2012-03-09 / Business

Pawmetto Lifeline opens Meyer Finlay Pet Adoption Center

By John Temple Ligon

Pawmetto Lifeline’s new Meyer Finlay Pet Adoption Center of Lexington and Richland Counties Pawmetto Lifeline’s new Meyer Finlay Pet Adoption Center of Lexington and Richland Counties More than 21,000 dogs and cats enter the animal control systems in Richland and Lexington Counties each year, and at least 18,000 of them are euthanized. But other communities in the country have drastically reduced their kill counts. The SPCA in Richmond, Va., for example, began a campaign five years ago to resolve its animal kill count problem; and today Richmond is de-scribed as a no-kill community.

Thanks to people in Pawmetto Lifeline and other like-minded organizations, in maybe six-toseven years, the Midlands, like Richmond, will be known as a no-kill community. Formed in 1999, Pawmetto Lifeline has rescued over 9,000 cats and dogs from local shelters.

Pawmetto Lifeline opened its new facility, under construction since August 2010, on Bower Parkway Wednesday afternoon, March 7. In short order, and on top of its current success in saving 800 cats and dogs every year, Pawmetto Lifeline will be able to save an additional 2,200 animals, bringing the annual total to 3,000 saved.

Palmetto Lifel ine’s Natasha Drozdak describes the new dog adoption section. Palmetto Lifel ine’s Natasha Drozdak describes the new dog adoption section. Problem is, it’s not cheap. Richland and Lexington Counties together spend $ 3.2 million per year to deal with animal over-population. Pawmetto Lifeline just spent $ 4 million for its new building, while the 7.5-acre site was contributed by Lexington County. Pawmetto Lifeline plans to spend an additional $ 2.5 million each year on its new programs now that it has a new home.

The money for the new building came from the two counties at $1.5 million each, and Columbians Austin and Lane Meyer gave $ 1 million. Every year the two main fundraising events at Pawmetto Lifeline are the Fur Ball in October and Bark to the Park this April 14. The last Fur Ball brought in $300,000, and Bark to the Park is expected to generate at least $100,000.

Other sources of revenue include the small margin tagged to the costs of handling special needs pets, such as spaying and neutering pit bulls.

The taxpayers of the Midlands save millions of dollars each year while Pawmetto Lifeline does its job. In other communities, controlling animal over-population is strictly a government responsibility.

Pawmetto Lifeline has two main services in moving pets through the facility: adoption and rescue. Rescue comes under the heading HEART, an acronym which means Help Every Animal Reach Tomorrow. Every day Pawmetto Lifeline e-blasts to its rescue partners around the country, finding homes for as many cats and dogs as possible.

Through gaining certification from the Humane Alliance headquartered in Asheville, N.C., Pawmetto Lifeline is the only such facility in the state. Across the country there are only 109 clinics with the same certification, and they are all part of the National Spay/Neuter Response Team.

The new building has an education component, where school kids are brought in for lessons on handling pets. All of the schools in the Midlands, public and private, send children to learn from Pawmetto Lifeline.

Next to the school children’s classrooms is a space dedicated to seniors who enjoy the animals, but who can’t keep pets due to the rules in assisted living.

Running the show at Pawmetto Lifeline is CEO Denise Wilkinson. Her president of the board is Delores Mungo. Charlotte Berry is vice-president of the board. For further information or to offer to contribute, contact publicist Natasha Drozdak, 465.9177.

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