Burlington Animal Services Oops-Kills Dog who had Adopter Waiting

A pit bull mix who had been held at Burlington Animal Services for six days, while a family who wanted to adopt him called repeatedly to ask about him, was oops-killed by a pound employee on Jan. 15. Brand-new pound director Jessica Arias, who started the job last month with “big ideas and hopes to improve the lives of animals here,” said that the oops-kill was caused by an employee who didn’t follow policies and that the policies would be reviewed.

The pit-bull, Si, didn’t even need to be in the Burlington pound to begin with. On Jan. 6 he had shown upon the porch of the Lassiters, the family who desperately wanted to adopt him, soaking wet and covered in what looked like paintball paint. The Lassiters took him in,  and Si fit right in with their dogs and kids. The Lassiters posted lost dog notices but no owner came forward.

Three days later, Si wandered from their yard, but Michelle Lassiter quickly discovered him inside an animal control truck parked by her neighbors’ house. She asked the officer if she could have Si back and he refused, taking poor Si to the pound.

Alamance Sheriff’s Lt. Mike Hoover said it’s their policy to take found and stray dogs to the shelter to allow original owners to find them. But state law says that it’s perfectly OK for pounds to allow pets to serve their stray holds in the home of the person who found them:

 G.S. 19A-23 Section 2 (d) (d)   During the minimum holding period, an animal shelter may place an animal it is holding into foster care by transferring possession of the animal to an approved foster care provider, an approved rescue organization, or the person who found the animal. If an animal shelter transfers possession of an animal under this subsection, at least one photograph depicting the head and face of the animal shall be displayed at the shelter in a conspicuous location that is available to the general public during hours of operation, and that photograph shall remain posted until the animal is disposed of as provided in subsection (f) of this section.

So Si could have stayed in his comfortable, loving home, the pound could have posted his photo in case his previous owners came looking, and Si could now be still alive.

Instead, Si was taken to one place where animals are least safe in Alamance County: Burlington Animal Services, which killed 72.53% of the dogs and cats who came in during 2012 (up from 70.9% in 2011). So basically, it’s a killing facility.

When Michelle Lassiter finally tracked Si down at the Burlington killing facility, staff were rude and seemed lacking in compassion, she said. And even though she had been denied the right to keep Si because he wasn’t officially her dog, they now told her that the family could only have him if she pay the standard $25 impound fee plus $5 for each additional day he was imprisoned. When the Lassiters were ready to pay that, staff then said Si couldn’t be released without documentation of his rabies shot or payment of a $50 fine.

The Lassiters were given another three days. Their family vet agreed to vaccinate Si at a reduced rate. In the meantime, Lassiter was busy acquiring kennels and dog beds for Si.

She called Wednesday to make sure there wasn’t anything else she needed to do before they picked him up and was told Si had been put down earlier that day.

One could be forgiven for thinking that the staff of Burlington Animal “Services” were bound and determined to prevent Si from leaving alive. Oh, but nobody wants to kill animals …

BAS is the same pound where, more than a year ago, staff killed a cat who had an adopter literally begging to save him.


Filed under "Nobody WANTS to kill animals ...", Alamance County, Burlington Animal Services

9 responses to “Burlington Animal Services Oops-Kills Dog who had Adopter Waiting

  1. martha

    I live in Alamance county. this is not unusual. staff is unfriendly and seem to care less. we’ve rescued animals out of there to transport to rescue and they were terribly injured with broken legs and such and the staff would just drag the animal out.
    there are only a couple of compassionate and, sorry to say, competent employees there. we have tried. our voices are ignored or completely turned away “if any negative comments”. just like many of the shelters across the state. this is not an isolated incident and, to be honest, I wonder if there are not purposeful “oops kills” when staff wants to as nothing changes, they just “review policy”. no firings, no penalties, and repeat incidents.

  2. Mary Douglas

    This is intolerable!! These county run pounds are funded by taxpayer and should be held accountable by Alamance county residents who pay the staff salaries. Thank you for bringing this to light. People have to demand better service and response from county employees, esp when lives are on the line.

  3. lynn

    Makes me sick! People who don’t love animals and have no people skills have no business working at an animal shelter! So sorry for Si and the family that tried to save him!

  4. Reblogged this on Sherlockian's Blog and commented:
    Shame on Burlington Animal Services.

  5. Grrrrrrowl! Stupidity at its worst!

  6. You get what you pay for – counties tend to do thinks on the cheap when revenue from the taxpayers is insufficient. You don’t often get the best, most compassionate people willing to work in shelters for low wages. Counties often economize in the way that dispatches unwanted animals – the gas chamber being cheaper because staff doesn’t need the same training as those who do more “humane” forms of euthanasia. “Follow the money” (or lack of it), as they say.

  7. In regards to all this, may God have mercy on us human ingratitudes!!! May he forgive us our sin of murder and the slaughter by the millions!!
    In the so called land based on God fearing God loving people, over 10 million animals are killed at shelters for. as the term goes the unwanted. Animals noone wants to adopt, animals abandoned for stupid reasons as my boyfriend x y z, or my career has changed or the dog got too big or the dog barks or i just got divorced etc etc etc.
    Those in power are using Gestapo like methods like Hitler. Both Jewish n Polish descendants can attest to the tactics used to kill all deemed inferior or not to x y z standards. Hitler had the Final Solution

  8. lori@outofourmindsstudios.com

    Here is a great link for you to run with! Florida has introduced this bill.  Please check it out!  There is a link to a model bill for all states!  We need to adopt this all over the country!  http://www.nokilladvocacycenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/lobbying.pdf

  9. Gail Palandro

    These types of mistakes should NEVER happen. These are lives at stake and killing them is forever. Do your job and prevent this from ever happening again. I hope this dog didnt die in vain.

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