PAWS devotes its energy to passionately advocating for the abandoned animals of the Aiken County area. Our two fold founding purpose is unwanted animal prevention and well-homed animal retention.
Friday, June 13, 2014
Why Phideaux’s Flea Market Matters
Aiken County Animal Advocates
THE VOICE OF PAWS
(Palmetto Animal Welfare Services, Inc.)
By Joya DiStefano
This Aiken County Animal Advocates Columns was posted in the Aiken Standard on 06/13/2014
“The continued use of euthanasia
to control the size of its cat and dog populations is a choice a community
makes, not a necessity.” – Peter Marsh, author of Getting to Zero
What is the cosmic connection
between the routine killing of dogs and cats to a Saturday flea market? The answer lies in an illustrative tale.
Palmetto Animal Welfare Services,
more commonly known as PAWS, has a program called SNYP (Spay Neuter Your
Pet).In partnership with the Aiken
SPCA, SNYP offers “free” spay/neuter surgeries throughout Aiken County for
Humans call SNYP
volunteers on behalf of their companion cats and dogs and SNYP volunteers work to
assure the pets get fixed.The co-pay is
$20 and includes rabies vaccine and a micro-chip. No one is turned away.
Some get referred to one of the voucher
programs, or Lenny’s Brigade for cats, but everyone who calls can get a deal on
preventing unwanted litters.
are warm, supportive and take a positive problem-solving approach.Most applicants prefer to self-schedule directly with the SPCA Clinic, but PAWS will transport if necessary.
SNYP costs money, but begging and
pleading wears on relationships.So when
the SPCA offered PAWS a spot to raise funds at their monthly Phideaux Flea
Market and Dog Wash, we figured that we would give it a try.
What could be so hard about getting all that
stuff out of closets, attics, storage, garages, and selling it?Well, the answer is if it was that easy it
wouldn’t be accumulating in all those handy spaces.
Flash to North Augusta where Todd
and Jeannie thought that it was going to take six or eight months to sell their
house while their new house was being built. Yes, the real estate market is soft, so who
would have predicted that their house would sell in 29 days and they would be
in a crunch to get rid of all that “stuff?”
Voila!We start our maiden voyage
as flea marketeers with a horse trailer full of yummy stuff.You have to see the nearly new Mongoose stunt
bicycle, and “Clemson-opoly?”Truly, a
But the synchronicity of the
last-minute need to empty a house under contract, and an inaugural attempt to
turn cast-offs to cash, symbolizes more than the affirmation of one
Palmetto Animal Welfare Services
exists to insist that if we work together, we can save them all.And I personally believe that if the first
step you take is the right one, the road will rise to meet you.
PAWS was founded to address chronic and
counter-productive gaps and rifts among a broad array of stakeholders in animal
welfare issues in our county and the surrounding region.As our Facebook page and website claim, “PAWS is a vocal advocate to assist any and all animal welfare
efforts in and around Aiken County to end the unnecessary killing of shelter
We began by forming PAWS as an
“umbrella” 501(c)(3) non-profit by uniting a consortium of animal welfare
efforts within the corporation.We also
constituted PAWS governing body with people who were already doing the work to
which PAWS committed: getting and keeping animals out of shelters.
Affordable and accessible spay/neuter through
SNYP (Spay/Neuter Your Pet) serves the entire county.SNYP is PAWS core program. Then Shelter Animal Advocates Aiken Foster
Network provides short-term foster care bridging the time between the county
shelter and private rescue groups.Heartbeats raises the funds (averaging $600) to treat dogs who test
positive for heartworm while impounded, so that they can be pulled for a
partnering rescue. LEASH Squad in
Wagener rescues and rehabilitates dogs that have been victims of cruelty and
who need the kind of care few places are equipped to give.
All animal welfare efforts need
the support of their communities to function.Achieving tax-exempt status with the IRS by becoming a 501(c)(3)
nonprofit corporation, an expensive and time-consuming process, encourages and
expands the essential support by validating the mission of the public charity.The PAWS group received a letter from the IRS
recently informing PAWS that its tax-exempt status should be official by the
end of August.Perhaps it represents
another sign we are on the right road.
Tomorrow PAWS will join other flea-marketeers
and crafters at the SPCA’s Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare from 8 am until 2 pm.Should you care to stop by and shop, or
deliver some prized item for us to sell, or browse and chat you may find
Join the No-kill
movement.Help us “get to zero” with
unwanted pet prevention, well-homed pet retention, and pro-active rescue.
A retired organizational problem-solver and radical educator, Joya Jiménez DiStefano is an artist, Servant Leader, co-founder of FOTAS, and founder of PAWS, Inc.