Open House Information

Adopting one animal won’t change the world,
but it will change the world for that one animal

We are located at
3377 Emanuel Church Road
Lexington, South Carolina  29073


We are open to the public
Monday – Saturday 10am – 3pm
or by appointment


(803) 783-2119

We pull dogs and cats primarily from kill shelters in the Midlands.  These pets are often surrendered by owners, through no fault of their own, or worse, they are abandoned and dumped on the side of the road. Sadly, many pets are not properly microchipped or tagged, making it more difficult to reunite them with their owners.

We are as no-kill as you can get.  Pets that reach us are guaranteed life, until their quality of life diminishes to the point that euthanization is humane thing to do.


Pets that have come to us as puppies and kittens have stayed with us for many, many years before their right match comes along.  Jimmie is a good example of that.  He came to the shelter when he was only 2 months old.  He was 4 years old when someone fell in love with him at first sight and lived the rest of his life as a loyal and loved member of the family.


We do not euthanize any pet at our shelter because they have been here too long, or they are not perfect, or they are the wrong color, or they are too old, or just to make space.


We are always full, because we endeavor to do the most that we can for the abused, neglected, and unwanted pets in the region.  As soon as one pet is adopted, we take another one in. We waste no space; an open space represents a pet in need that is not getting help.


Our shelter has a finite amount of space.  Overcrowding causes stress and anxiety among the pets (and the staff) that can quickly escalate to a dangerous and unhealthy environment.


When people foster> pets, that in fact helps saves two lives, the pet being fostered, and the unwanted pet that can be rescued in its place.  Betsie came from a hoarder environment.  Because she always self-secluded at the shelter, she was fostered in a home with no other pets to help on her long recovery back to a normal life.


The terms ‘shelter’ and ‘rescue’ no longer clearly define how an organization operates and should not be the sole means of judging them.  It should be noted that both types of organizations have the same goal: to find as many unwanted pets a new and loving home as possible.


Generally speaking, a rescue is usually a non-profit organization run by a few people, and a shelter is usually government funded and staffed.  A rescue usually has a small number of pets available, mostly due to their limited space.  Shelters usually have more space, often are not allowed to refuse surrenders, and therefore have more animals to choose from, and a high euthanasia rate. 


APL is a non-profit, no-kill organization.  Euthanization is only used when a pet’s quality of life deems it to be the merciful thing to do.  We do not euthanize any pet at our shelter because they have been here too long, or they are not perfect, or they are the wrong color, or they are too old, or just to make space.


Noah and Sampson, a bonded pair, because of their advanced age and disabilities, would have been put down quickly had they reached a city or county shelter.  But they came to us, were taken in by a foster days later, and were allowed to live their final months roaming free on a 6-acre ranch, instead of in a kennel.


There is no denying that we get attached to each of these pets.  Like people, they all have distinct personalities, and we get to know and love each one as an individual.  And, yes, when the day comes to send them to their forever home, it is difficult, and met with mixed emotions.  While it is hard to see a friend leave forever, we have the knowledge that the family taking our pet has been thoroughly checked out, so we know it is going to be safe, loved, and well cared for.  And every dog or cat we adopt out, opens a space for another one to be rescued.

There are so many ways you can help.  You can become a volunteer, or you can make a donation, or you could consider becoming a foster for one of our pets.  Contact us to find out more, and see where you can help.

No experience is necessary.  All you need is a desire to help.  If you have experience, for instance, from another pet rescue, or in landscaping, or office skills, or any other specific area, please make your talents known so that we can find a perfect task for you.

You must be at least 16 years old.

If you are less than 18 years old, a parent or guardian must sign your waiver form at your volunteer orientation.

Visit our volunteer page for more information and the application form.

Our organization depends upon volunteers! 

    • Volunteers drive our fundraising, adoption events, and marketing
    • Volunteers do our landscaping, general repairs, and periodic maintenance tasks
    • Volunteers spend time with our dogs and cats, socializing them so that they show better at adoption events
    • Volunteers collect donated items from local businesses
    • Volunteers run our periodic on-line auctions
    • Volunteers make up our Board of Directors, who keep the organization moving forward

Without volunteers, APL could not be the organization that it has been for over 40 years


A couple of different college clubs have been great help at our adoption events.

A group of soldiers from Fort McCrady provided a great deal of help during the preparation for our recent move.  They came eager and energized to get some of our more challenging tasks completed.

If your group is interested in volunteering, contact us to discuss how we can use your group.

Yes.  All of the normal volunteer requirements must be met, including completion of the volunteer application form.  Because of the special nature of your volunteer time, please contact us in advance to ensure we will be able to complete your paperwork correctly.  And, you know what?  Maybe your experience with us will encourage you to stay on as a regular volunteer.

