ST. PAULS — The Robeson County Health Department has hired a former Cumberland County animal enforcement supervisor to manage the Robeson County Animal Shelter.
Lori Baxter, Fayetteville resident, will begin work at the shelter, located at 255 Landfill Road in St. Pauls, on Wednesday.
“I can’t wait to get in there and get some positive energy going,” Baxter said on Tuesday. “It looks like they’ve got great policies with what I’ve read.”
Baxter, one of the eight finalists interviewed for the position last week, said she is aware of allegations from animal advocates about systemic problems at the pound.
“I’ve seen and read what’s been going on with the Robeson shelter, but I need to go in and evaluate it myself,” she said. “I need to form my own opinions, so I don’t have any preconceived notions.”
Baxter said she is an animal lover and has two dogs of her own, Steve and Murphy, whom she rescued recently.
“When you rescue a dog out of a bad situation, they know it and they love you for it,” she said.
Interim manager April Lowry was hired by the Health Department about three months ago when former manager Jeff Bass asked for and was granted a transfer to another job with the Health Department. Bass left after being targeted by animal rights advocates who had a litany of allegations, including that he abused animals, discouraged adoptions, and that the shelter constantly violated state laws.
The position, which pays $30,035 a year, was advertised on the county website earlier this month, garnering about 30 applications.
“She’s coming from outside the county and she’s worked in shelters before,” Health Director Bill Smith said of Baxter. “I think she’s going to bring experience to the area.”
Lumberton animal advocate Faith Walker said she is also excited about Baxter taking over the shelter.
“I think it is now time for all of us to look forward and stop looking in the rear-view mirror,” Walker said.