Tag Archives: Adoption

Break out the punch bowl again: Ashe County pound has a dog available for adoption!

The Ashe County pound, which has not adopted a single pet to the public since the end of July*, has posted an adoptable dog on its Adopt-A-Pet and Petfinder pages. Some person or family who is able to get to the pound between the hours of 10 and 2 pm Monday, Wednesday or Friday can pick up a very sweet looking new friend named Barney.

Barney, Available for adoption from Ashe County Animal Shelter

Here is what they say about him:.

This nice Beagle/?Bassett boy is somewhere between 1-2yo, if not a little younger. He showed up as a stray at someone’s home and they contacted Ashe County Animal Control. The people in the neighborhood where he was roaming stray had nothing but good things to say about this boy. Unfortunately, nobody showed up to claim him during his 1-week stray hold. He has done very well at the shelter and allowed our volunteer to handle him all over w/o issue. Also, he seems to do well with other dogs but has not been cat-tested. We have no ability to test dogs with children.
The shelter does not have the ability to perform heartworm testing on-site. Deworming and/or vaccinations can be done on occasion when medication is available (we rely on donations for this). For reputable rescues, however, local volunteer assistance is available for transport to a local Vet clinic for such testing and to obtain appropriate vaccines and Health Certificate at the rescue’s expense.

In order to pull animals from Ashe County Animal Control, rescues must be approved. The approval process involves submitting an application, available by emailing a Friends of Ashe County Animals (FACA) volunteer at fabulousmcg@gmail.com. As part of the application, rescues will need to submit copies of their adoption application, adoption contract and 501c3. Rescues will also need to provide a Vet Reference. The Animal Control Officers prefer that all rescue-related inquiries be directed to the volunteer email (fabulousmcg@gmail.com) so please do not contact the shelter with rescue-related inquiries. An FACA volunteer will be checking this email daily so please allow 24 hours for a response.

Shelter information: Ashe County Animal Control 767 Fred Pugh Road Crumpler, NC 28617 Shelter Hours: 10:00AM-2PM, MON/WED/FRI. They are closed to public on TU/TH/SAT/SUN.

*I filed a public records request on Oct. 24 for the Ashe County pound’s latest statistics to verify this, but I am still waiting for a response. Some animals have gone out of the pound to rescue groups, so not every animal that goes in gets gassed to death. Just most of them.

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Granville County pound is low on adoptables because it’s easier that way

Volunteers and animal advocates in Granville County have long begged animal control chief Cathy Hartley to increase the number of dogs she releases for adoption from the Granville pound. There are typically only a handful of dogs labeled “adoptable” at any given time regardless of how many are currently in there or what type of dogs there are. (There seem to more cats available on a regular basis).

At my visit to the volunteer orientation there in July, I asked some of the volunteers what the criteria are for determining adoptability, and no one knew; they all said it was at Ms. Hartley’s discretion. Thursday evening at the quarterly meeting of the county’s animal control advisory board, I discovered the answer to my question: the Granville pound’s standards for classifying dogs as adoptable or unadoptable depend on what’s easiest and most convenient.

The topic arose when one of the board members said “It seems like there aren’t many dogs out there for adoptions on Saturdays” (which is the busiest day for adoptions at the pound because its the only time most working families with kids can actually get there during open hours).

“Well that’s a discussion that we’ve already had over and over and over,” Ms Hartley said. “We have a constant need for space, and if we have 15 dogs for adoption, that’s 15 runs that are full.”

“If we’re running out of space and it gets down to it, you could still euthanize a green [adoptable]1 dog,” the board member said. “That would give the public more dogs to pick from when they’re out there instead of having three to pick from, maybe have nine to pick from.”

“It’s been very difficult to do that [kill adoptables] recently without a lot of criticism,” Ms. Hartley said.

So to put it bluntly, adoptable dogs are scarce at the Granville pound because they take up space and can’t be killed without the volunteers and other animal advocates (rightfully) getting upset.

