Letters to the Editor

No-kill shelter thanks community

Thank you to so many; the dream is becoming reality

Coastal Animal Rescue, the only all-volunteer no-kill shelter in South Carolina, is grateful to the Grand Strand residents for their overwhelming support of the shelter's ongoing fundraising events.

Coastal Animal Rescue was initially incorporated in 2004 to provide a safe and caring home for unwanted and neglected cats in Horry and Georgetown counties until they could be adopted into permanent, loving homes. The shelter has always worked to educate the public on the importance of spaying and neutering to prevent pet overpopulation, which has become a large problem in Horry and Georgetown Counties. The goals have not changed but have expanded due in large part to the public support of Coastal Animal Rescue.

Construction of the first building was completed in November 2007 and housed about 60 cats and four dogs. Currently the shelter has about 437 cats and some dogs, with some fostered in homes by responsible pet parents. It's been over capacity for some time.

Since spring, the volunteers have been expanding the shelter to offer the public an affordable veterinary clinic, a long-held goal of the shelter. In June, the Home Depot Community Outreach Team spent a day working with other construction volunteers to move this dream forward. Considerable time was required to obtain permits to run the required sewer and water lines, get bids, and raise funds to cover those additional expenses.

The soon-to-open Coastal Animal Rescue Veterinary Clinic has hired its first paid employee. Dr. Mok was selected from over a dozen candidates because of his 13 years of experience and shared commitment to providing the public with affordable, quality veterinary care. He and his family are relocating from the Denver area.

Public support of our commitment to provide for these abandoned pets and homeless animals is making this possible. The availability of an on-site veterinarian will enable the shelter to immediately respond to an animal's medical condition and substantially reduce the shelter's medical costs.

The shelter continues to bring cats to the PetSmart Adoption Center for three-week stays and has been very successful in adopting cats to thoroughly vetted pet parents who offer permanent, loving homes.

The work of the volunteers has increased in fervor as fundraising events occur weekly: barbecues, yard sales, carwashes, restaurant fundraisers, car dealership fundraisers, cat food drives, etc. The shelter is indebted to the newspapers, television stations and numerous radio stations and websites that promote these events at no cost to the shelter. Enthusiasm for this clinic is growing rapidly.

We sincerely wish we could list the many businesses, from banks to caterers to professionals, who contribute to the success of our events. We also would like to be able to again thank the countless individuals who attend our events and generously donate quality merchandise for our frequent yard sales.

A special thank you goes to SBB Four Corners in Murrells Inlet. While SBB management knew that the shelter is nonprofit and strictly no-kill, when they learned that no salaries are paid to anyone at the shelter, even the director, they offered - and continue to offer - use of their large facility at U.S. 17 and Tournament Boulevard for these events. The next sale will be from 8 a.m.-noon Saturday and will offer a tremendous amount of furniture donated by generous Grand Strand residents for the benefit of the animals.

The volunteers will continue to work hard but ask for the public's help in raising the funds needed to purchase equipment for the clinic; surgical tables, surgical equipment, X-ray machine, etc. The shelter is a federal and state certified charity, and all donations are tax-deductible under section 501(C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations can be sent to: Coastal Animal Rescue, P.O. Box 2981, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576.

The volunteers and the many paws at Coastal Animal Rescue thank each of you for making this shared dream a reality for the public and for the abandoned pets and homeless animals.

The writer lives in Murrells Inlet.