Jan. 18—In honor of Betty White's 100th Birthday, the SPCA Albrecht Center hosted a "Golden Girls" themed adoption event as part of the #BettyWhiteChallenge Monday afternoon.
The event, which was held from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., was part of the #BettyWhiteChallenge — which was created on social media shortly after White's death. Challenge participants are urged to donate $5 to a local shelter in honor of the golden girl.
"Somebody started something on Facebook and that got the whole thing going across the country," said Barbara Nelson, President and CEO at SPCA. "Our Communications Director Claire Roberson latched on to that and has certainly done a fabulous job getting the word out there."
Betty White was an animal lover and advocate, leading to the formation of the challenge for her 100th birthday.
"Thank God for Betty White, she did a wonderful job," Nelson said. "She's one of those kind souls that came to this earth and did wonderful things for animals. We hope to continue that legacy — our purpose here is to save the lives of these homeless and neglected pets that come through us."
Nelson said adoption is becoming even more important because the cost of care for the animals is increasing.
"It is particularly difficult for nonprofit animal shelters to do the job that we want to do," she said. "It's particularly important that we have the funding because we're not funded by the government at all — everything is funded by our own resources, either through our store or veterinary care center."
Even though the shelter charges adoption fees, Nelson said those don't even come close to paying for the cost of the animal.
"For example, to put just one animal on the adoption floor, it's easily going to cost anywhere between $400 to $800. — and some of these animals have been here a very, very long time," she said.
Some of the animals have been at the center for over a year.
"Adoptions are slow, we need more people to adopt," Nelson said. "We will receive over 600 cats a year and over 400 dogs."
The SPCA urges the public to follow the City of Aiken ordinances which require that a fertile dog either pay a registration fee of $100 or have it spayed and neutered.
"We have to control this animal population," she said. "There are not enough shelters to take care of all these homeless animals. It's very, very important that people spay and neuter."
As of Monday, the shelter currently has approximately 125 cats and 50 dogs.
Shantelle Graham, of Hephzibah, adopted "Little Man" at the event on Monday.
"He chose us," Graham said. "He got really excited when we went in, and we went in with a lot of them. He said 'I like you.'"
At the end of the event, the shelter said they adopted out a total of six cats and two dogs.