SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Attention pet owners! The way Spartanburg County is handling lost or stray pets is changing.

For more than a decade, if you lost your dog or cat in the county, you would have to drive to Greenville County to pick it up.

Now, Greenville County said they just don’t have the room to take animals from Spartanburg County anymore.

Back in 2011, Spartanburg County Council voted to have their lost, or stray, animals taken to Greenville County Animal Care (GCAC).

David Britt, who was on county council at the time, said it all happened because of a failed relationship with the Spartanburg Humane Society.

“Unfortunately, in 2011, we weren’t able to build a bridge and try to do what’s right for the residents in Spartanburg County, and our animals. It came to the point where it was a messy divorce,” said Britt.

Before that, county animals were taken to the Spartanburg Humane Society.

“They used to come here, but we were taking in between 18,000 and 20,000 a year, and we were euthanizing about 90% of them,” said Angel Cox with the Spartanburg Humane Society.

Cox said they asked the county to go up in fees to take care of the animals.

“That just wasn’t possible, they could not, or would not, afford it. So, they contracted with GCAC,” said Cox.

She said it got to the point where their board said they were no longer going to euthanize so many animals.

She said that, now, they only euthanize animals if they’re extremely aggressive or have an illness they cannot treat.

She said they now only euthanize around 1%.

Greenville County sent this statement to 7NEWS regarding the agreement ending.

In 2011 Greenville County Animal Care began accepting and housing Spartanburg County’s animals as a temporary solution.  Over the past decade Greenville County Animal Care has enjoyed a wonderful relationship with Spartanburg County’s Environmental Enforcement Department, however, it is time to bring the temporary housing of Spartanburg County’s animals to an end.  As Greenville County’s population continues to grow, there is a need for even more supportive animal services for our community and pets.

The agreement takes effect on June 30, 2022.  Animal Care will do whatever we can to make this transition smooth as possible.”

Bob Mihalic, Governmental Affairs Coordinator, Greenville County.

Britt, who said he voted against contracting with Greenville, said all options are on the table.

He said Spartanburg County has been paying Greenville County around $350,000 a year, in the last few years, to take their strays.

Even though the partnership is ending, Britt said there’s no need to panic.

“I don’t think, on July 1st, you’ll have to worry about if your animal does get loose, get caught, you know by animal control, where it’s going. I think Greenville will work with us on it,” said Britt.

Britt said they can’t build a state-of-the-art facility in 60 days, but after a wonderful partnership, it’s time for Spartanburg County to take ownership of its own animals.

Britt said both the Spartanburg and Greenville County administrators will be meeting to discuss the transition. He said Spartanburg County Council will be discussing the topic as soon as possible.

Spartanburg County sent statement regarding the ending of the agreement:

We appreciate the great relationship we’ve fostered with our friends at Greenville County and Greenville County Animal Care. They have been a tremendous support for us over the years in assisting with the care and welfare of our County’s animals. While we are grateful for Greenville County and their assistance, both teams knew upfront that Spartanburg County would, at some point, transition into caring for our animals in county. Over the past months, we have begun preliminary discussions with our community partners about this transition, as well as best shelter operations and practices, as we work to ensure permanent, safe, and appropriate housing for our animals. Over the coming weeks, we will be discussing a transition schedule with Greenville County that will provide continuity of care for our animal community.
Spartanburg County will provide updates along the way.”

Scottie Kay Blackwell, Communications Manager