Following up on our report of Richland Counties Dog/Cat License requirements, we chose to check on the financial aspects of this unit.
According to the Richland County Government website the Richland County Animal Unit receives quite a bit of money to operate. In 2022 this unit was budgeted for $1,274,383 and actually received $988,586. This year 2023 the unit was budgeted for $1,173,646 and has requested $1,182,455 for 2024, while its being recommended this unit receive $1,298,545 for 2024.
The breakdown between operations cost and personnel is as follows:
- Budgeted: Personnel Cost $657,510, Operations Cost $616,873
- Actual: Personnel Cost $494,757, Operations Cost $493,829
- Budgeted: Personnel Cost $575,931, Operations Cost $597,715
- Budgeted: Personnel Cost $575,931, Operations Cost $606,523
These amounts are more than most community outreach programs receive in the county budget such as the counties Health Department which only received approximately $45,000 each year within the budget. The budget can be found on the County website mentioned above.
One question to be asked is how can the Richland County Council justify this expense to the people of Richland County, when Animal Control does the same thing?
Another important aspect to this issue that was brought up in our first report on the Dog/Cat Licensing issue was the fact that if you did not have this license then it was simply considered you were in possession of strays, that the County could retrieve.
In June of 2023 WIS News Reporter Cynthia Beasley reported on the issue that the Counties Animal Service Shelter was killing healthy animals that were brought in. In this report it was shown that the shelter seemed to be killing healthy animals possibly including “strays” owned by non-licensed families. The Columbia’s City Attorney’s Office redacted several parts of documents requested by WIS concerning the shelter.
The report states: “On the dogs’ medical records, the Office of the Columbia City Attorney redacted, or blacked out, a portion of the document. The city cited the South Carolina code (S.C. Code §30-4-40 (a) (2)) (link to it). That code allows government agencies to withhold private information about people; it does not pertain to animals’ privacy. What exactly Columbia redacted is unclear.”
It is important to know that many of the shelters do seek out animal foster families and individuals to aid in overcrowding issues. If you are interested in fostering a pet it is suggested to contact your local shelter directly.