This also explains why volunteers are not allowed any contact with “yellow” card dogs at the pound (those whose holds have expired but who have not been cleared for adoption): If people were allowed to walk and pet them, they’d likely not want them to be killed, either (and it would also probably demonstrate the falsehood of their “unadoptable” classification).

Another board member, who said it was very frustrating to convince people to go look for a dog to adopt at the pound only to have them report back that “the place was completely empty,” questioned the need for pre-emptive killing. “Lets say we have 23 dogs and nothing else comes in, there’s no reason to go from 20 to 5 unless you actually have more coming in,” she said

“Well, we have more coming in pretty regularly,” Ms. Hartley said. “We empty it out three days a week at minimum. And then they fill back in.”

Granville County gas chamber, Oxford NC
Granville County gas chamber, Oxford NC by carolinaonmymind, on Flickr

Just to be clear, when Ms. Hartley says “empty it out,” she means killing everything possible (probably in the pound’s gas chamber.). One of the kill-pound defenders’ favorite cliches is “nobody wants to kill pets,”  but the practices at the Granville pound seem to contradict that. The fact that little effort is put toward  the things proven to increase adoptions (adoption hours friendly to working people and families with kids, greater visibility in the community, marketing, offsite adoptions, special events, adoption incentives, foster care program, a fun and friendly shelter environment, and a good public image, among other things), indicates that Ms. Hartley seems to prefer “emptying out” her pound via the dumpster. She is choosing to kill pets by not doing the kinds of things necessary to get them out of her pound alive, things that have been proven successful at saving more than 90 percent of the pets that come in to open-admission shelters in more than 54 communities across the country.

Opening up kennel space in a pound by killing is less work for someone like Ms. Hartley than doing it via adoption or rescue (and less paperwork, too). Killing pets simply makes her job easier. Because she can’t kill the pets still on mandatory hold and volunteers (rightfully) get upset when she kills the animals lucky enough to be called “adoptable,” Ms. Hartley has a big incentive NOT to change many dogs’ status from “yellow” to “green” because it keeps her job as easy on herself as possible.

I wonder how the taxpayers of Granville County would feel about their taxes paying the salary of a sheriff or a fire marshal who approached their job the same way?

Conversely, how would the taxpayers of Granville County feel about having a shelter director dedicated to actually protecting the lives of the animals that come into her shelter? If the experiences of communities around the country that have gone No Kill are any indication, local residents love it and often turn out in support of their shelter in numbers greater than ever. In fact, because No Kill boosts adoptions, attracts and retains more volunteers, improves staff morale and generates more funding, among other things, a commitment to saving lives instead of killing would probably end up making Cathy Hartley’s job much easier in the long run.

Another issue that came up at Thursday’s meeting was vaccination on intake, and it appears shelter policy is being dictated by misinformation, namely that they aren’t allowed to vaccinate incoming strays. Board members were discussing the duties of a new vet tech who has been hired at the pound when one board member (a veterinarian), said, “Please, please, please let them be vaccinated on intake and not two weeks later. When you guys are rolling your truck in, she [the vet tech] should be standing there with vaccines all ready.”

Another member said “But we don’t know who’s staying and who’s not at that point.” (Translation: we don’t know who’s going to be allowed to live and who’s going to end up in the dumpster.)

“But isn’t it better to vaccinate everybody, before they even step foot in there?” the vet (very correctly) said.

“We never have. It’s not protocol,” answered the other.

“We never could, practically, moneywise … it just doesn’t make sense,” Ms. Hartley said.

The money argument doesn’t hold water. Necesary vaccines for dogs and cats can cost as low as $2.10 each (if purchased from a vendor who provides shelter pricing discounts). Considering that adoptions are revenue-producing, vaccines save lives and killing animals costs money (a 2009 American Humane Association study estimated lethal injection killing costs at around $2.29 per animal and gas chamber killing costs at around $4.66 per animal), it actually makes much more cost sense to vaccinate every animal at intake … and to push adoptions as a priority over killing. And if money is an issue, there are many volunteers at the pound who would help solicit donations of vaccines or the money to buy them if it means more animals getting out of that pound alive.

