Tag Archives: Person County Animal Shelter

What is your county’s “rabies alert area” policy?

NC statutes specify that  an animal control or peace officer can, after reasonable effort has been made to apprehend animals who run uncontrolled in areas under rabies quarantine the animals, “destroy” those animals “and properly dispose of their bodies.” In Person County, they interpret this to mean that they can and should kill all the pets that they apprehend from such areas, even if there is no evidence the pet had any contact with a rabid animal.

When a case of rabies is confirmed in Person County, the area is declared under “rabies alert” for the next six months. Per the Person County animal ordinance, animals from rabies alert areas “will not be adoptable for a period of six (6) months, unless that animal has been vaccinated against rabies prior to custody at the shelter.”

So Person County pound policy is to kill them, even if they are too young to be vaccinated for rabies and have never been at-large or in a situation likely to expose them to rabies. Such as, for example, the 6- to 8-week-old puppies pictured below, who were surrendered by owners who happened to live in Flat River Township. That area is under a “rabies alert” until July 2013 because a rabid raccoon was found there in December 2012. The puppies pictured were all killed on Feb. 13, 2013.

Puppies killed at Person County pound

These 6 to 8-week-old owner-surrendered shepherd mix pups were killed at the Person County pound on Feb. 13, 2013, without being made available for adoption because the surrendering owners happened to live in a township where a rabid raccoon had been found two months previously.

Puppies need to be 12 to 16 weeks old before they can be vaccinated against rabies. Since the Person County pound refuses to release animals from “rabies alert” areas without proof of vaccination, the policy is an automatic death sentence for puppies. And it’s a death sentence for most of the other pets picked up from the quarantine area as well. In 2012, Person County pound employees killed 86 cats and 28 dogs because they came from a rabies alert area. Below are just a few of the dogs killed during the past year by Person County Animal Services as a result of the rabies alert area policy.

Does your county have a policy for pets that come in from a “rabies alert” or quarantine zone? If you know, please post it in a comment. If you don’t know, you can find out by filing a public records request. (You can read more about North Carolina’s open government laws here.)

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Filed under NC county/municipal pounds, Person County, Rabies

Sampson pound gets grant to stop using gas chamber

The Sampson County commission voted to accept $16,000 in grant money for its animal shelter this week , including $7,000 from the Humane Society of the United States to “phase out” the use of its gas chamber. The rest of the grant money is from the Petfinder Foundation to fund kennel cough  and FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia) vaccine programs.

The terms of the HSUS grant stipulate that the county must “phase out the use of the gas chamber in six months from receipt of the $7,000.” Any surplus funds are to be used for shelter repair or upgrades or “animal enrichment.” Previous Interim Director Lori Baxter had announced last June on the pound’s Facebook page that she was applying for a grant to “bury” the gas chamber, but there doesn’t appear to be any stipulation in the HSUS grant about dismantling or removing the gas chamber so that it can’t be used again at some future time.

This is an important step because the Sampson gas chamber had been taken out of service previously after many problems with faulty seals and leakage. The issues became widely known in 2004 following an incident in which four puppies who did not die after being put into the leaky gas chamber were  adopted by Teresa Stewart of  Roseboro, who had no idea they had been gassed. All four puppies subsequently died, and the truth came out after Stewart complained publicly.

The gas chamber was taken out of service, but after a new pound was built, the gas chamber was moved there and put back into service by Assistant County Manager Susan Holder, who was then serving as interim shelter director.

There have been several recent announcements regarding county pound gas chambers in NC. The Johnston County pound announced in December that they will reduce gas chamber use, reserving it for “vicious” animals.

The Vance County pound is reportedly eliminating the use of their gas chamber. According to an email newsletter sent to certain rescue groups by HSUS NC director Kim Alboum, Vance County “made the commitment to eliminate the use of the gas chamber as a form of euthanasia.” She doesn’t mention that they received a grant, but a Facebook post by the Vance County SPCA reports that they did. (Commenters on that post claim that the chamber will be retained for use on wildlife.)

The Person County pound, which had stopped most use of its gas chamber in October, removed it from the premises last week, according to a news article cited by the NC Shelter Rescue Blog. Person County Manager Heidi York said the unit was removed “to assure the public that it is no longer in use.”

The demise of the Person County Gas chamber came about partly because of public pressure. Person pound director Ron Shaw was quoted on CNN as saying “The gas chamber’s not cruel, but animal activists don’t agree with it. And I’m fed up with dealing with it.”

