FOTAS, Aiken County Animal Shelter offering Home to Home program
A new local program is providing residents who need to give up their pets the opportunity to find other homes for them online before surrendering them to the Aiken County Animal Shelter.
The animal shelter and Friends of the Animal Shelter, or FOTAS, have teamed up to offer Home to Home.
Pet owners can visit fotas.home-home.org and enter information about their animals and submit photos of them.
Ellen Priest will use the information to create a profile for the pets that will appear with their photos on the Home to Home website. In addition, Priest, who is the FOTAS Home to Home coordinator, will post links to profiles, photos of the pets and some information about them on the FOTAS-Friends of the Animal Shelter Facebook page.
“We have thousands of followers on Facebook, and they are really good about sharing the posts we put up,” said Priest, who is also a member of the FOTAS board of directors.
The Home to Home program isn’t limited to dogs and cats. It can be used to find new homes for guinea pigs, miniature horses, rabbits, turtles and all sorts of other animals.
Usually, the animal shelter only accepts dogs and cats, Priest said.
In addition, there are no adoption fees with Home to Home. All services are free.
Another advantage of Home to Home is it is less stressful for pets because they stay in a familiar environment instead of spending time at the animal shelter waiting to be adopted.
“When I see pets surrendered at the desk, they all shake and tremble,” said Animal Shelter Assistant Administrator Rachel McGee. “As they are taken from their owners, they look back with their hearts broken. We are excited about our new Home to Home program – rehoming your pets out of your home. This will prevent pets from having to be stressed out at the shelter and also help reduce overcrowding at the shelter.”
Priest said it was FOTAS President Jennifer Miller’s idea to get FOTAS and the animal shelter to expand their adoption efforts to include the interactive Home to Home website, home-home.org, which Panhandle Animal Shelter of Sandpoint, Idaho, developed.
“One of Jennifer’s talents as the head of FOTAS has been identifying programs that are healthy for the community and healthy for the animals,” Priest said.
If people are unable to find someone to take their dogs or cats, they can still make an appointment and bring them to the animal shelter to surrender.
“We’re just asking them to try Home to Home first,” Priest said. “It’s not mandatory, but it will help free up resources in the shelter so they can be used for stray and injured animals.”
The Aiken County Animal Shelter is at 333 Wire Road.
For more information, call the animal shelter at 803-642-1537 or FOTAS at 803-514-4313.