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Donation will provide pets shelter in storms; AKC gives county trailer, supplies to help animals

Sheltering pets during a flood, hurricane or other natural disaster has become a lot easier for Orangeburg County Animal Control.

Thanks to a $25,000 grant from the American Kennel Club, animal control now owns a trailer with supplies that can help create a safe, temporary home base for up to 50 animals.

“A lot of people evacuate their houses, but some won't leave because they won't leave their pets. And a lot of the shelters won't allow the pets in the shelter. So there has to be another alternative, and this was a good alternative,” Shelly Pyle of the Columbia Kennel Club said.

Orangeburg County Animal Control and Columbia Kennel Club officials unveiled the new trailer on Monday in Orangeburg.

Photos from the Orangeburg County Animal Shelter

“It’s fully stocked with everything imaginable. It includes crates, microchips, a microchip scanner and a generator. It’s set up with a camera, printer, photo paper, pressure washer, shop vac, cleaning supplies, any type of office supplies that we may need for documentation,” Orangeburg County Animal Control Director Dana Lang said.

The trailer can be used to set up a stand-alone emergency animal shelter for displaced animals, or a co-location shelter where people evacuate with their pets.

Local AKC dog clubs have joined with AKC Reunite, the nation’s largest nonprofit pet identification and recovery service, to provide the AKC Pet Disaster Relief Trailer.

Pyle said the mission of the nonprofit Columbia Kennel Club is to serve the community and its needs.

“Our membership decided that we were going to pay in total for two trailers … for our state. That trailer is fully stocked for disaster. It has a number of crates of all different sizes, food and medical supplies,” Pyle said.

“It has a chip where they can chip the animals, and the scanner so they can check the chips. It's fully wired for a generator … and as things are used, the AKC will replenish them. So this is going to be an ongoing partnership,” she added.

Orangeburg’s trailer represents the 71st trailer donated through AKC Pet Disaster Relief, a national program that is dedicated to keeping pets and their owners safe in response to natural or civil disasters.

Lang is already planning on some events where she can showcase the trailer.

“We are so proud of it. We plan on taking it out and showing it off,” Lang said.

She added, “When we were getting ready for the last hurricane, it was days of preparation trying to scramble and get everything together. We ended up setting up a shelter down there at Lake Marion High School.

“It was a pet-friendly shelter. Just getting everything together and going down there and setting it up was kind of chaotic, but to know that this trailer is here and ready when we need it is a huge relief for us.”

Lang said the trailer will also be used to assist with pet sheltering services in surrounding counties, including Bamberg and Calhoun counties.

“Anything that’s happening with any of our neighboring counties, we’ll be there to help them as well,” Lang said.

Orangeburg County Community Development Director Richard Hall said the trailer will be “a huge benefit” for the county in caring for pets during a disaster.

Pyle said, “We just want to give people less worry. When they’re already dealing with an emergency evacuation situation, they don’t need to be worried about what’s going to happen to their pets.”


Crime-and-courts
breakingtop story
Composite of Orangeburg County kidnapper released

The Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office has released a composite image of the person who kidnapped a man at gunpoint earlier this week.

“If anyone has any information in this incident, we’d certainly love to hear from you,” Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said. “Anything at all, no matter how big or small the detail may seem.”

An Orangeburg County man said he was traveling on Five Chop Road near Orangeburg on Monday when he slowed his vehicle for what appeared to be a deer in the roadway, according to a sheriff’s office incident report.

When he stopped his vehicle, a male opened the motorist’s passenger door and pointed a weapon at him before entering the vehicle.

The gunman then directed the motorist down several streets. At one point he told the motorist, “You know this is a road where a lot of people die at,” according to the report.

When the motorist was ordered to turn into a field, the vehicle became bogged down.

At that point, the gunman fled the vehicle, leaving the motorist unharmed.

The gunman was described as a black male wearing a black T-shirt and blue jeans.

If anyone has any information on the gunman, they are asked to contact the sheriff’s office at 803-534-3550 or Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.


Crime-and-courts
breakingtop story
St. Matthews bank robbery suspect in custody; two more sought

One of the three men suspected of robbing the BB&T bank in St. Matthews has been arrested, according to Calhoun County Sheriff Thomas Summers.

Richland County sheriff’s deputies and U.S. Marshals officers took Joshua Justin Zeigler into custody at an apartment complex in Columbia on Wednesday night.

The 29-year-old man, of 3822 Gibson Street, Columbia, is facing the following charges in connection to Tuesday’s robbery: criminal conspiracy, armed robbery, entering a bank with the intent to steal, possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime and two counts of kidnapping.

“I’m very happy we have this person in custody,” Summers said on Thursday.

Officers took Zeigler into custody on the 100 block of Ripplemeyer Avenue in Columbia.

Zeigler was out on bond on two 2015 Richland County charges of attempted murder, according to online court records.

In the meantime, investigators are continuing to follow leads to the other two suspects in the robbery.

St. Matthews Police Chief Michael Smalls said the three gunmen separated the bank’s two tellers and ordered them to empty their drawers of cash. The gunmen hauled away the cash in bags they brought themselves.

The robbers then left the bank in a blue Chevrolet Lumina.

No customers were inside the bank.

If convicted, Zeigler faces up to 30 years in prison.

On Thursday, a judge denied bond for Zeigler. A circuit judge may consider setting bond on Zeigler at a later date.

Zeigler turns 30 on Dec. 15.


Local
top storyweather alert
Flurries possible after wet weekend

T&D Region residents could see a few snowflakes in coming days, but mostly they’ll see rain.

The rain is forecast to begin on Saturday morning. It will continue through Monday, with a total of 2.2 inches forecast to fall on the Orangeburg area, National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Miller said.

The heaviest rain is expected Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Saturday’s high temperature is expected to reach 45, then drop down to 38 degrees at night. Sunday’s temperature is forecast to reach 43 degrees, then drop down to 36 overnight.

Light precipitation is forecast for Sunday and Monday nights. It could include a light rain-snow mix.

“If anything happens, then it will be a pretty light event,” Miller said.

He said it doesn’t look like the snow-rain mix will be a major issue that will cause significant driving issues, but warned residents to be careful and monitor weather forecasts.

Monday night’s low is forecast to be 33 degrees. There could be scattered flurries before 2 a.m.

Tuesday is forecast to be mostly sunny with a high of 51.