Animal house

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  • For years, the Palmetto Animal League has worked to find homes for cats and dogs. Finally, the league has found a home of its own.

    The league officially opens its adoption center Saturday at Riverwalk Business Park in Okatie. The center serves as a headquarters for the league, which didn't have a central location for its operations until now. But mostly, the center will serve as a place where dogs and cats can stay until they find a new home.

    "It'll hopefully provide a great deal of comfort with our cats and dogs," said executive director Amy Campanini.

    As it has since 2002, the league will continue to operate its foster care system, in which dozens of volunteers host pets until they find permanent homes. The adoption center serves as an extension of the foster program, housing as many as 120 cats and dogs that have been socialized and are ready for adoption.

    The 7,700-square-foot building is separated into rooms for the pets. Cats stay in rooms equipped with climbing equipment and toys. Dogs sleep in large kennels and spend most of the day playing outside in caged areas or in a living room-like area with chairs, couches and a television intended to familiarize the dogs with a home environment. The center received a $20,000 grant to equip the room from Tom's of Maine, makers of natural ingredient personal hygiene products.

    The center also has an on-site clinic for minor medical treatment, such as vaccinations. One day, the center hopes to set up a low-cost spay and neuter clinic, Campanini said.

    To make the center a success, as well as its foster care program, the league relies on volunteers, who can do anything from housing animals to just stopping by the clinic to play with the animals.

    "We want people to come here even if they don't want to adopt," Campanini said. "We want the community to really feel connected to it."