An online search turns up countless stories of neglect, cruelty and killings alleged to have taken place at Robeson County Animal Shelter in NC. As with all things posted on the net, you have to judge for yourself what seems credible to you. Stories include:
- 1997 video of pets being cruelly killed by shelter workers (Warning – graphic)
- After the lawsuit which followed the video, the shelter reportedly changed its ways. This posting details a 2010 eyewitness account indicating the shelter has not changed and is still inflicting unnecessary cruelty in the killing of pets.
- 2010 video depicting 73 empty kennels (out of 100) at the shelter yet a dog with a rescue waiting to pull her was killed
- Another lawsuit is currently being considered against the county by the same complainant as the previous case alleging similar acts of cruelty and neglect by the shelter.
The director of the county health department (responsible for shelter operations) recently sent a letter to a local paper in defense of the shelter. He ends the letter as follows:
There are three animal control officers and three employees at the shelter — with some contract assistance — who take care of the animal needs of a human population of nearly 130,000 people in the largest county in the state. They are typically stressed and stretched. By and large, they remain conscientious of their duty to the residents and the animals. The constant probing and prodding take away any satisfaction in the job.
Is it perfect? Absolutely not. It is good though, it adheres to all standards and licensure requirements, but it could be better. We continue to move toward that goal.
While the opposing sides are far apart, I’m sure most everyone will agree that working towards continued improvement is a worthwhile effort. I wonder if the shelter could make its practices more transparent to the public and thus reduce the perceived “probing and prodding” referred to in the letter. Public shelters should be accountable to the public to my mind. If there was more transparency in the sheltering world, it would go a long way toward reassuring the community that pets are being well cared for which is the main concern I think.
How about it Robeson County – could the shelter make itself more transparent to the public so that the community doesn’t have to rely on internet postings for information on how the shelter cares for pets?
Note: There are numerous posts circulating indicating that ABC News is looking for eyewitness accounts for a story they are doing on the Robeson Co shelter. The posts provide the contact information for someone at ABC. I have contacted the person listed and she does not wish her name and contact info to be posted any further so please do not post it in the comments.