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Passion for animals drives new shelter director

  • 22 February 2018
  • Author: Dan McNiel
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Passion for animals drives new shelter director

Animal Services Director Stephanie Jones is devoted to dogs and cats in Marlboro County.
"I have a lot of passion for getting the animals out of here. I have a lot of ideas for programs and things to hopefully decrease the intake numbers."
She started Feb. 1 as director.
The Humane Society of Marlboro County has taken over the shelter for the county.
"We have a two-year contract with the county to run the shelter for them," she said.
Jones is not new to the Humane Society. She has been the rescue coordinator for more than five years.
The position came years ago when she moved to Blenheim and found a lot of stray dogs.
"I was always seeing stray dogs in the road getting hit by cars," she said. "I would try to stop, pick them up and try to find out where to take them."
Jones got involved with the Humane Society.
As director, her job involves cleaning of the shelter, daily care and feeding of the animals, vaccinations and veterinarian visits.
The Humane Society covers all of the veterinarian bills. Animals are then networked for rescue or adoption.
At the shelter, there are 35 dog runs, a puppy room with six to eight cages and a full cat room for 40.
Jones said most of the animals leave through the rescue program because there are not many adoptions with so many homeless pets in Marlboro County.
With the transport program, dogs and cats are taken to rescue groups or no-kill shelters twice a month.
Jones said they have gone as far as New Hampshire, Michigan, and Vermont.
"We have a lot of rescue support," she said.
A recent transport had volunteers driving 14 puppies and eight adult dogs to Kalamazoo, Mich. 
Annually, about 1,500 dogs and cats come into the shelter with about 1,300 transported out last year.
Animals will get euthanized only if they are aggressive toward people, other animals or are really sick.
"Most of the time, we have been really successful over the last couple of years getting everybody that can be saved," Jones said.
One of her goals is to increase the number of spay/neuter mobile clinics.
Currently, it comes every other month.
Jones also writes grants for the Humane Society and said they have received several grants over the last few years for transport and new kennels.
She would like to get more spay/neuter funds for community animals to help decrease the population.
And have more community programs to help people who may need assistance in vaccinating, feeding or taking better care of their pets.
"There is so much we could do but we just have to have the time and volunteers," Jones said.
She felt good the Humane Society is able to give animals options to find a loving home and not just roam the streets or be chained up outside in someone's yard unwanted.
"There is a lot of hope for change," Jones said. "It is going to take everybody's help and support."
Adopting an animal from the shelter begins with filling out an application. 
"We do want to have a conversation with them about what their family situation is like and what kind of dog or cat they are looking for so we can match them with the best animal for their family.
Every animal is spayed or neutered and vaccinated before it goes home.
After the adoption, Jones said they will check on the animal and new owner to make sure everything is doing well.
"We do want to increase our adoption support," she said.
Seeing all the animals come into the shelter sometimes tempted Jones.
"My husband told me not to bring home any more animals. Every time I call him when I pick up a dog on the side of the road, he tells me not to bring it home," she said. "But I know I can find places that will take them. I feel good that they are not just going to sit up here in the kennels with no place to go."
Currently, it is just Jones and two part-time people so it is hard for them to be in the office answering the phones.
If interested in adoption or volunteering, call 843-479-3330 and leave a message.
Jones added they always need volunteers.
"It is not just dog cleaning, we need help answering the phone, office help, washing dog bowls and playing with the cats," she said."There are all types of jobs not just scrubbing the kennels."

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