Category Archives: CAPA

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

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 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.


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

Why North Carolina needs a Companion Animal Protection Act

When people think of animal shelters, they have an idea that animals are killed there, but usually they think it’s only after the shelter staff made a good-faith effort to find the pet a new home. That’s what they do at a shelter, right? Well, not in Montgomery County, NC, where they kill 99% of the pets that come in, making no effort to promote them for adoption. (Montgomery County pound adopted out just 12 dogs out of the 1,199 dogs and cats that came in during 2011.)

Animal shelters in North Carolina play by their own rules for the most part. There is an Animal Welfare Statute that mandates licensing and inspection of shelters. There is an administrative code that’s primarily concerned with structures, sanitation and record keeping, but does not mandate that shelters or their employees try to save the lives of the animals they are supposed to be “sheltering.”

These examples (and many more that I cannot publish here because the volunteers and rescuers who shared the stories are afraid they will be banned for speaking out) illustrate why North Carolina needs a Companion Animal Protection Act.

A growing number of communities across the country are demonstrating that it’s possible to save all but the most hoplesssly ill, injured or vicious animals that come into shelters. These shelters and communities have leaders committed to running shelters consistent with the programs and services that turn them into safe places for animals to be reunited with families or adopted into new ones. Basically, they are committed to following a blueprint for success.

In North Carolina, however, most of our shelters are reliant on killing, following the same roadmap to failure that has resulted in high kill rates for years. Meanwhile, they manage to convince the public that “there is no other way.” There is no accountability or oversight, and whether an animal lives or dies is often subject to the caprice of a director or staff member.

Rather than letting the fates of our shelter animals be subject to whim and personality, our shelter pets need to be afforded protections by law. We need regulations over shelters similar to those that govern hospitals and other agencies which hold the power over life and death:  a Companion Animal Protection Act.

A CAPA law would:

— Establish the shelter’s primary role as saving the lives of animals
— Declare that saving lives and protecting public safety are compatible
— Establish a definition of No Kill that includes all savable animals including feral cats
— Protect rabbits and other animals, as well as dogs and cats
— Require shelters to spay/neuter animals before adoption
— Make it illegal for a shelter to kill an animal if a rescue group or No Kill shelter is willing to save that animal
— Require shelters to provide animals with fresh food, fresh water, environmental enrichment, exercise, veterinary care, and cleanliness
— Require shelters to have fully functioning adoption programs including offsite adoptions, use of the internet to promote their animals, and further mandate that animal control be open seven days per week for adoption
— Prohibit shelters from killing animals based on arbitrary criteria such as breed bans or when alternatives to killing exist
— Require animal control to allow volunteers to help with fostering, socializing, and assisting with adoptions
— Ban the use of the gas chamber
— Require shelters to be truthful about how many animals they kill and adopt
— Require shelters to notify people surrendering animals about the likelihood their animal will be killed
— Provide free spay/neuter for all feral cats and for the pets of qualified low income households
–Allow citizens to sue the shelter and compel compliance if shelters fail to do so

A statewide CAPA is clearly needed in NC, but while we are working on that, advocates can work to pass similar versions affecting their own shelter at the local level.

For a PDF CAPA brochure suitable for printing or sending to officials and legislators, click here. For the full text of a model CAPA law, click here. More resources on advocating for CAPA can be found here.


Filed under CAPA, gas chamber, No Kill