The pressure needs to continue until the other gas chambers are dismantled and removed. Advocates can email Johnston County Manager Rick HesterSampson County Manager Ed Causey and Vance County Manager Jerry L. Ayscue and ask them to completely remove the gas chambers from their pounds.

Advocates can also email Person County Manager Heidi York to thank her for getting rid of the gas chamber and ask her to continue the path toward progress and civilized treatment of animals by encouraging shelter staff to implement the  lifesaving programs of the No Kill Equation.

In other Sampson County news, new pound director Alan Canady started work this week. One change he may consider is actually opening the facility during hours that are favorable to increasing adoptions.  “There are certain processes that we can do where we can possibly open earlier and maybe stay open a little bit later,” he said. The shelter’s current hours, established by Canady’s predecessor Lori Baxter, are 1-4 pm weekdays.

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January 10, 2013 · 10:22 pm

Person County announces early end to gas chamber

Person County sent out a news release announcing that they have officially ended the use of the gas chamber at the county pound, nine months ahead of their projected “phase out” date of July 2013.

Person County Manager Heidi York had said previously that they would still be using the gas chamber for “very sick wildlife and overly vicious animals.”

Ending the barbaric use of the gas chamber is a laudable step, but the fact remains that Person County pound staff are still killing healthy and treatable pets. So when you contact County Manager Heidi York or pound Director Ron Shaw to thank them for making shelter pets’ deaths less brutal, please be sure to let them know that the No Kill Equation is a cost-effective way to end the needless killing.

Person County has also changed the department’s name from Animal Control to Animal Services, and will soon be participating in a spay/neuter matching grant program.

PCAS has taken another positive step by now posting its outcome statistics online. Although the 2012 ones are rather depressing, especially the part where they killed 115 kittens and 21 puppies simply because they were unweaned, and killed 104 cats and dogs just because they were picked up in a “rabies alert area.”

I have put these stats into a spreadsheet and calculated the rates: cat kill rate so far in 2012 is a horrible 91.8 percent, which is worse than last year’s 89.4 percent; dog kill rate is 38.14 percent, down slightly from last year’s 46.84%; overall kill rate is 67.43 percent, which is almost exactly the same as 2011 (67.71 percent.).

I pulled out two particular numbers because I find them rather revealing: the dog adoption rate is almost 13 percent, while the transfer-to-rescue rate is almost 37 percent. Most of the dogs who are getting out alive can thank rescue groups, who used to have to fight for access. Rhonda Beach of  Chance’s Angel Rescue & Education told Kim Kavin, author of Little Boy Blue: A Puppy’s Rescue from Death Row and His Owner’s Journey for Truth that when she first tried to save dogs from the Person County pound’s gas chamber she was unceremoniously turned away. “I had to fight for two years to get the right to go in and save a lot of dogs who were very adoptable,” Beach said.

But PCAS has begun making efforts toward increasing adoptions as well, using its Facebook page to promote adoptable pets and to post newly arrived animals in hopes of increasing owner reclaims. They have also started holding offsite adoption events at Tractor Supply.

I’m not sure what pastry carries the message “Thanks for becoming less crappy,” (cinnamon rolls, perhaps?) but if you decide to take some to PCAS, please remember to include copies of “No Kill 101,” “Dollars and Sense” and the Cliff Notes version of Redemption. They have moved forward because of pressure from the animal loving public. Why not keep them going in the right direction?

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Filed under gas chamber, Person County, Uncategorized

Adoptable pet of the day: Senior bichon girl in Person County pound

Senior Bichon in Person County Pound

This 12-year-old girl, let’s call her “Tilly,” needs out of the Person County pound ASAP. Email rhonda.beach@yahoo.com if you can help.

I don’t know the name of this little bichon frise in the Person County pound, but every dog needs a name so I will call her “Tilly.”

Tilly is estimated to be about 12 years old, and she needs a rescue or adopter soon.

If you can help Tilly, email Ronda Beach at rhonda.beach@yahoo.com.

CORRECTION: Tilly could be a poodle. I have no idea … she’s a little old fluffy white dog who needs out of that pound is all I know.

UPDATE: Tilly is safe and in foster care!

