Category Archives: Wilson County

Demolish the gas chambers!

Iredell County gas chamber

Iredell County, NC, gas chamber. Photo by Flickr member NCCHE.

A “relatively painless” death can only occur in an environment where sensitivity, compassion and skill combine with efforts to minimize distress and anxiety. By contrast, gas systems take time to kill— during which animals experience distress and anxiety, and can struggle to survive. They can result in animals surviving the gassing, only to suffer even more. And they take longer to kill if animals are young, old, or have respiratory infections, which is common in some shelters. They are designed for the ease of shelter workers, not care and compassion for the animals.–A Call To Ban The Gas Chamber

The good news: Several NC counties, including Person, Johnston and Sampson, have recently announced plans to discontinue or restrict the use  of gas chambers and/or remove them completely. Other NC counties that recently joined the march toward civilized treatment of shelter pets include Brunswick County, where the CO chamber was last used in November 2011, according to inspection reports, and Craven-Pamlico, which ended the use of its chamber on Feb.1, 2012.

But bad news remains: There are still far too many North Carolina counties killing shelter pets in the barbaric contraptions. Fourteen counties still use gas chambers as their primary means of killing shelter pets. Several others have switched primarily to lethal injection but retain the CO chambers for use with wildlife and “dangerous” animals. (Often, feral cats are considered to be in the “dangerous” category, which means the gas chamber still gets used quite a lot in those places.)

The gas chamber has been banned in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.

As long as the inhumane contraptions, throwbacks to our less-civilized past, remain in use in North Carolina, we will never be able to move forward to a humane future in which shelters will be places where animals’ lives are protected. The gas chambers in NC must be demolished. Even in counties where gas chamber use has ended, having a working chamber onsite means that it can be put back into full-time use again at any time, as it was in Sampson County.

Below is a county-by-county listing of the the places that still use gas chambers and links to contact information for county officials who can change that. I have written a sample letter that can be used as a template for your own letters to these officials. More points to use in a letter can be found in the American Humane Association gas chamber fact sheet.

Ashe County: If there were a “Worst Place in NC for Animals” award, Ashe County would be a nominee. Not only does their pound gas an incredibly high number of animals each year, but their pound director doesn’t care for adoptions, shooting is a standard animal control technique and animal cruelty is considered just one of those thingsAsk Ashe County officials to end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber in their county! Contact information for Ashe County Officials is here. The Ashe County CO chamber was last inspected by NCDA&CS AWS in May 2012.

Alamance County/City of Burlington: Lethal injection is the primary means of killing pets at Burlington Animal Services, but the gas chamber is still used for wildlife and “dangerous” animals. Ask Alamance County/City of Burlington officials to completely end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber! Find contact information here. It appears that the BAS gas chamber has not been inspected by the NCDA&CS Animal Welfare Service since 2009.

Beaufort County: The gas chamber is the primary means of killing animals in Beaufort County. Ask Beaufort County officials to end the use of  and demolish the barbaric gas chamber.  Find contact information here. The Beaufort County pound CO chamber was last inspected by NCDA&CS AWS in March 2012.

Cabarrus County: UPDATE: In July 2013, Cabarrus County accepted a $10,000 grant from HSUS to end its use of the gas chamber. The gas chamber is the primary means of killing animals in Cabarrus County. Ask Cabarrus County officials to end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber in their county. Find contact information here. The CO chamber in Cabarrus County does not appear to have been inspected by NCDA&CS AWS since 2009.

Cleveland County: The gas chamber is the primary means of killing animals in Cleveland County. Ask Cleveland County officials to end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber in their county. Find contact information here. The Cleveland County pound CO chamber was last inspected by NCDA&CS AWS in January 2012.

Davidson County: Davidson County’s gas chamber is one of the most infamous in North Carolina. In 2011, a shelter volunteer told the Davidson County commissioners that he saw “Davidson County Animal Shelter employees laugh as they put a mother cat, her kitten and a raccoon into the same compartment of the shelter’s gas chamber in 2009 and let them fight before they were euthanized.” Then over Thanksgiving weekend in 2011, two Thomasville police officers who were not trained or certified took a dog they had shot and wounded to the closed Davidson pound and killed it in the gas chamber. Despite massive opposition to the gas chamber by Davidson County residents, most county commissioners voted to continue using the barbaric contraption in August 2011. Ask Davidson County officials to end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber in their county. Find contact information here. The Davidson County pound CO chamber does not appear to have been inspected by NCDA&CS AWS since 2009.

Gaston County: According to a June 2012 AWS inspection report,  the gas chamber is only used for about 1 percent of the animals killed in the Gaston County pound. Nonetheless, as long as the chamber remains operable and in the facility, it can be put into more frequent use at any time. Ask Gaston County officials to end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber in their county. Find contact information here. The Gaston County pound CO chamber  was last inspected by NCDA&CS AWS since in June 2012.

