Friday, March 7, 2014
At its 140th Annual Meeting on Thursday evening, Charleston Animal Society (the Society) thanked its constituency for helping make Charleston County the first No Kill Community in the Southeast. Before several hundred supporters at Memminger Auditorium, Board President Elizabeth Bradham reflected on a remarkable year.
“At last year's annual meeting we introduced No Kill Charleston 2015, the boldest animal rescue initiative ever undertaken in the Southeast,” Bradham told the audience. “We work at a very fast pace. Speed is our mantra when it comes to saving lives and we achieved this goal two years ahead of schedule.”
Bradham made a point of thanking, “each and every one of you for the critical role you played in helping us reach this historic milestone,” adding, “now the challenge is to sustain it.”
Governor Nikki Haley proclaimed Charleston Animal Society Day throughout South Carolina in recognition of the Society building the first no kill community in the southeast. Among the other successes of 2013 were:
– Breaking all state records in adoptions, including (1) most adoptions in a single day (204), (2) most adoptions in a single campaign (538) and (3) most adoptions in a year (4,701).
– Rollout of its nationally recognized Veterinary Science Initiative, training communities representing 7 states across the country.
– 14th Annual Celebrity Chili Cook-off & Oyster Roast and the 2014 Charleston Area Firefighter Calendar, both breaking records and netting more than $100,000 each to support Toby's Fund, the Animal Society's designated fund for treating ill, injured and abused animals, which costs the Society over $500,000 each year.
Highlights of the evening included:
– Honoring the Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission (CCPRC) as the recipient of Charleston Animal Society's inaugural Community Ambassador Award. Board Member Matt Watson thanked them for all they have done on behalf of animals and pet owners over the years, citing CCPRC's “leadership and dedication to building a safer, healthier community for both humans and their pets.”
– Establishing the Katherine P. Waring Fund in memory of Katherine “Kate” Waring to target the prevention and improvement of pet behavior problems, enhancing safety and the quality of life for both humans and animals. Janice Waring, Kate's mother, addressed the audience saying, “I think Kate would be enormously happy if she knew her name would be associated with such an organization as this,” she said. “She was always a champion of the underdog.”
– Launching the Pets for Life program to address the need for accessible, affordable pet care in the most vulnerable communities, thus helping animals by empowering the people who care for them.
The Society was one of only eight out of 111 organizations nationwide selected to enter the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) mentorship program. Kimberly Kelly, HSUS State Director, presented a check for $20,000 to the Society to start the program. The Society's Chief Executive Officer, Joe Elmore, stated, “For the second year in a row, the Society is South Carolina's most honored charity.” Rallying the crowd, Elmore exclaimed, “They said it couldn't be done. For the first time in the history of the southeast, a community has become no kill. That community is you.”
Committing to “hold accountable those who could do better,” Elmore challenged other animal organizations to “stop importing animals into our community while 10,000 local animals remain homeless in Charleston County each year. This is just plain wrong. Let's take care of our local animals first.”
The event was the largest annual meeting in the Society's history with more than 400 people in attendance.
Charleston Animal Society
At 140 years old, Charleston Animal Society is the oldest animal organization in South Carolina and one of the oldest in the Nation. In 2013, Charleston Animal Society led Charleston County to become the first no kill community in the southeast and is South Carolina's most honored charity.