Helping Hands for Rural Paws (HHRP)

Charleston Animal Society

Award Date: March 9, 2018

Awarded: $726,660

Charleston Animal Society (CAS) will not rest until every companion animal in the county and, ultimately the state, is cared for and pet owners have access to supportive resources and veterinary care. The two most prevalent barriers to veterinary care are accessibility and affordability, especially in South Carolina’s rural communities. This is consistent with the plight of rural communities across the South and the Nation. Many “forgotten” communities in outlying rural areas of Charleston County cannot access the sheltering system, veterinarians or even animal control. By the time animal control officers respond to calls, if they are called, animals are often in critical condition.

The sheltering system is burdened with the extreme cost and time needed for rehabilitation. Once the animal is in the “system”, it is rare for a family to come forward and claim the animal. Helping Hands for Rural Paws is an innovative, strategic program aimed at significantly mitigating this mostly unintentional inhumane repetitive cycle. The rural outreach approach is based on their award-winning Pets for Life program, which was named the Best in the Country in 2017. HHRP will deploy a mobile veterinary clinic to 4 targeted rural communities along with grassroots and guerilla marketing and will form the foundation for community engagement. The concept will build on traditional models of human services rural outreach. The success of Helping Hands for Rural Paws will be determined by various annual measurements including elevated pet care, increased spay/neuter, increased access to preventive care and wellness, reduced animal cruelty, decreased pet overpopulation and increased humane education.

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