Nestled among the palmetto trees and river breezes is a quiet community right off a main beach road. The residents are generations of families who have handed down the land to their growing families. This beautiful and very historic place is called Sol Legare and it has a secret that has become a big problem…unwanted pets being dumped, discarded and roaming the area. What’s happening isn’t anything new but as the overpopulation of unwanted animals grows, Sol Legare’s secret has caught the attention of numerous pet groups and rescue volunteers that want to help.
At one point the homeless dog population of Sol Legare was tipping the scales at a couple hundred dogs, running loose and reproducing litters upon litters of puppies. The dogs had formed a pack and were reproducing litters of puppies that caused the numbers of unwanted dogs to skyrocket out of control! Dogs like Queenie pictured below have been in the puppy making business it is thought, for over 10 years and hopefully if she can be caught, she will be spayed and adopted out to a loving home.
There were dogs running loose everywhere! Local pet shelter, PetHelpers was contacted to see if they could help trap and catch the dogs. PetHelpers has an amazing group of volunteers and a dedicated staff that works to help local areas with homeless and feral cats and dogs. Their spay and neuter initiative is widely known across the state and they work constantly to help homeless animals of the area. Jason Moore, who is a staff member at PH really connected with the residents of Sol Legare and wanted to do as much as he could for the unwanted dogs.
Jason and good friend Brian Foster have dedicated their time over the last few years to really make a difference for the “Sol Dogs” as they call them. As Jason explains, the dogs of Sol Legare are in dire need and he and his friends, fellow volunteers and PetHelpers have worked helping the dogs by feeding them, trying to keep them safe from the “hazards” of the area…meaning that a lot of the dogs have been shot by people as well as hit on the road by cars. The dogs they have been able to trap and catch have been spayed and neutered. Some lucky dogs have even been able to find adoptive families.
As important as the safety of the dogs is, it’s also become very important to reach out to the Sol residents to educate and engage them about helping rescue the dogs as a community. Through this outreach work and their passion to help the dogs, Jason and Brian have been inspired to start a new pet rescue group called the “Sol Sanctuary” in honor of the Sol Dogs.
As we walked the Sol area , Jason shared some of the dogs and their stories from the years of helping them. There was a main dog (Alpha) named Bishop and he was the top dog that Jason and Brian worked
to help. Bishop was most likely the Daddy to many of the litters that have been found and rescued. Many of the dogs have found happy homes thru rescue and adoption. Jason and Brian are so passionate about helping these dogs and you get really inspired to hear about their efforts and good work. They have watched over the dogs daily and try to provide food, shelter and medical help if they can get close enough to those who need it. They are sad to report that one of their favorite dogs, Lord Bishop III (pictured below) was recently found dead. He was ill and they are sad that they couldn’t have done more for him. He’s the descendent of the original Bishop which made him very special to their project and hearts.
I met Jason through our work with local unchain dogs initiative, Unchain Charleston so I already knew what an amazing guy he is! He and Brian have organized and joined forces with one of the local Sol residents and are in the process of building an enclosure for the dogs that they can catch and contain in one area. Having a so called “holding pen” will give the dogs some safety from being shot or hit on the road. Having the enclosure will also give the dogs the opportunities to be vetted as well as spayed and neutered.
On a beautiful Saturday the Sol Sanctuary Team invited volunteers, Unchain Charleston friends and others to join them in the building of the new Sol Sanctuary enclosure. I was very excited to be able to help on this very special build and see this enclosure come together since I had first heard about it.
It was a great day to help build the new Sol Sanctuary enclosure and I enjoyed meeting some new friends too. So much was accomplished during the build but there is always more to do! Sol Sanctuary will be an 80 × 30 enclosure to house up to 8 ferals dogs! Once completed they will have done the unthinkable and saved a population of dogs that have produced more puppies than they can count (over 300 at one time ). Society wants them dead but with the dedication of two really caring pet advocates Jason and Brian have come up with a caring way to save them! They are very proud of their progress and very blessed to have the support of the rescue community, volunteers, Sol residents and Pet Helpers. Saving dogs one Sol at a time…thats Sol Sanctuary!
We want to remind everyone to always support the work of dedicated groups such as Unchain Charleston, PetHelpers and Sol Sanctuary. Great work to help animals takes funding and support from everyone! Thank you woofs to Jason, Brian, PetHelpers, Unchain Charleston and all the volunteers who have given their time, sweat and help to this amazing project!
We also send a prayer to all the Sol Dogs…