limited amount of vouchers for folks who can’t afford to get their pets sterilized, as does the City and the SPCA.

Friends of the Animal Shelter – or FOTAS – is helping those in need of assistance with their pets and has funded hundreds of dog and cat spay/neuter surgeries.

Also, FOTAS’s Woofstock is coming up May 3 at the shelter. This year it will include a spay and neuter fundraiser called “Ride to Woofstock.” Check for more details at www.fotasaiken.org, and donate if you can.

Bob Gordon