Granville County: The gas chamber is the primary means of killing pets in the Granville County pound. Ask Granville County officials to end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber in their county. Find contact information here. The Granville County pound CO chamber was last inspected by NCDA&CS AWS in  2011.

Iredell County: Iredell County is famous for being the site of one of several gas chamber explosions in North Carolina. In 2008, Iredell’s almost-brand-new gas chamber exploded with 10 dogs inside as a result of an electrical malfunction. Nonetheless, the county repaired the unit and had it back in service a year later. Ask Iredell County officials to end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber in their county. Find contact information here. The Iredell County pound CO chamber was last inspected by NCDA&CS AWS in  May 2012.

Johnston County: UPDATE: Reportedly, the Johnston gas chamber is now NOT in use, all gas canisters have been disposed of and the chamber is to be dismantled and removed in the near future. In response to years of pressure by animal advocates, Johnston County pound manager Ed Wilkinson announced in December 2012 that he planned to decrease the use of the gas chamber to only “vicious” animals. Wilkinson gave no definition of what constitutes a “vicious” animal, so it’s possible that category could include feral cats, which are killed by the tens of thousands every year in NC pounds. Gas chamber use needs to end completely in Johnston County. As long as the chamber remains operable and in the facility, it can be put into more frequent use at any time. Please tell Johnston County officials and pound director Ernie Wilkinson that ending the use of the gas chamber represents progress, and ask them to begin implementing the programs proven to end the killing of healthy and treatable pets in their facility. Find contact information here. The Johnston County pound CO chamber does not appear to have been inspected by NCDA&CS AWS since 2009.

Martin County: The gas chamber is currently the primary means of killing pets in Martin County. Ask Martin County officials to end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber in their county. Find contact information here. The Martin County pound CO chamber was last inspected by NCDA&CS AWS in 2011.

Nash County: The gas chamber is the primary means of killing animals in Nash County. Ask Nash County officials to end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber in their county. Find contact information here. The CO chamber in Nash  County does not appear to have been inspected by NCDA&CS AWS since 2009.

Randolph County:  The gas chamber is the primary means of killing animals in Randolph County. Ask Randolph County officials to end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber in their county. Find contact information here. The CO chamber in Randolph County does not appear to have ever been inspected by  NCDA&CS AWS.

Rowan County: The gas chamber is currently the primary means of killing pets in Rowan County. Ask Rowan County officials to end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber in their county. Find contact information here. The Rowan County pound CO chamber was last inspected by NCDA&CS AWS in January 2012.

Union County: The gas chamber is currently the primary means of killing pets in Union County. Ask Union County officials to end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber in their county. Find contact information here. The Union County pound CO chamber was last inspected by NCDA&CS AWS in September 2012.

Vance County: Vance County is reportedly eliminating or reducing use of its gas chamber. According to a Facebook post by the Vance County SPCA, the county has already ended the gas chamber use. But as long as the chamber remains operable and in the facility, it can be put back into frequent use at any time. Ask Vance County officials to demolish the gas chamber and remove it completely. Find contact information here. The Vance County pound CO chamber was last  inspected by NCDA&CS AWS in July 2011.

Wilkes County: The gas chamber is currently the primary means of killing pets in Wilkes County. Ask Wilkes County officials to end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber in their county. Find contact information here. The Wilkes  County pound CO chamber was last inspected by NCDA&CS AWS in May 2012.

Wilson County: The gas chamber is currently the primary means of killing pets in Wilson County. Ask Wilson County officials to end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber in their county. Find contact information here. The Wilson County pound CO chamber was last inspected by NCDA&CS AWS in 2011.

41 Comments

Filed under Alamance County, Ashe County, Beaufort County, Cabarrus County, Cleveland County, Davidson County, gas chamber, Gaston County, Granville County, Iredell County, Johnston County, Martin County, Nash County, Randolph County, Rowan County, Union County, Vance County, Wilkes County, Wilson County

Rescue tries to save mama dog, Wilson County pound kills her after sending her pups to NJ

Beth Wilson, a.k.a. the Durham Animal Advocacy Examiner has posted an article about a mama dog in the Wilson County Pound who was killed after her 5-week old puppies were sent to a rescue in New Jersey, even though there was a rescue committed to saving her.

A Pennsylvania group called Pregnant Dog Rescue learned about “Mama,” who entered the Wilson pound on Oct. 2, and began trying to coordinate rescue and transport for her and her pups with the goal of getting them out by Oct. 13. A Wilson pound volunteer notified the group on Oct. 10 that Mama and pups had been pulled by another group. PD Rescue learned the next day that the rescue group had taken only the unweaned pups, leaving Mama behind.

