Tag Archives: Sampson County

Job Opening: Sampson County Animal Control Director

The following ad appeared in the Sampson Independent on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012:

Sampson County, NC, Animal Shelter Director

POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT
ANIMAL SHELTER DIRECTOR
Applications are now being accepted for the position of Animal Shelter Director. Responsible for the management of the county’s animal shelter operations, including, but not limited to ensuring shelter meets state regulatory standards with regard to humane housing and euthanasia; supervising animal control department staff; preparing and maintaining departmental budget and accurate records and reports; developing and overseeing volunteer, adoption and other public education programs. Applicants must have knowledge of the principles and practices of managing an animal facility with preference given to candidates with knowledge of veterinary best practices and those holding valid, current euthanasia certificate. Must be able to deal tactfully with the general public, cooperate effectively with other agencies, including law enforcement, and effectively manage staff and volunteers. Applicant should have high school diploma supplemented by 1 to 2 years experience involving contact with animals, or any equivalent combination of education and experience providing knowledge of laws and ordinances related to humane animal control, collection and care. Managerial and budgetary administration experience is desired. Possession of a valid NC driver’s license is required. Salary range $32,244- $48,348. Sampson County offers a complete benefit package, which includes County paid health and dental insurance, annual and sick leave, retirement and 401K County contributions. County application forms available at Employment Security Commission or online at http://www.sampsonnc.com. Submit completed application and/or resume to: Sampson County Manager’s Office, Att: Susan J. Holder, 406 County Complex Road, Clinton, NC 28328 by November 26, 2012.
SAMPSON COUNTY IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY/AFFIRMATIVE ACTION EMPLOYER.

The position is not, however, listed on the county’s website:
Sampson County NC seeks Animal Control Director 11/11/2012

Local observers have told me they believe the job description was written to fit Lori Baxter’s experience and that the decision to leave it off of the county’s website was to limit the number of applicants.

So with that in mind, please share this job opening far and wide among all the No Kill advocates you know.

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Filed under NC county/municipal pounds, Sampson County

Sampson County’s Lori Baxter: will she stay or will she go?

Sampson County officials announced that they are hoping to put a permanent director in charge of the county’s pound. The director’s position has been occupied since June by Lori Baxter, former director of the Robeson County pound, who was hired on as “interim manager.”

County manager Ed Causey said he hopes Baxter will stay on. Baxter has not communicated to county officials what she plans to do, but on Oct. 15 she posted to her Facebook page that she is “sick to death of people who pretend to be all about the animals while kicking the ones who really are making a difference. I think the end of the year shall see a change in my life … one that doesn’t include an animal shelter.”

That sounds a lot like a no. A source said Baxter later deleted that post.

Shortly after starting in the position last June she posted in a Facebook note (also since deleted) that she took the interim director job in part so she could get rid of the pound’s gas chamber:

A Note from Lori Baxter by Sampson County Animal Shelter on Sunday, 24 June 2012 at 22 :02 Many of you may be surprised that I've agreed to accept this Interim Director position due to the fact that Sampson County Animal Shelter is a gassing fadty. Make no mistake, I am horrfied at the thought and am 150% behind its complete and utter destruction. The chamber itself is part of the reason I accepted this position, so I can get rd of it! The term euthanasia meanS "good death," and the gas chambers method of killin companion animals is hardly a humane form of euthanasia. This is not tolerable on my watch. However, it still exists, for the moment, killing near to 2,000 a year. I have arranged for a grant to bury it, never to have it be used again but it will take a bit of time. It takes time to get a more humane form of euthanasia into place. It takes time to put together a new way of doing things, a better plan, for the safety of the people and the humane treatment of animals. Gassing pets is an abomination in this day and age and WILL be rectfied, if it's the last thing I do. In the meanwhile, I NEED YOUR HELP! I need these animals to go to rescue as quickly as possible to avoid the use of that death chamber. The staff here has been using it for years and as it has been the ONLY resource to make needed space. Its use will go on until l such time as things are in place for it to be buried along with the thousands killed within its walls. This sheiter didn't have a FB page until 2 days ago. There has been virtually no rescue involvement, no networking the animals and very few local adoptions. Basically, animals were brougt here to be gassed. We KNOW there is a better way! I KNOW that together, we CAN make a difference in Sampson County! I have the full support of the County Manager to terminate the use of the gas chamber as soon as we can get things in order. In the meantime,let's show this county what animal rescue is all about!!! Please help network as many as you can! Find fosters and contact rescue groups to get them OUT! Please cross-post far and wide! Tell everyone you know! Interested rescue groups should email lbaxter@sampsonnC.com to express interest in partnering with Sampson County Animal Sheler. Thank you so much for all you do for the animals! Lori Baxter

Note Posted on Facebook By Lori Baxter on June 24, 2012, and later deleted.

As of this writing, the gas chamber is still there. Previously, I wondered why it would take so long to switch kill methods from gas chamber to injection. I finally got the answer from Baxter herself after I emailed her requesting records. The Sampson County Pound is currently not licensed by the DEA and NC DHHS to possess the drugs necessary to kill by injection, and Baxter said it can take months to get the required inspection. (Currently all animals under 4 months old, elderly, pregnant or suffering from upper respiratory illness are sent to the pound’s vet to be killed by injection). Baxter told me that the inspection is now scheduled for the first week of November.

