Our Original Shelter on Dupont Road.
Origin of the John Ancrum SPCA
The South Carolina Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, founded in Charleston, was chartered by the state of South Carolina in 1874. In 1880, a group of citizens, including many distinguished men of the times, met for the purpose of incorporating into a formal humane society. Its immediate concerns were to combat the rampant cruelty to animals, neglect of work-animals, the inhumane shipping of cattle and to resolve the epidemic of stray dogs. The newly formed Society elected Professor N. Russell Middleton as its first president. Middleton was succeeded as president by Dr. John Ancrum. Dr. Ancrum served as president for several years, and died sometime in the early 1900s. Upon his death, the Society received a portion of his estate with the condition that it adopt his name. The Society officially became known as the John Ancrum Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 1940.
In 1947, a group of newcomers to Charleston met to combine their talents in a vigorous effort to revive the struggling Society. They raised funds, established a relationship with the media, and fought for better housing for the animals in the city’s care. The city pound at that time was constructed of slats with wire flooring, located over a marsh at the southwest tip of the city. Due to the diligent efforts of the Society, the city fathers recognized the inadequacies of the pound and promised to improve conditions.
Our first shelter
The Society documented its first cruelty conviction in 1947 and in 1948 the organization raised enough funds to build its first shelter. Located at 667 Meeting Street, the shelter was located on the property of Dr. Leon Willis, adjoining his animal hospital. It was approximately 10'x12' and contained 14 two-tiered cages and an outdoor run. Dr. and Mrs. Willis managed the shelter and maintained the records at no charge to the Society. In a few years the number of stray dogs and cats awaiting adoption overcrowded this facility, and the Society was obliged to provide larger quarters. The second shelter was built on the premises of Dr. Ernest Horres at 188 St Andrew’s Boulevard. Dr. Horres also provided services without charge. As the needs of the society grew, this shelter also became inadequate to meet the needs of the Society, and in 1961 the shelter was relocated to 820 Dupont Road. The Society remained at this location until 1979, when once again space became inadequate to meet the ever-increasing needs of the animals.
The John Ancrum SPCA moved to Leeds Avenue December 31, 1980, remaining there for more than 28 years. During this time the SPCA developed a strong relationship with Charleston county. As a result, the county closed its own animal pound and contracted with the SPCA to provide care for all of the animals collected by animal control officers throughout Charleston county. This strong relationship between the Society and Charleston county continues today.
The John Ancrum SPCA officially becomes the Charleston Animal Society and moves to new life-saving facility
The organization officially changed its name to the Charleston Animal Society in December 2007. The new name better reflects our role in the community as a collection of individuals committed to helping animals through adoptions, rescue, aggressive spay and neuter, humane education and fundraising. In the spring of 2008, we completed our move into a brand new state-of-the-art 31,000 square feet adoption center and spay and neuter center located at 2455 Remount Road in North Charleston. Through the use of this life-saving facility, we now have the ability to house and care for nearly three times the number of homeless, neglected, or abused animals than we were able to in the old Leeds Avenue facility. We have a state-of-the-art low-cost spay and neuter clinic on-site to accelerate our efforts to eliminate rampant animal overpopulation and encourage more adoptions in the pleasant and welcoming atmosphere of the new building.