Aiken County Animal Advocates
THE VOICE OF PAWS
(Palmetto Animal Welfare Services, Inc.)Aiken County Animal Advocates as posted in the AIken Standard on April 25, 2014
By Joya DiStefano
Another Pit Bull Terrier has been found tied and starved to a skeletal shadow of its natural magnificence, and Mayor Michael Miller and his City Council are taking steps to intervene and, hopefully prevent, the abuse of any animal within their jurisdiction. By a newly revised Animal Control Ordinance, the City Council of Wagener shall set forth regulations for its citizens to assure that the health and safety of persons and animals are protected. Wagener can take pride in the guidelines to be adopted, and any residents, or their neighbors, who are unsure of the current quality of care for any animal, would be well served to consult the Mayor’s Office.
What is it about Pit Bull Terriers that make them so frequently the victims of ignorance, neglect and cruelty? For more than a hundred years, the American Pit Bull Terrier was the standard of the all-American dog. Think of RCA Victor, Buster Brown Shoes, and the Little Rascals. The United Kennel Club describes the essential characteristics of the American Pit Bull Terrier as “strength, confidence, and zest for life. This breed is eager to please and brimming over with enthusiasm. APBTs make excellent family companions and have always been noted for their love of children.” If there is an inclination towards aggression, it is to other dogs, a potential problem that training and supervision can avoid.
And then there are those times when the neglect of animals is no accurate reflection of the owners’ devotion to their animals. We mentioned a case last month where an ailing mother and her severely disabled son had a pack of dogs that were breeding and wandering out of control. The neighbors were up in arms. County Animal Control was torn between the obligation to enforce county ordinance and the desire to help a handicapped young man who loved (and needed) his dogs, all of them.
Dottie Gantt, a life-long Wagener resident has her finger on the pulse of her community, and not many needs that come to her attention go unaddressed. Dottie recruited Dr. Timmerman and his wife to step in with FOTAS funding for the spay/neuter surgeries necessary to get the pack under control. She then brought the need for adequate fencing to the attention of Palmetto Animal Welfare Services, Inc. (PAWS), a newly formed 501(c)(3) public charity whose mission is to help homes, and communities, keep animals out of shelters. Then Mayor Mike stepped in and what follows is the rest of the story.
Years ago, when the Ostrich farming fad hit, I already had a pair of Ostriches that I‘d bought through an ad in The Progressive Farmer. At the time, they were considered "exotic animals," regulated by the DNR, which required an escape-proof enclosure and on-site 24-hour supervision.
While at work one day, a surgeon buddy ask me if I knew of any farmers around Pelion that would provide temporary home for a kid who had suffered traumatic injuries in a motorcycle accident and had nowhere to go. I happened to know a farmer who had a vacant mobile home on his property who might take him in, so I called him. He preferred to sell me the trailer for $200, and move it to my farm; thereby solving the 24-hour-supervision requirement.
The “very-secure-enclosure” I intended to solve with 300'x100' chain link pen, quoted by a fence company at $6000.00. I was going to swallow the cost, but an old high school friend, Tim Buchner, decided he, too, wanted to get into the Ostrich business. When I told him about the costs, he said that we could do the fencing ourselves and save hundreds of dollars.
After the first mile or so of fencing, we got pretty good at it; with my inclination to get the fence up ASAP and Tim's determination to do it right the first time, it turned out quite well. So when I set my mind to do the dog pen, I called Tim to ask what we used to do to "get it right." He didn’t try to explain the process very long before he realized it would be much easier and time-efficient to just come out and do it.
Heartfelt thanks go out to: Tim Buchner and Grady Rhodes from Wagener for the (accurate) site work and construction; Mr. Tony Harmon, owner/operator of his own concrete business in Lexington. Tony is an expert at concrete finishing and an artist at stamped concrete; Mr. Dean Gooding at Sox Fence & Supply Co, 1500 Lake Dogwood Dr. West Columbia, SC 29170; and, certainly Dottie Gantt for recognizing the need and caring enough to get something done.”
|Another of Dottie's Fosters|
But right now, your own Dottie Gantt needs you. She took on a bunch of (6 or 7) desperate, lovely loving dogs and she now needs help fostering and finding them homes. (See them on her Facebook page or our PAWS facebook page.) Also, if you can find it in your heart to help with temporary foster-care for animals needing guidance and support on their way to their forever, loving home please contact Dottie.
Let’s help her out, before we use her up! You, too, can be a Wagener Angel!
A retired organizational problem-solver and radical educator, Joya Jiménez DiStefano is an artist, Servant Leader, and co-founder of FOTAS, Inc.