Tag Archives: Animal control officer

Beating and killing your own dog isn’t considered cruelty in Ashe County

Even though the names of the private citizens involved in this story are a matter of public record, I’m leaving them out. If you must know them, send a public records request to the Ashe County Manager. I will name the dog, however: she was a pit bull named Bullet.

In North Carolina, it is a Class H felony to “maliciously torture, mutilate, maim, cruelly beat, disfigure, poison, or kill, or cause or procure to be tortured, mutilated, maimed, cruelly beaten, disfigured, poisoned, or killed, any animal.”

So, if someone reports that they heard their neighbor beat his dog, heard the dog crying and yelping as if in great pain and then heard gunshots that ended the crying and yelping, do you think local law enforcement should perhaps at least investigate whether felony animal cruelty occurred?

If you said  yes, I hope you don’t live in Ashe County, NC, because you would be very disappointed. No one seems to have told the folks in charge there that cruelly beating and killing a dog is a felony in the state of North Carolina. They all still seem to think that if a dog is your property, you can do whatever you want with her.

Sometime in September*, an Ashe County resident called the sheriff’s communications center to report that her neighbor had horribly beaten and killed his dog after the dog had killed her Yorkie. According to an email from a sheriff’s captain to County Manager Pat Mitchell, “neighbors and their children could hear dog crying and yelping and heard the beating” before the man shot and killed the dog.

Took it home and beat it really bad. Neighbors and their children could hear dog crying and yelping and heard the beating.

The comm center referred the call to Animal Control, where it was handled by ACO Dana Shatley. According to an email from Animal Control Director Joe Testerman to Dr. Mitchell, the ACO  “explained that Mr. ___ did have a legal right to destroy his own property,” and that had the man not killed his dog, he would have been told to keep the dog on his property and issued a citation.

Well, I guess that settles it, then.

"It seems reasonable to me since the owner killed his own animal"

One may presume the rules are different if the animal one beats and kills belongs to someone else. That would probably be theft.

According to one email, a sheriff’s employee reported the incident to social services because the man’s 3-year-old son was present during the killing, and to “Narcs” because the man is “a meth user” and a convicted felon.

None of the emails mention any concern over why a convicted felon has a firearm. I guess if he’s only using it to dispose of his own property they’re all good with that up in Ashe County.

*I don’t know the exact date of the incident because the only records County Manager Pat Mitchell sent me as a result of my public records request were emails written more than a month after the incident.  Information I obtained elsewhere puts the date around Sept 23. Even though the emails reference calls to the county comm center, which are recorded and logged, I received no records from the sheriff’s department at all. Sheriff James Williams told me he had sent all dispatch records regarding this incident to Dr. Mitchell, and Dr. Mitchell told me she sent me everything she received. I can’t say if these records are being deliberately withheld from me or if this is just bureaucratic incompetence at work, but it appears the only way I would get these records is by filing a legal complaint against Ashe County.


Filed under Abuse, Ashe County, cruelty

Ashe County’s Joe Testerman decides to adopt out even fewer animals by reducing adoption hours

Ashe County pound director Joe Testerman has decided that having the 16th worst kill rate of all the pounds in North Carolina is not bad enough. So in addition to not vaccinating pets upon intake, (which ensures his pound will have repeated distemper outbreaks and allow him to kill all the dogs with no further excuses), Testerman has decided to restrict adoption hours so that most working families will never be able to adopt their next pet from the Ashe County pound.

The new public hours will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday only. Testerman said that the decision to make adopting from his pound even more difficult than before came after “several hours of research.” Essentially, Testerman noticed that the other contenders for the title of Crappiest Pound in NC (and the competition is fierce indeed), also have hours that make it very difficult for working people to adopt. “We found that most animal control departments in North Carolina have similar business hours that they are open to the public,” Testerman said.

This means that Testerman is free to continue peddling the worn-out lie that he is “forced” to kill adoptable pets because “there aren’t enough homes” for them.  Meanwhile, he and his staff can now have “ample time in the mornings” to clean at a leisurely pace, uninterrupted by the pesky public who want to adopt pets, and also “spend more time in the field” playing golf rounding up more pets to kill on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays


Filed under Ashe County

Spartanburg, SC, animal control tells woman to chain stray dog to a dumpster

A woman in Spartanburg, SC, saved a Boston terrier she found dodging traffic and tried to take it to the Spartanburg Humane Society, which turned her away because they don’t accept strays. She called county animal control, and was told that the soonest an ACO would be able to come out for the dog would be the following day.

Because she couldn’t keep the dog in her apartment overnight, she went to the county animal control office to ask what she should do. Their reply, in her words, was “Could I chain it to a dumpster, was there an enclosed dumpster I could chain it to?”

The animal control director claims the employee did not tell her to chain the dog to the dumpster, but said that a closed dumpster enclosure might be a good place to keep the dog overnight. He also said it’s an example of why the public should not catch strays themselves. Because of course, a stray dog flattened by traffic is one fewer that animal control officers have to get up off of their asses and go get.

According to another source, the dog is now at the Greenville Humane Society.


Filed under South Carolina