Yes, they do, if you make your donation through the Caro Community Impact Project page of their website.  Caro allocates $5,000 per year to match donations, dollar for dollar, to any of the organizations that they sponsor.  The Animal Protection League of South Carolina is one of those organizations and your donation is still tax deductible.

Who is Caro?

Caro is a federally insured credit union, founded in 1969, locally owned and run by its members, and open to new members from all walks of life, that are looking for that personalized banking experience. 


Credit Unions are not-for-profit cooperatives that live within and give back to the community with the goal of passing any profits back to their members. This comes in the form of more benefits, better options, financial advice, lower fees and better rates.


Banks are for-profit large institutions with the goal of making money for the stockholders in the company.


The Caro Mission is straightforward:  Real Solutions for Real People.


Caro’s vision is simple. Caro is focused on changing people’s lives with creative problem-solving solutions to the financial challenges life throws at you, both simple and complex. Caro gives you the tools you need to succeed, help you achieve your goals and work together on a plan that is easy to follow. Caro treats every person with equal importance.


Caro office locations
     4480 Rosewood Drive, Columbia, SC 29209
     710 Pulaski Street, Columbia, SC 29201
     121 Sumner Street, Greenville, SC 29601

Yes, the Animal Protection League of South Carolina is registered as a tax deductible, charitable organization through the United States Internal Revenue Service, specifically a 501(c)(3).


Donations to APL are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

93 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to the care of our pets.  That includes
     – regular veterinary services
     – room and board
     – treatments, medications, and rehabilitation as necessary
     – socialization time     

for however long the pet is with us.

We have taken in pets that any other shelter or veterinarian would have immediately euthanized, and we nurtured that spark of life, the hope in their eyes, their desire to live, and gave them the chance of a lifetime

This is Justice.  She was neglected, abused, and used just to make puppies.  She should have hated humans after what she went through, but from the time she arrived she relished human interaction.


She was adopted in 2020.

This is Stanley.  Stanley was given to someone as a gift. Through no fault of his own, Stanley was neglected, simply because he was an unwanted gift.  When he was surrendered, he had a terrible mouth infection and was covered in feces and urine from having to be confined to a crate 24/7.  All this little guy wanted was to be loved.  Lots of loving care from our staff got this guy back to normal. 


Adopted in 2021, he is getting all the love and attention he wants!

Meet Phoenix.  She was found by a passerby, abandoned in a home, with no food or water, by people who had moved out over two weeks earlier.  Too weak to move on her own, she was physically carried into the vet’s office for humane euthanasia. The vet saw trust in her eyes, in spite of her grave condition; and it was her feeble attempt to wag her tail that made the vet decide to give her a chance.   She responded well to a course of intravenous fluids, so the vet contacted us.  She came to us after a few more days with the vet, and had regained some of her strength, with the warning that her chances were not good. It was a long, hard road for Phoenix, who literally came up from the ashes, and what a beauty she became.


It is April 2024, and Phoenix is available for adoption.

Thank you for considering us for such an honor.  You should consult with your family attorney to work out the written details.  If you, or your attorney, require specific information from us, please contact our treasurer.

Dog Adoption Fees

While that would be tragic and heartbreaking, know that you can return your pet to us, no matter what.  That could be after 1 day, or 1 week, or 1 year or 10 years.  If you cannot keep a pet you adopted from us, we will take it back unconditionally. 

There is no easy answer to that question, because each pet’s needs are different.  As you consider the cost of owning a pet, be sure to count the obvious stuff like food, heartworm and flea medication, treats, toys, and annual visits to the vet.  Then add in the cost of collars and leashes (yes, leashes for cats, I have personally seen it), beds, dog training classes, boarding or pet sitters, and most importantly, the cost of an emergency vet visit, which can be quite costly.  There is so much more cost to owning a pet than just the adoption fee.

The requirements and application process are the same for both. 


When you adopt a pet from us, it becomes your pet and your responsibility. 


When you foster, you are providing a safe place for the pet away from the shelter environment; APL covers all of the costs related to the pet, such as food, medications, and veterinary visits, the pet still belongs to APL and is still available for adoption to the general public.


Foster-to-adopt is another option where you can bring the pet into your home, as a sort of trial adoption, for an agreed-on period of time to ensure the pet adjusts to its new surroundings and family, for a set period of time, while APL still covers all of the expenses, but the pet will be removed from the available adoption population.


True fosters are rare.  They are able to take a pet into their lives for weeks, months, or years, and freely part with the pet when its forever family comes along.  These folks are invaluable to pet rescue because they will often see a part of their family leave the nest for bigger and better things, and then foster another pet days later.


