Animal Crisis: Summerville Petland to Sell Puppies Brought in from Other Parts of the Country

Lowcountry Animal Organizations Issue Plea to Petland Not to Import Puppies

Summerville, SC – For more than three decades, Lowcountry animal advocates have worked to build strong relationships with area pet stores to adopt out animals from local shelters and rescues in their stores. These efforts have paid off and thousands of homeless animals have been saved thanks to these community-minded stores who see the benefit in helping to adopt local, homeless animals.

Sadly, this lifesaving Lowcountry tradition is being threatened by Petland in Summerville. The new owner has made it public that starting Saturday, August 4th, Petland will be selling puppies purchased from large-scale commercial breeding facilities in other parts of the country.   These animals will not be spayed or neutered upon their sale to the public.

“The implications of this decision critically impact Dorchester County along with every shelter and rescue in the tri-county area. Our campus is at or above capacity all year long and with record-breaking admissions of over 50 animals in one day while working tirelessly to end unnecessary euthanasia – we are pleading with the store owner to drop these plans and urging the public to ADOPT, DON’T SHOP. Unaltered dogs can produce 2 litters of puppies per year with an average of 6-10 puppies. The math is simple, with the overcrowded shelters and limited amount of homes, this decision will revert the tri-county area backwards 30 years” said President of Dorchester Paws Natalie Hutt. There are numerous pet stores in our community that only carry animals from local shelters and rescues.

After discussions with Petland’s owner about his decision to bring in animals from large-scale commercial breeding facilities, Dorchester Paws and other animal rescue organizations made the painstaking decision to drop their relationship with the store until this practice changes. “We cannot in good conscience move forward in a relationship with a business knowing that the animals they are bringing into our community will overwhelm an already taxed system,” said Hutt.

“We have all worked for decades to reduce the numbers of animals being euthanized across South Carolina due to not enough homes. Our understanding is that Petland is one of the nation’s leading retailers of puppies bred in commercial facilities and that currently there are no other Petland stores in our state,” said Pearl Sutton, President of the South Carolina Animal Care and Control Association. “Last year, over 30,000 animals were euthanized in South Carolina, mostly due to overpopulation. The last thing we need are commercially-bred imported puppies,” said Sutton.

Carol Linville, Founder and President of Pet Helpers, states, “At a time when the Tri-County area is flooded with homeless animals, it is going to be much more challenging to adopt homeless animals, when we will now be flooded with animals from outside our community too. And, selling unsterilized puppies will explode the population of unwanted animals. I fear this will erode the gains we’ve made in the last 30 years.”

Petco Foundation Invests in Lifesaving Work of Dorchester Paws

Dorchester Paws plans to build a low-cost spay/neuter clinic

Summerville, SC – Dorchester Paws has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Petco Foundation to support the first low-cost spay/neuter clinic in Dorchester County. The clinic will be located on the campus of Dorchester Paws at 136 Four Paws Lane in Summerville, SC and Dorchester Paws hopes this critical piece of the puzzle will help the pet overpopulation crisis in Dorchester County.

“We see the good, the bad and the very bad in the shelter environment”, says Kim Almstedt, Executive Director. “Since we are the only open admission shelter in the county, we see it all. The funds from this grant will not only help Dorchester Paws purchase equipment to enable us to start a spay/neuter clinic; it will help us with hiring a veterinarian.”

Every animal adopted from Dorchester Paws is spayed or neutered first. Currently, the shelter partners with Doc Williams SPCA and Charleston Animal Society to complete these surgeries. In 2017, the shelter took in nearly 3,200 animals and spent nearly $70,000 on spay/neuter surgeries.

“This shelter has never had a spay/neuter clinic. We are extremely grateful to Petco Foundation for awarding us this grant,” states Natalie Hutt, Dorchester Paws President, Board of Directors. “The clinic would serve as a low-cost resource to area pet owners as well,” Hutt adds.

“Spaying and neutering your pets is important to help combat the pet overpopulation crisis. In May alone, the shelter has admitted nearly 300 animals and will be close to 350 admissions in one month. With only 177 adoptions, there are more animals than there are homes.” Almstedt said.

The shelter recently began a new initiative to provide more resources to pet owners. Pet owners can make appointments with Dorchester Paws to have their pets microchipped, vaccinated and get their nails trimmed. Currently, appointments are offered on Sundays from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. To make an appointment, call (843) 871-3820.