“I wish it wasn’t necessary to have an alternate method of euthanasia, but sadly it is,” Baxter said. Actually, it’s not. In fact, many public shelters across the country have switched almost overnight  to not killing at all, only performing euthanasia in its true meaning for the relief of irremediable suffering.  One example is the Seagoville, TX, Animal Shelter, which went No Kill on Jan 10, 2011, the day police Sgt. Karl Bailey took over as director. He turned his shelter’s gas chamber into an air- and watertight food storage cabinet.

Baxter could do the exact same thing herself by following a proven formula that’s currently working at open-admission animal shelters in at least 75 communities across the country. Of course, it involves doing things like expanding the shelter’s public hours to make it easier for community members to visit and adopt. One of the first things Baxter did as interim director was reduce adoption hours from 40 per week to 15 per week. The Sampson pound is not open at all on weekends or any weekdays after 4 pm, making it inaccessible to most working people.

So how much of a difference is Baxter making? Statistics she released following an open records request show that she has taken the Sampson County pound’s kill rate from an extremely high to very high. Partial-year statistics for 2012 show that Sampson’s live-outcome rate, as of the end of September, was just around 77 percent, down from almost 89 percent in 2011. It’s an improvement, but it puts her kill rate right around that of the Granville County pound in 2011, and their director isn’t even a fan of making animals available for adoption.

Sampson County Animal Shelter Outcomes 2011-2012

This is a good time for Sampson County residents to contact County Manager Edwin Causey and tell him how finding a director who will implement the No Kill Equation can transform his community without draining his budget. Residents can also schedule “Citizen/Commissioners Conferences”  to meet with one or two representatives of the county Board of Commissioners and appropriate county staff members on the third Monday of each month immediately preceding the Board’s regularly scheduled meeting. Conferences must be scheduled in advance by calling the Office of the County Manager: (910) 592-6308.

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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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Down the memory hole in Sampson County

A couple of weeks ago, Lori Baxter, the interim director of the Sampson County pound, vowed to bury that facility’s gas chamber. Well someday, maybe, after she figures out another way to kill the animals. Because if you people don’t come take all the animals out, you will force her to kill them because they are taking up the precious space in her shelter:

Baxter needs space

The other day I visited the Sampson pound’s Facebook page to see how she was doing in the effort to ditch the gas chamber. I didn’t see any celebratory posts, so I went looking for the original note in case the good news was buried in a comment. I couldn’t find it. Just to be sure, I clicked the link in my earlier post.

This Content Is Currently Unavailable

Poof! Vanished is Lori Baxter’s vow to bury the gas chamber.

Good thing I had thought ahead and made a screen shot of it.

A Note from Lori Baxter by Sampson County Animal Shelter on SUnday, 24 June 2012 at 22 :02 Many of you may be surprised that I've agreed to accept this Interim Director position due to the fact that Sampson County Animal Shelter is a gassing fadty. Make no mistake, I am horrfied at the thought and am 150% behind its complete and utter destruction. The chamber itself is part of the reason I accepted this position, so I can get rd of it! The term euthanasia meanS "good death," and the gas chambers method of killin companion animals is hardly a humane form of euthanasia. This is not tolerable on my watch. However, it still exists, for the moment, killing near to 2,000 a year. I have arranged for a grant to bury it, never to have it be used again but it will take a bit of time. It takes time to get a more humane form of euthanasia into place. It takes time to put together a new way of doing things, a better plan, for the safety of the people and the humane treatment of animals. Gassing pets is an abomination in this day and age and WILL be rectfied, if it's the last thing I do. In the meanwhile, I NEED YOUR HELP! I need these animals to go to rescue as quickly as possible to avoid the use of that death chamber. The staff here has been using it for years and as it has been the ONLY resource to make needed space. Its use will go on until l such time as things are in place for it to be buried along with the thousands killed within its walls. This sheiter didn't have a FB page until 2 days ago. There has been virtually no rescue involvement, no networking the animals and very few local adoptions. Basically, animals were brougt here to be gassed. We KNOW there is a better way! I KNOW that together, we CAN make a difference in Sampson County! I have the full support of the County Manager to terminate the use of the gas chamber as soon as we can get things in order. In the meantime,let's show this county what animal rescue is all about!!! Please help network as many as you can! Find fosters and contact rescue groups to get them OUT! Please cross-post far and wide! Tell everyone you know! Interested rescue groups should email lbaxter@sampsonnC.com to express interest in partnering with Sampson County Animal Sheler. Thank you so much for all you do for the animals! Lori Baxter

Note Posted on Facebook By Lori Baxter on June 24, 2012, and deleted later.

Maybe the note vanished because she achieved the objective. It’s possible. (I mean, how long can it possibly take to get some syringes and Fatal-Plus shipped in?) So I posted to the Facebook page, asking if the gas chamber had been buried yet.

Poof. That went down the memory hole as well.