Foster-failures are far more common.  Someone takes a pet in to give it a non-shelter environment, and ultimately ends up adopting the pet rather than parting with it.  Most people in the rescue community are foster-failures, sometimes multiple times over.


Some fosters prefer to ‘specialize’.  They are the folks that want to help out with a specific type of pet.  For instance, someone who only wants to bottle-feed orphaned kittens, or someone who wants to provide an elder dog a quiet, loving environment for its last months or years.


If you think you are interested in fostering, you should probably contact our Shelter Manager, who can discuss the pros and cons around your particular situation.

Often, it is not so much “Why wasn’t I selected?” as “Why was someone else selected?”


Our available pets frequently receive more than one application for adoption.  With multiple applications, our adoption staff must do their best to ensure the best situation for the pet.  Those decisions are not made by one person, and they are never easy.


Not being selected to adopt one pet does not automatically exclude you from adopting another.  Please feel free to apply again if another one of our pets strikes your fancy.


We have seen our share of disappointed, sometimes even angry, applicants.  While disappointment is acceptable and expected, getting angry with our volunteers does not help anyone.  We all want what is best for the pet.


We hope you won’t let the experience of not being selected change your mind about providing a loving home to a pet in need. There are many animal shelters and rescue groups with many more adoptable pets waiting for their forever homes!

Simply put: We want the pet back.


You may return the pet you adopted from us, at any time, for any reason.  After 1 day, or 1 week, 1 year, or 10 years, we will take the pet back, unconditionally.  All we ask is that you contact us to arrange the return, and please allow us time to make arrangements for the pet.


If the pet is returned within two weeks of the adoption, you will get a full refund.  No refund is given after two weeks.


When you adopt, you agree not to abandon, give away, sell or dispose of the pet in any way, and to notify us immediately if you no longer want, or can no longer keep the pet. You also agree to give us adequate time to find a suitable temporary home for the pet, and to protect the pet from harm or neglect during that time interval.

No adoptions take place on the same day an application is submitted; that includes from the shelter, or from an adoption event.


After you complete an adoption application, the review process may take up to ten days because:

      • You will be contacted for an over-the-phone interview
      • Your references will be contacted
      • Your veterinarian will be contacted
      • A meet-and-greet of new pet and all household family members may be required
      • A meet-and-greet of new pet and existing pets will be required
      • A home visit may be required


Adoptions are not processed in a first-come, first-served fashion.  We frequently get more than one application for a pet, and we do our best to obtain the best family fit for each pet.  The pet you choose from the internet may not be a good selection for your family or lifestyle; it is our job to make sure neither the pet, nor the adopting family, have any surprises when they get home.


If you are selected to adopt one of our pets, you will be required to sign a contract with us, to ensure the pet’s well-being, and your right to return the pet at any time for any reason.

At this time, we do not do adoptions outside of the central South Carolina region.


However, that is a service we are hoping to offer in the near future.

We will not knowingly allow one of our pets to be adopted as a gift for someone else.  To many times that goes wrong, and the pet usually pays the cost.  We want to know who is getting our pet, and that the match is the best for everyone.

  • What will your life be like in 5 or 10 years?
  • Will you be adopting the pet by yourself or with someone?
  • How much time can you dedicate to your pet each day?
  • How much household destruction can you handle?
  • Can you afford to own an animal?
  • Can you afford an emergency vet bill of $1,000-$2,000?
  • Do you have support from others when working late or traveling?
  • What do you hope for from having a pet?
  • Do you have the time and resources for proper training?
  • Can you provide a stimulating environment for the pet?

Contact Us!


New pets are frightened and confused.  Time and consistency will make them more comfortable.

The  3-3-3 rule applies to puppies, dogs, kittens, and cats

Simply put – we want the pet back


The written contract that we enter into with our adopters says that you agree not to abandon, give away, sell or dispose of the pet in any way, and to notify us immediately if you determine that you no longer want, or no longer can keep the pet, so that we can take the pet back. You agree to give us adequate time to find a suitable temporary home for the pet, and to protect the pet from harm or neglect during that time.


In plain English: You may return the pet you adopted from us, at any time, for any reason, but contact us to arrange the return, and please allow us time to make arrangements for the pet.


If the pet is returned within two weeks of the adoption, you will get a full refund.  No refund is given after two weeks.

When you adopted from us, we made it clear that we would take your pet back, at any time, for any reason, without question or condition.


We understand that life is not always predictable, or fair.  For that reason, our return policy is so broad.  No matter the reason, do not feel that you have failed us, or your pet.  We provide the ultimate of back-up plans if things do not work out.  Nobody here will judge you, indeed your thoughtfulness for your pet will be all that we will care about.