The director of the Berkeley County animal shelter where 66 wrinkly dogs ended up after being taken from a Shar-Pei breeder last week is confident most of the dogs will find homes.
She also is calling for changes in the law to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
“We’ve gotten great response from folks across the United States,” Marcia Atkinson, executive director of the Doc Williams SPCA, said Friday.
Two dogs were adopted Thursday after their plight was publicized, and the shelter has gotten calls from several Shar-Pei clubs and rescue groups around the country, she said. She expects about 75 percent of the dogs to be adopted and almost all the rest to find homes with rescue groups. The fate of one elderly dog with kidney problems remains in question.
Animal control officers seized the dogs last week and took them to the shelter. Atkinson said a woman had been breeding them for sale and let the situation get out of control.
Shelter staff is documenting the condition of each animal, and those reports will determine whether code enforcement officers bring charges against the former owner, she said.
Berkeley County Code Enforcement Supervisor William Fitton said he was not able to comment on an active investigation.
There are no regulations governing backyard dog breeding, and a business license is not required in unincorporated areas, she said. Opponents of dog fighting have expressed the same concerns about the breeding of pit bulls for sale. The Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have lobbied S.C. lawmakers for more regulations without success, she said.
At the bare minimum, breeders should be required to have a license that’s renewed once a year upon proof of vaccination, she said.
“That would flush out the majority of folks who are mishandling animals,” she said. “It’s time for citizens to take a stand and expect that folks are going to be responsible with their animals.”
Dogs that are available for adoption can be seen at the shelter at 502 Cypress Gardens Road in Moncks Corner from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. The normal adoption fee is $150, although the shelter is asking for extra to cover some of the costs of treating these animals.
Shar-Peis have loose skin, and if nothing is done about it, the folds can cover their eyes. Normally, the dogs get a minor procedure when they are about 2 months old to prevent the problem. These dogs didn’t get the procedure, so about half of them will require surgery next week, she said.
All animals that are adopted must be spayed or neutered, so these dogs can’t be used for breeding.
Information on how to help is at the shelter’s website at docwilliamsspca.org.
Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.