Sunday, May 28, 2017

Steve Willis' Message to County Council Members

With grateful appreciation to the Lancaster County Council for stepping up to do what is right for the animals, we are happy to share a message from Steve Willis, Lancaster County Administrator, to Council Members.  Posted with permission from Steve Willis.

Council members,

Alan got the test results from Dr. Crawford today as she had been tied up on an outbreak in Florida. I know y'all have probably seen on the news that we have problems in our area as well with cases reported in Kershaw, York, Chester, and other counties in the area. Alan will remain vigilant as it is inevitable a sick stray will be coming in at some point in the next few months. More on that in a minute.

The test results came back with 17 testing negative and 9 testing positive. Of the 9 that were positive 6 came back with low virus counts and candidates for transfer to Charleston. They may well test negative by next week. Alan's following medical advice with antibiotics and vaccines has worked. Of the other 3 dogs 2 came back with a moderate virus count and 1 came back with a high virus count. I am afraid we will likely have to put just a few dogs down but I am extremely proud of Alan for taking the road less travelled and saving as many dogs as he could. There should be no question where his heart lies on saving as many animals as reasonably possible.

Given what we have been through I have directed Alan to determine a reasonable population cap for the shelter. Our euthanasia rate for space will increase but overcrowding with the virus loose in the area is merely an open invitation to go through this again. We will certainly be working with our rescue partners to save as many as possible.

As you have seen from our media partners a lot of progress has been made at the Shelter. The HVAC system is our remaining major project. We will have a full update at the June I&R meeting. Let me put in a plug for Alan and Councilman Honeycutt; these improvements are not a permanent fix and in no way negates the need for a new facility.

Again I cannot say thank you enough to Dr. Cynda Crawford at the University of Florida, Kim Kelly at the SC Humane Society, the team at the Charleston Animal Society, and of course our local supporters and vets for their assistance during this trying time. A lot of dogs literally owe them and our Shelter staff their lives. I also want to say thank you to Council for allowing me to exceed my budget caps to handle this outbreak and authorize the necessary steps to avoid mass euthanasia. In closing let me thank Jeff and Daniel for supplying staff to help Alan with various improvement projects and our Animal Control staff for working with us during this time.