Tens of thousands of dogs in Anderson, Oconee and Pickens Counties in South Carolina are euthanized each year, many after spending their entire lives chained and unloved. Freedom Fences, a 501c(3) not for profit charity run by volunteers was co-founded in 2010 to try to reduce those numbers through education and by providing better living conditions for dogs living on chains by getting them off the chain and into a spacious fenced enclosure.
Freedom Fences begins by identifying dogs living outside on short or encumbered chains, often with inadequate shelter or food. They offer kennels to owners at no cost by pre-screening applicants then following up to ensure the services they provide are being used per their agreement. Their mission states
“While we recognize that we, a small but mighty band of volunteers, are not likely to be able to change the world, we know that saving one animal will make the world a much better place for that dog.”
The cost of each build varies depending on how many pets live at the home and how big the dogs are. On average, kennel builds cost about $500 and provides a 20×20′ fence enclosure, a new dog house, clean bowls, a bag of dog food, a dog toy and wheat straw or shavings for the kennel area.
One of their requirements is the dog being provided a fence be spayed or neutered. Freedom Fences also encourages the family to think of their dog as a family member. Because of the number of families in need of a fence, the waiting list time is usually between three and six months, as money must be raised to cover costs and the fences are usually constructed one Saturday each month.
More information on how you can help, either with a donation or as a volunteer, can be found on their website. Freedom Fences is also a strong advocate for anti-tethering laws, enforcement of responsible pet ownership and accountability of local civic leaders who are responsible for animal welfare.
In 2014 the Wag Shack was opened. This shelter intervention program uses their network of foster families who focus primarily on neglected dogs who have been surrendered or who are at immediate risk of euthanasia at a county shelter. Rescued dogs might be heartworm positive, have demodectic mange, broken limbs, or be pregnant.
The Wag Shack ensures the dog is vetted and once the time is right they offer local adoption. When a temporary or forever home can’t be found locally, Wag Shack works hard to quickly transport dogs to partners in other states where spay and neutering laws have created more homes than dogs available.
There are currently two branches of Freedom Fences. The primary branch where it all began is located in Anderson County under the leadership of Executive Director Patrice Shearin with support from a number of dedicated volunteers. Nicole Hubbard is Branch Director for Oconee County.
Every dog who receives a new fence is one less dog who has to live on a chain, sometimes for years, sometimes for life. For every dog rescued in the local community or transferred to a certified rescue partner facility, it means a spot will open up for another dog in need.
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