Joe Elmore, President & Chief Executive Officer, Charleston Animal Society

March 9, 2023

Since 1874, the mission of Charleston Animal Society has always been the prevention of cruelty to animals. Over 15,000 animals will turn to Charleston Animal Society for caring, compassion and hope this year alone.

In addition to caring for homeless animals, adopting them into new homes, and reuniting lost pets with their families, the organization responds to animals in crisis as a result of both man-made and natural disasters. The comprehensive shelter medicine program not only provides direct services for as many as 1,200 animals in our system of care at one time, the shelter veterinarians also spay or neuter upwards of 10,000 dogs and cats each year and they provide emergency medical services to critically ill and injured animals arriving at the shelter daily.

In 2016, the Charleston Animal Society embarked on a program, No Kill South Carolina, with a goal of reducing the euthanasia rate in open admission shelters for cats and dogs to below 10%. When No Kill South Carolina was started, 19% of dogs and 47% of cats were euthanized in shelters across the state. Six years later, the euthanasia rate of dogs has dropped more than half to 8% and the euthanasia rate for cats is down to 18%.

Since the program began, animal shelters across the state have saved more than 500,000 animal lives with 30,000 fewer animals euthanized, something unheard of in the South, a region historically plagued with high euthanasia rates.

In 2021, they announced “No Kill South Carolina 2024” putting a timeline on achieving a euthansia rate below 10% across the entire state.

For more information, visit