Shelter Accused of Killing Animals People Want to Adopt
Robeson County Animal Shelter was the only shelter in North Carolina to use "heart sticking," a controversial method of euthanasia where animals are injected directly in the heart. Less than two weeks ago, they finally agreed to stop the practice in favor of the more humane intravenous injection. (The fact that a bill has been proposed to outlaw the method in the state probably helped along the decision.)
That wasn't the end of the shelter's euthanasia scandals.
Last Thursday, the Gerber Animal Law Center of Raleighfiled suit against the shelter on behalf of Susan Barrett, who says the shelter euthanized a dog after she told them she planned to adopt. According to Health Director Bill Smith, the policy isn't to hold animals, but "an animal may be adopted to whoever is present." Barrett was in the parking lot when the dog she wanted was killed.
Several other animal rescue groups signed onto the lawsuit, citing similar experiences of animals being euthanized shortly after they expressed interest. "The more we want a dog, the quicker the dog is put down."
Last year, the shelter euthanized more than 4,500 dogs and cats, about 88 percent of the animals they took in. Smith blames too many animals, limited community involvement, and not enough space or money. But those are pretty empty excuses considering that whenever the rescue community tries to get involved, the shelter kills more animals. And ever since tales of abuse have been circulating the internet, the involved community keeps expanding, with rescuers coming from all over the country to save animals from a near-certain death sentence.
Adoption seems to be the lowest priority for Robeson County. According to the lawsuit, the shelter also has a policy to leave as many as half the kennels empty for easier cleaning. Seems like the fastest way to cut their euthanasia rate would be to put the cages to use. On Friday, the shelter opened three hours later than their posted adoption hours, despite the dozen or so people waiting outside. A shelter employee said opening was delayed to allow for cleaning. They keep recycling the "cleaning" excuse as if their kennels are for show rather than saving lives. It shouldn't be too much to expect an animal shelter to actually shelter animals.