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Filed under Adoptable pet, Person County

Person County AC Director Ron Shaw shares the secret to reforming pound

Little Boy BlueI’m in the middle of (well,  33 percent through, according to my Kindle) a new book that exposes the underbelly of the “shelter” system in the US and the horrors of the gas chamber. I intend to write about it when I’m done, but for now I’ll just say that even if you’ve been making it your business to know the realities, Little Boy Blue by Kim Kavin seems worth a read.

What does this have to do with Ron Shaw? The Person County Animal Control director makes an appearance in the book, because Blue was rescued from his pound in 2010.

This interview, which aired on CNN Saturday morning, prominently features a quote from Ron Shaw about the planned “phase-out” of the Person County Gas chamber:

The gas chamber’s not cruel, but animal activists don’t agree with it. And I’m fed up with dealing with it.

Animal advocates also don’t agree with killing healthy and treatable shelter pets when the No Kill Equation is a proven way to stop it. Gosh, I wonder what it takes to get Ron Shaw “fed up” enough to embrace programs that will end the killing? Animal advocates who would like to (politely and respectfully) share their views (and maybe some good reading) with Mr. Shaw can use the following contact information:
Phone:(336) 597-1741
Fax:(336) 597-3319
E-mail: rshaw@personcounty.net
2103 Chub Lake Road
Roxboro, NC 27574

You may as well include Person County Manager Heidi York and the county commissioners in the conversation as well. Heck, send ‘em all cupcakes!

If you’d like to know more about Little Boy Blue but don’t want to wait for me to finish reading it, you can read some Amazon reviews.

And if you’re near Person County and would like to help Chance’s Angel Rescue and Education, one of the groups that pulls from the Person County pound (run by Rhonda Beach, the woman who actually pulled Blue), you can attend Concert for A Cause Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, at Mayo Park Amphitheatre in Roxboro starting at 3 pm.

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Filed under gas chamber, Person County

Person County updates: gas chamber to be “phased out,” pound employee reassigned

Person County Manager Heidi York announced plans to phase out the gas chamber between now and July 2013 according to an article in the Roxboro Courier-Times (print edition only). This is definitely a step in the right direction, because the gas chamber is barbaric by any standards. of course the shelter will still kill pets, of course (67 percent of those who come in, if their 2011 numbers are any indication of future rates), but after the phase-out all but “very sick wildlife and overly vicious animals” will die by lethal injection.

The employee involved in the case of Justice the shih tzu has been reassigned to another county job and will no longer work at the Person County pound.*

According to a source who has spoken to Heidi York, Ms. York has invited the Humane Society of the United States to meet with her with the goal of improving relations with rescues and community. HSUS is the same group that bestowed awards on two of NC’s highest-killing, gas chamber pounds, so it’s likely they’ll come in, give the old thumbs up and shake a few hands. Animal advocates who would like to urge Ms. York to consider the No Kill Equation or perhaps invite someone like Nathan Winograd to visit can reach her at hyork@personcounty.net or (336) 597-1720.

*Because the person in question has been removed from working at the Person County pound, I have chosen not to continue publishing her name and have removed it from previous posts and comments. That will not, of course, remove it from public record or the rest of the internet, and anyone who wants to find it will. Many will disagree with this decision, but the purpose of FixNC is to make shelters safe places for pets in need, not to promote vindictiveness against people.

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Filed under gas chamber, Person County

Justice/Person County update: Employee suspended.

Update on the case of Justice, the shih tzu hosed off in the Person County pound: This was in today’s Courier-Times (Roxboro,NC). The article itself is behind a paywall. (Here is a link to it for anyone who actually subscribes.)

Courier-Times screen shot

County animal control employee suspended with pay pending outcome of cruelty investigation: An employee at the Person County Animal Control Shelter has been placed on non-disciplinary suspension pending the outcome of an investigation into possible animal cruelty.

I will update with more information when I have it.

For those who would like to speak or write to Person County officials about the incident or any experiences you may have had with [the employee]*, contact County Manager Heidi York or the Person County Commissioners. Many people have posted of their experiences in the comments or emailed me privately, but the only way to see justice for Justice is to speak out to the people who need to know this information.

NOTE ON COMMENTS: I am removing, editing or not approving comments that make threats or call for retribution on anyone. The purpose of FixNC is not to exact retribution on individuals, it’s to reform the shelters of North Carolina and make them safe places for pets who need homes. Yes, some people should be fired, in shelters all over the state. Lots of them, actually. But to call for harm to another person is unacceptable and does nothing to protect the shelter pets in North Carolina. I’m also editing certain language, and I’ve just about had enough of disrespectful, insulting comments, so I’m starting to crack down on those as well.