Dorchester Paws is open Sunday through Thursday from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m., Friday from 1:00 to 7:00 p.m. and Saturday from 12:00 to 7:00 p.m. The public is able to come any day of the week to adopt a dog or cat.

For more information about Dorchester Paws or the Petco Foundation, visit or


A Record Nobody Wants Broken

Dorchester Paws admits over 30 animals in one day

Summerville, SC – In one day, Dorchester Paws has taken in a record amount of animals. This is a record nobody wants broken. Following 16 animals admitted on Monday, May 14 and 11 last Friday, May 11, Dorchester Paws needs help.

One animal was found tied to the mailbox at the shelter when staff came in to work. He chewed through the leash and was running free until shelter staff and volunteers were able to catch him and bring him to safety.

A stray chihuahua was brought to Dorchester Paws in obvious distress. After being taken over to Central Veterinary Hospital, X-rays showed the dog to have a broken pelvis. As this pet was found stray, he is hoping to be reunited with his family. If anybody is looking for a lost chi chi, please come to Dorchester Paws as the shelter is desperately over capacity.

At 3:00 p.m. a call came to the Director of Shelter Operations informing Dorchester Paws that the shelter would be receiving 16 dogs in the next 30 minutes. Two mama dogs and seven puppies each. One litter is only 2-3 days old.

At 3:40 p.m., a second call came in indicating another six to eight animals coming in.

In total, the admissions for one day is over 30 animals. The already full dog kennels at Dorchester Paws are now over capacity. Dorchester Paws is calling for help. The majority of adoptable animals are dogs over 40 pounds. Therefore, the shelter is launching a “Go Big or They Don’t Go Home” adoption special where any dog over 40 pounds is only $40.

The first day of care averages $107. For the 30 animals brought in today, that equals $3,210. Donations to help provide funding for the care of the animals at Dorchester Paws can be made online at

A “Paw”-sitive Start to 2018 at Dorchester Paws

Dorchester Paws announces $50,000 PetSmart Charities grant award and other
shelter updates

Summerville, SC – After receiving a $50,000 grant, decreasing the shelter euthanasia
rate and continuing facility improvements, 2018 looks bright for Dorchester Paws,
Dorchester County’s only open-admission animal shelter.

Dorchester Paws was awarded a $50,000 grant from PetSmart Charities for spay/neuter

“Each animal adopted from Dorchester Paws is spay/neutered, microchipped,
vaccinated and given preventatives for fleas and heartworm; this standard is not cheap.
To receive $50,000 solely earmarked for spay/neuter gives us the opportunity to focus
on other priorities, such as heartworm treatment and funding a public spay/neuter clinic
in Dorchester County,” states Kim Almstedt, Executive Director of Dorchester Paws.
“We want to thank PetSmart Charities for this incredible grant and are looking forward to
the opportunities it will afford us in 2018,” Almstedt states.

During 2017, Dorchester Paws made great strides towards ending unnecessary
euthanasia. The shelter’s total intake for the year was approximately 3,200 animals. The
shelter was able to decrease the euthanasia numbers by nearly 50 percent. Only 3
percent of the total dog intake at Dorchester Paws were euthanized, which is
significantly lower than the state average of 17 percent.

“In 2017, we did not euthanize for time, space or money,” said Almstedt. “Since joining
the No Kill South Carolina initiative in 2016, we have more resources across the entire
state and have gained valuable contacts and rescue help.”

The shelter is continuing the facility improvements begun last September when the
campus underwent its massive renovation. As part of this revitalization, the Summerville
Artist Guild painted two murals at Dorchester Paws. One is located in the dog courtyard
and the second in the cat hallway. These artists also painted a fence in the parking lot
for adopters to take pictures with their new pets. Sherwin Williams donated paint for the

“Dorothy, from the The Wizard of Oz states it perfectly: ‘there’s no place like home.’ We
took this famous line and created a picturesque setting where all dogs and cats are in
their fur-ever homes. There is a yellow brick road to guide you to our adoptable animals
and even an Emerald City backdrop to remind you every animal is looking for their
Emerald City forever home. These one-of-a-kind murals are special to say the least and
we are extremely grateful to the Summerville Artist Guild for volunteering their time and
talent to turn a vision into a masterpiece,” Almstedt said.

To thank the Summerville Artist Guild, Dorchester Paws is holding a reception at the
shelter located at 136 Four Paws Lane on Wednesday, January 17 at 2 p.m. The public
is invited to attend. The shelter will be open for special hours from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. for
adoptions and is also having a $25 adoption special for all adult animals on January 17