Friend to pets has new name

The John Ancrum SPCA is changing their name to Charleston Animal Soceity. This is their new logo.

Nonprofit now Charleston Animal Society

After 67 years, the John Ancrum Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has a new name.

That nonprofit mouthful has been replaced with, simply, the Charleston Animal Society.

Charlie Karesh, the society's board president, said the board has been discussing a name change for four or five months in anticipation of the planned March 1 opening of its $11.2 million, 31,000-square-foot shelter.

"With a new name and a new shelter, it's a new day for animals in Charleston County," said Karesh, adding that most new shelters experience a 40 percent to 75 percent increase in adoptions the year after opening.

The idea behind the name change, which was urged by the society's public relations consultants at Rawle Murdy Associates, was that it more succinctly conveys the message of what the society does. Many people, especially new residents, do not know who Ancrum was. (He was an early board president in an organization that dates back to 1880.) Then throw in SPCA and it's a recipe for "Huh?"

But in a town that prides itself in heritage, Karesh said Ancrum will not be forgotten. The new logo will have "Charleston Animal Society" in bold print. Underneath it will appear "A JASPCA Facility."

"He (John Ancrum) is still a large part of our history. We're not forgetting about him," Karesh said. "I think he (Ancrum) would have appreciated the fact that we think we are doing the right thing."

The official name change took place Nov. 26, but the society eased into launching it along with another campaign designed to make locals think of the shelter in a more positive, fun light.

As South Carolina and the nation head into the presidential primary elections, the society will be holding an election of their own: Spike the dog versus Biscuit the cat.

In the coming months, various local politicians and VIPs are expected to endorse their own candidates. People are invited to go to www.spikeVSbiscuit.org and vote. The official tally will be March 1.

The effort is not only to raise awareness of the new shelter but also to urge people to make donations toward the nearly $5 million needed to finish paying for it.