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.
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 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!