But Ms. Hartley had more misinformation behind her failure to vaccinate: “If they’re strays, then they are not legally our animal,” she said, giving as an example: what if we give a vaccine “and one reacts and has a problem and then the owner shows up and we’re in trouble again.”

That is a false premise and a red herring to the real discussion of sound vaccination practice. Legally, it’s unlikely a shelter would be held liable unless the animal was wrongfully seized by animal control or the shelter had refused to relinquish it when the owner tried to reclaim. What’s more, the possibility of an adverse reaction to a vaccine is miniscule, and far, far less of an issue than an unvaccinated pet picking up a potentially fatal disease like parvovirus, canine distemper, panleukopenia or calicivirus in a shelter.

Furthermore, there is no law in North Carolina that prohibits shelters from vaccinating any dog on intake, and many shelters across the state do it. So unless there is a Granville County ordinance prohibiting it (I could not find their ordinances online to check), there’s no legal barrier to immediate vaccination of strays. In fact, the advocate group for the Bladen County pound (2011 dog kill rate: 10.61 percent, cat kill rate: 63.71; compare to Granville’s dog kill rate of 70.75 percent and cat kill rate of 85.87 percent), proclaims their sound vaccination policy on their Petfinder page: “In an effort toward disease prevention, Bladen County Animal Control now gives Core Vaccinations to all pets on intake.” Vance County, which had a 35 percent kill rate last year (less than half that of next door neighbor Granville County) also vaccinates all pets on intake at its pound.

(UPDATE: Thanks to a wonderful reader who sent me a link, I have read the Granville County animal control ordinances, and there is no prohibition on vaccination of strays. An AC officer is, however, allowed to “use his discretion to waive the minimum holding time and to destroy the animal immediately or at such time as deemed appropriate” in the case of “animals that are badly wounded or diseased or afflicted with a highly contagious disease such as distemper or parvo.” A change in the county ordinance to allow vaccination would probably be enough to mitigate any potential for legal problems.)

In reality, it just doesn’t make sense not to vaccinate all pets on intake, unless one is looking for MORE excuses to kill animals. (Pounds like Robeson, Duplin and Ashe have found distemper and parvo outbreaks to be quite handy in that respect.)

The good news from Thursday’s meeting is that, as mentioned, the pound has hired a new vet tech, as well as an additional shelter attendant. The board is also trying to streamline its policies and procedures for rescue groups to pull from the pound, and implementing a low-cost spay/neuter voucher program that will take advantage of the NCDA&CS reimbursement program.

1The Granville pound uses a colored card system to mark the status of the pets. Yellow means the animal is past the hold period but not available for adoption. (The animal may or may not be available to rescue groups, at Ms. Hartley’s discretion). Volunteers are not allowed to walk, pet or interact with “yellow” pets. Pets with green cards are available for adoption. Volunteers may walk, pet and interact with those pets, and the “green” dogs are allowed to spend time occasionally in one of the outdoor pens. Back

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Adoptable Dog of the day: Sprocket

Sprocket in Sampson County pound

Save Sprocket from the Sampson County gas chamber.
ID #: 12-D0246; Age: 6m; Weight: 32 lbs; Sex: male; Date of Intake: 8-17-12
Sampson County Animal Shelter: (910) 592-8493 or lbaxter@sampsonnc.com
168 Agriculture Place, Clinton, NC. We are open for adoptions M-F 1-4 pm

Sprocket has been in the Sampson County pound for 27 days. He’s a medium-sized (32 lb.) something mix (he’s black, so everyone will say “lab”) with an awesome name. If he doesn’t get adopted or rescued, he will most likely be killed in the Sampson County gas chamber.

