The Mary Ann Morris Animal Society (M.A.M.A.S.) is a private 501c3 nonprofit
rescue/shelter formed in 2001 by a small group of local people concerned about animal welfare in Bamberg County. Until the opening of M.A.M.A.S., there was no refuge for stray dogs at all, and there still is no official county shelter. M.A.M.A.S. started out with very humble roots – and we are still a very modest facility, but have come a long way since 2001.
M.A.M.A.S. started out in a small portable office building with perimeter fencing. Gradually kennels were added, and then, the addition of a single-wide mobile home was donated by the county – formerly used as part of the prison system. We have grown substantially since then, but have a long way to go! The first office building is now our laundry room (and we keep dogs in there for special reasons), the single-wide trailer is now our puppy building, housing our tiny pups that need special care, and we have a “new to us” office and intake building, donated by the school system when the new elementary school was built in 2012.
Despite our physical growth, we are prouder of who we are, and what we do. M.A.M.A.S. is now a two-part operation: M.A.M.A.S., which functions as the shelter for Bamberg County dogs, and our rescue arm – Safe Haven Puppy Rescue, which also reaches out to kill shelters outside our county by rescuing adoptable dogs, to free up space in their facilities, buying time for the dogs there as well. AND, we have managed to become a no-kill facility, which in our area is pretty miraculous. We are proud of the fact that in 2014 we achieved an overall save rate of 98.4%, and almost managed the same in 2015 by accomplishing a 97.4% save rate. Any adoptable dog is taken under M.A.M.A.S. wing. To clarify, this means any dog who does not show aggressiveness or extreme behavioral issues to people and/or other dogs, or who does not have a medical issue that we cannot fix.
Dog overpopulation is a big problem in our area. We are doing our best to educate all who will listen of the importance of spay/neuter and have administered grant funding for our community to assist with this cost. Each month, we host a low-cost mobile spay/neuter clinic. We lobby for measures that will promote RESPONSIBLE pet ownership, but as of now, our county does not even have an animal control officer. We get only about 12-15 local adoptions a year. We are not in a high profile area, where we have the opportunity to set up off-site adoptions to promote our dogs. We MUST look for other ways to offer our dogs a chance for life. Additionally, since we are the ONLY option for dogs in our county, when we are at maximum capacity, there is simply nowhere for others to go. It is not uncommon to see dogs traveling the roads, starving and hairless, looking for shelter and food.
Bamberg County budgets $24,000 annually for the operation of the M.A.M.A.S., which is less than one eight of what we spent in 2014 (2015 figures have not yet been tabulated). Our facility remains modest, to say the least – because we choose to dedicate most of the funds we receive from the county, donations and adoptions – to helping more dogs, rather than choosing to have a fancy facility. We take in – and fix – a number of lost souls – emotionally and physically, which makes us a unique “hybrid” shelter/rescue. Adoption fees from our rescue side help bridge the gap between what it takes to run M.A.M.A.S. and what we receive from our county and donations. M.A.M.A.S. will fight for every animal…. Surgeries are performed to correct broken limbs. Dogs with mange or horribly infected skin conditions are cured. Puppies are treated for parvo with a VERY high survival rate. Starved dogs are brought back to health. Injured and heartworm positive dogs are treated. All dogs are given the time, love and attention to heal – emotionally and physically, and our very dedicated staff is diligent in our adoption/rescue process. Our goal is to do everything possible to ensure that once a dog leaves M.A.M.A.S. /Safe Haven, he or she will have the best possible chance for a great life. M.A.M.A.S. is committed to saving lives and helping those who have fallen between life’s cracks.
We are proud of what M.A.M.A.S. has become, and strive to do even better in the future…to increase awareness, promote responsible pet ownership, encourage spay/neuter, and make M.A.M.A.S. the best that it can be. We will continue to push forward to provide a safe, comfortable environment for our residents and give a helping hand to those who need it while we transition them to the next phase in their life – a loving home. Please join us in our vision. Together – we can make a difference!