So, what’s happened to Lori Baxter’s vow to end the gassing of pets “if it’s the last thing I do”? Did she have her fingers crossed behind her back when she wrote that note? Maybe she figured saying “if it’s the last thing I do” gave her until the end of her natural lifetime to complete the task?

Meanwhile, animals are being gassed so that Lori Baxter can have space. Because her dream is to have rows of empty cages …

Lori Baxter sees her job as emptying cages, not saving animals

Lori Baxter sees her job as emptying cages, not saving animals

But judging by her actions as director at the Robeson County pound, she doesn’t care how she gets them. The Robeson pound killed 61 percent of the animals that came in during 2011, with a policy of maintaining half of the kennels empty at all times. Space is so important to Lori Baxter that she routinely chose death for dogs even when there was plenty of room for them to stay in the shelter.

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Filed under gas chamber, NC county/municipal pounds, Sampson County

New interim director at Sampson County pound aims to “bury” gas chamber and kill the modern way.

Lori Baxter, former director at the  Robeson County pound, started a new job last Friday as Interim Director of the Sampson County pound. The county hired Baxter as part of an “image makeover” for their pound, known according to at least one observer, as “the killing place.” Exactly how killing of a killing place is a mystery, however, because former director Kim Williams never bothered to report the Sampson pound’s outcome statistics to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services as mandated by law.

Baxter is said by some, including herself, to have “turned around” the horrid Robeson County pound. Some might argue that point, however. Baxter did succeed somewhat in reforming the Robeson pound’s image among kill shelter apologists, despite a high kill rate while kennels sat empty and repeated distemper outbreaks due to failure to vaccinate  animals upon arrival.

Baxter has started the Sampson image rehab program by creating a Facebook page for the pound and then boldly announcing that she is going to literally bury the Sampson pound’s gas chamber. [Update: the Facebook note that link went to has since been deleted since this entry was posted. But never fear, I was thinking ahead and made a screenshot.]

Make no mistake, the gas chamber is a barbaric instrument and has no place in any facility, period. It is a throwback to a less civilized time when it was introduced  by humane societies as an improvement over far more brutal ways of killing animals. As Nathan Winograd notes in Irreconcilable Differences

They introduced the gas chamber to replace slower and more painful ways of killing. (It should be noted that by current standards, there is no real debate about the gas chamber being inhumane. But in the 19th century, activists viewed this as a better alternative than drowning, shooting, and at least in Philadelphia, beating the dogs to death in the public squares.)

Getting rid of gas chambers in NC is without a doubt something that needs to be done without delay.

But hold your horses, it’s still going to wait. Baxter is holding on to her gas chamber until she is sure she has access to some other way to kill pets. “It takes time to get a more humane form of euthanasia into place.” Heaven forbid she should be forced not to kill animals until the Fatal Plus arrives.

Another of Baxter’s first actions as director was to “adjust” the shelter’s open hours to afternoons only,  limiting visitation and adoption hours to 1-4 pm Monday through Friday, “a move made toward better customer service and to bring the local shelter in line with those from surrounding counties.” Thanks to Google’s cache feature, we can see that the Sampson pound used to advertise  open hours of  9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday, which means that Baxter has reduced by 62% the opportunity for people in the community to choose shelter adoption when they want to add a pet to the family.

Former open hours of the Sampson County Animal Shelter

A screenshot of a page cached on may 4, 2012 shows that the Sampson County pound advertised open hours of 9 am to 5 pm Monday Through Friday. new Interim Director Lori Baxter has “improved” customer service by providing fewer hours for the public to view or adopt pets.

Quite simply, Lori Baxter has cooked up a recipe for reduced adoptions and increased killing. She calls the gas chamber  the “ONLY resource to make needed space,” which she seems to feel is her job at the shelter. Not protecting animals or saving their lives. Making space. And her preferred method of doing that seems to be killing. (To be fair, she is also begging rescues to take the animals out of her pound, but that is only one tiny step of the only program proven to produce lifesaving success.)

Regardless of what method is used to exterminate the pets, it’s indefensible. To quote Nathan Winograd again:

Even if we were simply to surrender reality and conclude that killing savable animals cannot be ended, killing animals would still not be ethical, merciful, or defensible. Animal lovers would still be morally bound to reject it. Any “practical” or utilitarian consideration about killing cannot hold sway over an animal’s right to live. Just as other social movements reject the “practical” when it violates the rights of individuals for which they advocate, we, too, should reject the idea that killing animals is acceptable because of the claim that there are “too many” for the “too few homes which are available.” Simply put killing healthy or treatable animals is immoral.

UPDATE: Immediately after posting this, I saw that YesBiscuit had published an amazingly appropriate post called “Ending the Killing of Shelter Pets TODAY.” It’s perhaps the perfect thing to read next. Or at least ponder this excerpt:

It is astounding to me that many advocates are willing to accept the misery and chaos of desperately working to save animals from kill rooms at shelters every day yet reject the idea that shelters could simply stop the killing.  I understand that change can be daunting but really, how bad could it possibly be?  The bar has already been set for many rescuers at misery and chaos, anything above that should be a welcome change.

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Filed under gas chamber, NC county/municipal pounds, Robeson County, Sampson County