Sprocket has been described as “full of energy and ready to run!” He has $135 in pledges to an approved rescue, according to a post on the pound’s Facebook page.

The Sampson County pound is located at 168 Agriculture Place in Clinton, NC. They are open for adoptions only 15 hours a week, Monday through Friday from 1 to 4 pm, when most potential local adopters are at work. The adoption fee for dogs is $25, plus local adopters are required to purchase a spay/neuter voucher at the time of adoption. Vouchers are $55 for male dogs and $85 for female dogs. Non-local adopters are not required to purchase a spay/neuter voucher but are required to get the animal sterilized and provide proof of surgery to SCAS. More policies can be found here.

UPDATE: According to this post, Sprocket has been “reserved,” which appears to mean he will be going into rescue. Good for Sprocket!

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Adoptable pet(s) of the day: Star and Prada

Prada and Star are beautiful pit bulls in at the Bertie County pound in Windsor, NC. they have been at the pound for a year awaiting the settlement of an animal cruelty court case against their owner. Now they are free to be adopted, but they need to go to homes  outside of Bertie County because of breed-specific laws there.

Prada is a very calm, quiet and sweet adult female. She’s chocolate brown with white markings. She needs to be in a home with no cats. (Click a photo to see it larger.)

PradaPradaPrada

Star is an active young girl who loves affection. She’s chocolate brown with a constant tail wag. She has been at the shelter since she was 8 weeks old. (Click a photo to see it larger.)

StarStarStar

There is a video of Star wagging her tail and looking very cheerful at the Bertie County Humane Society Facebook page. (The BCHS is not the same as the Bertie County pound. The BCHS is a volunteer organization that runs a No Kill cat shelter and works with the Bertie County pound to photograph, advertise and try to place a dogs  at the county pound.)

If you are interested in Prada or Star, call the BCHS at 252-325-3647, and they will arrange for a volunteer to let you meet the dogs when it’s convenient for you (the pound apparently has no public adoption hours and the BCHS volunteers do all of the adoptions). The Bertie County pound is located at 217 County Farm Road, Windsor, NC, 27983.

The Bertie County pound killed 72 percent of the pets who came in in 2011.

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HSUS needs help figuring out how to get animals adopted (and other news from Surry County)

HSUS, the same group that bestowed awards on two of North Carolina’s worst pounds, is riding into Surry County on a white horse in the wake of  recent events.  “The state director of the Humane Society of the United States wants input from county residents on how to improve the number of animals being adopted at the local shelter.”

Here’s a clue: How about ACTUALLY PUTTING THE ANIMALS UP FOR ADOPTION? Because that’s usually the first step. And it’s one that the Surry County pound has had some trouble taking.

The Surry County Pound currently lists 5 dogs and no cats for adoption on its Petfinder page.

July 17, 2012 Surry County Animal Shelter on Petfinder

Today’s Petfinder listing for the Surry County pound.

I know from inspection reports that there are 38 primary enclosures and that at any given time the number of animals in the pound could range from 16-36 dogs and 10-17 cats. I called the Surry pound to ask how many animals are currently in the shelter, and the employee said at first that she didn’t know and that there was really no way for her to come up with a “visual estimate.”

“You mean, you don’t have that sort of thing written down somewhere?” I asked

Then I was told “that’s not a matter of public record.”

Really? the number of pets who are currently incarcerated in a taxpayer-funded animal shelter is “not a matter of public record?” When pressed on the point, the employee admitted that she did not know if she had to give me the information, saying “It’s not our responsibility to tell you.” When pressed further, she said she didn’t know if she is allowed to tell me.

So I asked who could tell me the information, and she told me to call the county commissioners. Sure, of course people who don’t work at the pound would know that information off the top of their heads. OK, so she was BSing me and putting me off … it’s pretty much exactly what I expected.

