Charleston Animal Society organizes effort that’s bringing in veterinarians from across the U.S.

North Charleston, SC – Animal shelters are in crisis in South Carolina because they are overcrowded with animals. Of the 75 shelters in South Carolina, 49 have no veterinarians on staff to assist with the medical needs of the animals, which means thousands of homeless animals across our state are in need of veterinary care.

“A ripple effect of the shortage is that we are seeing a backlog of animals across the state that could be adopted but aren’t because they have not been spayed or neutered,” said Charleston Animal Society President and CEO Joe Elmore, CFRE, CAWA. “Under state law, animals cannot be adopted without being spayed or neutered. With a shortage of veterinarians, it’s getting more and more difficult to get these surgeries accomplished. Charleston Animal Society has been leading the effort to assist other animal shelters across South Carolina by rescuing and spaying/neutering their animals.”


In an effort to reduce the backlog of animals needing spay-neuters in shelters, No Kill South Carolina 2024, an initiative of Charleston Animal Society, has organized a statewide spay-neuter week taking place now.

The No Kill South Carolina team recruited veterinarians from across the globe to come and perform these surgeries, receiving responses from Ohio, Colorado, South Carolina and even Mexico. Earlier this week more than 100 spay-neuters were performed for shelters in the Upstate. Now through Saturday, an estimated 100 spay-neuters will also be performed at Charleston Animal Society for the Berkeley Animal Center.

The veterinarian shortage has hit South Carolina especially hard. The Palmetto State ranks 46th out of 50 states in the number of veterinarians per thousand people in population, according to Dr. Boyd Parr, state veterinarian. Shelters as well as private clinics, emergency clinics and the USDA are feeling the impact of this statewide crisis.

“We’re pleased with the response, but this is only a temporary measure,” said No Kill South Carolina 2024 Project Director Abigail Appleton, PMP, CAWA. “We are already planning a second spay-neuter week for early December to help even more shelters across our state save animal lives.”

Veterinarians who would like to help with this effort are urged to contact the No Kill South Carolina 2024 team by emailing Abigail Appleton at Veterinarians are paid for their services.

“This is not a crisis that is going away soon,” Elmore said. “While long-term solutions are necessary, we need immediate action for this veterinarian shortage crisis, because ‘the house is on fire now,’ healthy animals’ lives are stake as we speak.”