*UPDATE: Because the person in question has since been removed from working at the Person County pound, I have chosen not to continue publishing her name and have removed it from previous posts and comments (in most cases it has been replaced by [the employee] or [employee]). That will not, of course, remove it from public record or the rest of the internet, and anyone who wants to find it will. Many will disagree with this decision, but the purpose of FixNC is to make shelters safe places for pets in need, not to promote vindictiveness against people.

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Filed under cruelty, Person County

Shih tzu with parvo gets the hose at Person County pound

UPDATES: Person County enlists “Dr. Death” to clear pound worker of wrongdoing; Pound employee reassigned.

Shih tzu in Person County pound

This two-year-old Shih tzu suffering from parvo in the Person County, NC, pound was sprayed with cold hose water by a pound employee and and then left to sit shivering in the puddle (left). The photo on the right was taken at the vet’s office, where the sick little dog is still fighting for his life.

An employee of the Person County, NC, pound last night sprayed a two-year-old male Shih-Tzu, sick and feverish with parvo, with cold water from a hose because he had bloody diarrhea on him and he stank. Then she left the dog soaking wet and trembling in the puddle of cold water.

That’s how he was found by a rescuer who arrived after being called to pull a dog who was very sick and needed immediate veterinary care. The dog was taken directly to a vet, where they were unable to measure his body temperature, which means it had dropped below 92 degrees. The cold water hose had shocked the poor little guy’s already very fragile system.

It’s hard to even imagine what the employee, who worked as the the adoption agent/volunteer coordinator*,  was thinking before spraying a feverish, clearly very ill dog with cold water. Was it deliberate cruelty, or was it just the nonchalant, negligent disregard that comes from being immersed in a culture of killing, where pets are just “work” and not seen as thinking, feeling beings? What’s one more animal suffering and dying when Person County feeds 1,573 of them through its gas chamber over the course of a year, a rate of roughly 30 animals per week?

It’s a very sad irony that, as Nathan Winograd has observed, “For many animals, the first time they experience neglect or cruelty is at the ‘shelter’ that is supposed to protect them from it.” Indeed, if a private citizen were to hose down a sick family pet with cold water and send it into shock, it would be considered cruelty and he or she would be reviled and possibly face criminal charges. Yet somehow, the Person County Animal “Shelter” employee thought it was within the scope of her job of  “sheltering” animals to inflict such suffering on a small, scared and sick dog.

Is this sort of thing business as usual at the Person County pound? Perhaps not, but at many pounds it is. And although rescuers and volunteers see it all the time, they rarely speak up because they are afraid they will be banned from helping the animals or getting them out alive.

In this case, courageous rescuer Jen Whaley of Sheltered Hearts Animal Rescue and Education decided this abuse should be known. She took the photos, pulled the dog and got him to the vet and then shared his story.

As for the little shih tzu, he is now fighting for his life under veterinary care.

UPDATE 7/13/12, 7:08 pm: Unfortunately, the shih tzu, who was named “Justice” in his last hours by rescuer Jen Whaley, didn’t win the fight for his life. He died earlier this afternoon.

NOTE ON COMMENTS: I am removing, editing or not approving comments that call for doing any harm to people. The purpose of FixNC is not to exact retribution on individuals, it’s to reform the shelters of North Carolina and make them safe places for pets who need homes. Yes, some people should be fired, in shelters all over the state. Lots of them, actually. But to call for bodily harm to another person is unacceptable and does nothing to protect the shelter pets in North Carolina.

AND ANOTHER NOTE ON COMMENTS: Comments on this article are now closed because moderating them has become a full-time job. If you think you have something important to add, you can write to me at crashtestmoonpie (at) gmail (dot) com. I may or may not reply.

*Because the person in question has been removed from working at the Person County pound, I have chosen not to continue publishing her name and have removed it from previous posts and comments (in most cases it has been replaced by [the employee] or [employee]). That will not, of course, remove it from public record or the rest of the internet, and anyone who wants to find it will. Many will disagree with this decision, but the purpose of FixNC is to make shelters safe places for pets in need, not to promote vindictiveness against people.

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Filed under Parvo, Person County