She did tell me that “the adoption center is full,” and there are 12 cages, and one cage has two puppies in it. So 13 dogs are currently up for adoption. She said they are taking their pictures and putting them on Petfinder “today.”   It would already be done if Surry pound director Gary Brown had not banned volunteer Wendy Willard, who was willing to photograph and promote their pets for free (he also banned photography by all other volunteers.)

Meanwhile, the Surry pound’s open hours for adoptions are Monday-Friday, 10 am-4 pm, when most of the world is at work. So here’s another tip: Open on evenings and weekends when people can bring their families to meet your adoptable pets. Hold offsite adoption events so people can see your pets without having to go to the pound.

Meanwhile, HSUS is having a meeting about “what you can do to improve the lives of animals in the Surry County community.” HSUS NC director Kimberley Alboum said, “Discussion will include techniques to get the community involved with the local animal shelter, and how to advocate for all animals in the community,”

Surry County residents already know “how to get involved” and advocate for animals. They don’t need HSUS to tell them. Willard and other advocates (many of whom maintain a Facebook page called Friends of Surry County Animal Shelter) have demonstrated this already by trying to volunteer at the shelter and publicize the (very few) pets made available for adoption.

But the reality, as demonstrated by the banning of Willard and all volunteer photography, is that Gary Brown doesn’t want anyone advocating for the animals in his animal shelter, which is paid for (as is his salary) with Surry County taxpayer money. Surry animal advocates don’t need the HSUS, what they need is a shelter director who is committed to protecting the shelter pets of Surry County and following a proven blueprint for lifesaving success at shelters across the country.

Meanwhile, Mayberry4Paws, a 150-member non-profit group, spoke to the Surry County Commission yesterday and offered to do the things Gary Brown is unwilling to do increase adoptions and decrease the killing at the Surry Pound. The group’s director, Rachel Hiatt, said M4P is willing to:

  • Organize and assist with adoption events.
  • Post photos of adoptable animals online.
  • Provide financial assistance to help pet owners spay and neuter animals to reduce the unwanted population.
  • Assist with grant writing to cover costs of shelter services.
  • Provide volunteers to help at the shelter.
  • Provide voucher applications to animal control officers for distribution to needy families.

“We stand ready and willing to help,” [Hiatt], looking directly at the board.

“It cost Surry County taxpayers almost a half-million dollars to kill over 4,000 pets in 2011,” Hiatt said, noting that the county doesn’t really need a new shelter currently being planned. “We need new and more effective procedures for running the animal department.”

She pointed out to the board that the definition of “insanity” is “repeating the same behaviors and expecting different outcomes.”

“It is time to change behaviors in the animal control department,” she said. “Please let us work with you to come up with plans for reducing intake and kill numbers and in turn, reduce the budget required for the animal control department.”

The response from county commissioners? “After weeks of remaining mum on the issue … the commissioners urged patience and said they are working on the problem.”

Surry County is a shining stinking example of why we need CAPA.

And hey, by the way, wasn’t the Surry Pound supposed to be reinspected by the NDCA&CS 60 days after it miserably failed an inspection on April 26? That means there should have been an inspection on Monday, June 25, 2012. So add to the fact that our current legislation is inadequate, it’s also poorly enforced.

Meanwhile, over in Pilot Mountain, the police department doesn’t want the strays it finds to end up in the Surry County pound and goes out of its way to keep them out. Here are two guys found on Saturday, currently living at the Pilot Mountain PD until they can find homes for them (vetting assistance available!):

Two fun dogs from Mt. Pilot

Two fun dogs from Mt. Pilot Pilot Mountain await new homes at the PMPD, which doesn’t want to subject them to a questionable fate at the Surry County Pound.

UPDATE! As of 6 pm today the staff of the Surry County Pound has managed to add AN ENTIRE DOG to their Petfinder page. Although, to be fair, he’s a very small dog (DOBBIE, a pomeranian/yorkie mix). At this rate, they will have the 13 current adoptables added on July 29, 2012.

New dog at Surry pound!

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