Through the volunteer, PD Rescue notified the Wilson pound on the morning of Oct. 12 that they would be coming to get Mama. They received an email later that day notifying them that the pound had killed Mama even though she had a rescue committed to saving her.

For their part, Companion Animal Rescue & Education in New Jersey, who pulled Mama’s pups, say they were never told by the Wilson County Pound that Mama existed. Please read the whole article at examiner.com.

Defenders of shelters are fond of saying “No one wants to kill animals” and “They’re doing the best they can” to excuse  the killing of healthy and treatable pets. Wilson County pound did the best they could to make sure they killed Mama. They lied about Mama’s existence to the rescue that took the puppies, then they killed her even though they knew a rescue group was committed to saving her.

NC animal shelter laws are so toothless and full of holes that it’s perfectly legal for a pound to kill a pet even when a rescue group is begging to save her, or for a pound to adopt out unweaned pets and kill their mothers. For that matter, they are free to summarily kill them all at will without even attempting to find a rescue. This is just one of the many reasons North Carolina needs a Companion Animal Protection Act.

North Carolina public pounds killed 64.98 percent of the animals that entered them in 2011. But those stats don’t tell the whole story of what’s broken in the NC “shelter” system:

  • NC pounds may withhold animals from public viewing and adoption for any reason and consequently kill them as “unadoptable.” (Among the reasons shelter volunteers tell me they have heard for killing animals rather than offering the public the chance to adopt them are “too old,” “there are too many black dogs,” “there are too many labs,” “it looks like a pit bull,” “it barked at other dogs.” In Granville County, the pound director declares pets unadoptable just because she doesn’ t want to hear volunteers protest when she decides to kill them later.)
  • NC pounds are free to turn away volunteers who would like to help save animals lives and provide them with care for free. They also often retaliate against volunteers who expose what goes on in the shelter.
  • NC pounds are allowed to kill animals even when there is a qualified rescue group ready and willing to save them.
  • NC pounds are allowed to kill pets even when there are plenty of empty cages. NC shelters are free to kill all the pets so that staff doesn’t have to come in to feed and clean over a holiday.
  • NC pounds are free to impound and kill feral cats even though it has proven to be a very ineffective method of controlling the feral cat population compared to neutering them and returning them to their habitat, where they can live long, healthy and happy lives.
  • NC pounds may adopt out companion animals without requiring that they be spayed or neutered.
  • NC shelters are not required to report their intake and outcome statistics because there is currently no penalty for failure to report (aside from ineligibility for the spay/neuter program, which most counties don’t bother with).

Because too many shelters are not voluntarily implementing the programs and services that would prevent killing of shelter pets, animals are being needlessly killed. And because animals are being needlessly killed, taxpayer money is being needlessly wasted. CAPA addresses this issue by:

  • Establishing that saving lives and public safety are compatible;
  • Protecting all species of shelter animals;
  • Making it illegal for a shelter to kill an animal if a rescue group or No Kill shelter is willing to save that animal;
  • Requiring shelters to have fully functioning adoption programs including offsite adoptions, use of the internet to promote their animals, and ample adoption hours when the public is available;
  • Prohibiting shelters from killing animals based on arbitrary criteria when alternatives to killing exist;
  • Requiring sterilization of adopted animals;
  • Requiring animal control to allow volunteers to help with fostering, socializing, and assisting with adoptions; and
  • Requiring shelters to be truthful about how many animals they kill and adopt by making their statistics public.

CAPA would save taxpayer money by mandating public-private partnerships that not only reduce expenses associated with having to care for then kill and dispose of an animal, but which transfers expenses from taxpayers to private philanthropy. It would also bring in revenue through adoption fees. CAPA is modeled after a similar law which has been in effect in California since 1999. An analysis of that law found that sending animals to non-profit animal rescue organizations saved the City and County of San Francisco $486,480 in publicly funded animal control costs. Under CAPA, shelters can also charge the cost of an adoption to those groups, thereby bringing in needed revenues and defraying any costs associated with implementation.

For more information about CAPA legislation, please visit Rescue50.org. If you are interested in helping introduce a statewide CAPA bill, please contact me at crashtestmoonpie (at) gmail (dotcom), or comment on this post.

Meanwhile, there is no reason for people in Wilson County to wait for a statewide CAPA law to reform their own county pound, because CAPA can be introduced at the city and county level, too. Wilson County residents can send information about CAPA to County Manager Ellis Williford and members of the Wilson County Board of Commissioners.

4 Comments

Filed under "Nobody WANTS to kill animals ...", CAPA, NC county/municipal pounds, Wilson County