State Finds Person Co Pound in Violation of Law

In 2014, the Person Co pound in NC took in nearly 1800 dogs and cats, killing 62% of them. The county’s website provides a link to Petfinder to see adoptable animals. Today on Petfinder, Person Co has 11 animals listed.  They’re doing the best they can, probably.

Or not.

Twice in recent days, representatives from the NC Department of Agriculture, which oversees animal shelters in the state, called the Person Co pound manager who they say admitted that the pound does not provide veterinary care to its animals nor does it hold them for at least 72 hours before killing – both of which constitute violations of state law.  The representatives apparently asked the manager if at any point she might like to try following the law and doing her job which, based upon the warning letter from the state, she appears to have nah’d:

PCAS’ shelter manager has stated her intention to willfully disregard or violate [both provisions of state law] in the future.

Wow.  I’ve heard of being confident in your feeling of job security but this is extraordinary.  I really want to try this “conflict resolution” approach on my boss but I’m hoping one of you will try it first and let me know how it goes.

WNCN reports:

According to notes taken by the Department of Agriculture, Kellie Oakley with Person County Animal Services said, “The shelter does not provide veterinary care. If the animal is not going to a rescue, it is euthanized.”

But how do you know a rescue isn’t going to pull the animal if you aren’t even waiting the 72 hours mandated by the state?  Oh right, because nobody rescues dead animals.  I see what you did there.  Another victory for the Cats Don’t Need Holding Periods crowd, I guess.

The state has given the Person Co pound 14 days to bring its written protocols and practices into compliance with the law.  If the pound fails to comply, disciplinary action may be taken which might include the suspension or revocation of the pound’s license to operate.  The animals should be so lucky.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

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16 Comments

  1. Am VERY interested in this situation & hope we can keep momentum going. Understand they had an incident in 2013 concerning blackballing a rescuer who criticized shelter mgmt. on Facebook. Does anyone know details of that case? That has happened more recently elsewhere here in NC.

    Reply
  2. Lisa B

     /  June 8, 2015

    I have a friend who routinely rescuse from that pound, and she has even asked them to release sick and injured dogs to her early so she can provide vet care (allowed by state law), and they have refused her. In at least one case the dog ended up dying in kennel (http://tinyurl.com/nlryffo).

    If you look at the Person Co. pound’s last inspection (http://tinyurl.com/q855vb8), you can see that there are 71 primary enclosures in that pound, yet the number of animals on-hand were 14 dogs and 7 cats. If you look back over previous inspections, you can see that the never comes close to reaching capacity. So not only are they hell-bent on killing pets early, they are killing even though they have plenty of space for the pets.

    Could anyone be blamed for thinking that the staff at Person County “Animal Services” WANTS to kill animals?

    Reply
  3. Where is HSUS Where is the ASPCA why aren’t they condemning the hell holes . I guess they think this blog takes their place and they can concentrate on bashing breeders and our food industry so much cleaner and easier..thanks Shirley for being a voice ..or should I say THE voice

    Reply
  4. Karen F

     /  June 8, 2015

    This was the pound that Little Boy Blue, the subject of Kim Kavin’s 2012 book of the same name, was rescued from. The book made for grim reading (and puzzling, since the author, though upset at how shelters operate, seemed unaware of the shelter reform movement). For the commenter who asked where HSUS is, that organization played a role in Kavin’s book, and I didn’t find it a constructive one.

    The shelter manager at the time Kavin wrote her book was male, and now a woman is in charge. Yet it doesn’t look as if much else has changed there.

    Reply
    • Lisa B

       /  June 8, 2015

      Ron Shaw, the guy written about in Kim Kavin’s book, is still the director of Animal Services at PCAS. Kelli Oakley, who used to be the adoption coordinator, is now shelter manager under Ron Shaw’s direction.

      Reply
      • Karen F

         /  June 8, 2015

        Thanks for clarifying that — I should have read the state’s letter more closely.

        It’s unfortunate that the representative for the state seems to believe that the shelter is killing animals because of overcrowding and underfunding. It’s obvious from your earlier comment that this isn’t about money, as the WNCN report implies. It’s about how the shelter is managed.

  5. Interesting that she has no problem flaunting the law. Either she’s a crazy person or has enough backing with higher ups that she’s not worried about her job at all.

    I wonder if civil charges would be possible?

    Reply
  6. WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?

    Reply
  7. Harnett Hawk

     /  June 9, 2015

    I too would be interested in knowing the resolution of the “blackballing the rescuer” situation since Harnett County management is now threatening to do exactly that. And Harnett also does not provide veterinary services.

    Reply
    • Lisa B

       /  June 9, 2015

      After Rhonda was banned, letters were written to Person County Manager Heidi York pointing out that the banning was illegal and citing precedents where rescuers had successfully sued shelters and won. Then, one month after she was banned, Rhonda received a letter from Animal Services Manager Ron Shaw that said:
      “The Person County Animal Advisory Board met on Thursday, September 19, 2013. The previous decision of the Advisory Board upholding Ron Shaw’s decision to suspend your privileges from pulling animals from the PC Animal Services Shelter was amended. The Committee reviewed additional information that was not made available when they previously met on August 28, 2013. The Board by unanimous vote, amended their decision for your suspension to be a thirty (30) day suspension with one year of probation, with a stipulation that any future violations of the guidelines for Rescue groups pulling from the shelter, may result in up to 180 days suspension. Your privileges will be reinstated on September 23, 2013.”

      Since then, Rhonda has posted things critical of the shelter (as well as things praising them when she thinks they did something good) and they have not taken any action. I think they still have the gag rule in place but I don’t believe they are enforcing it.

      I think that volunteers/rescuers should send the Harnett pound manager, the county manager, and the county attorney a letter explaining that even threatening to ban people for exercising their first amendment rights is illegal and would probably be sufficient grounds to bring a lawsuit, Since the applicable US statutes also provide for the prevailing party to recover all attorney fees in a suit filed in vindication of civil rights, you may be able to find a lawyer who will take such a case on contingency if you decided to sue the shelter.

      Also, the Wake Forest University Community Law & Business Clinic will often provide free legal assistance and they are accepting new clients right now for the fall semester: http://community-clinic.law.wfu.edu/. They help me in an (unsuccessful) attempt to pry records out of the United Animal Coalition, which runs the Guilford county pound, You should DEFINITELY contact them and see if they can help!

      Reply
  8. Someone with more direct knowledge of this situation should create a petition and then post it as an action alert on the new No Kill Nation web site at http://www.thenokillnation.org/#!take-action/cqh1

    Reply
  9. Lisa B

     /  June 12, 2015

    “Oh hey, wait you guys, we accidentally said the wrong thing!” http://wncn.com/2015/06/11/person-co-animal-services-says-it-did-not-illegally-kill-animals/

    Reply
  10. Al Smith, HSUS is too busy “busting” rescues for pretty much no reason. Animals are being tortured and killed every day in “shelters” but “authorities” choose the easier targets that get them attention. Rescues and volunteers are not drawing a paycheck like these shit shelter workers are, yet they are the ones who are getting continually harassed!

    Reply
  11. Right, Karin. And we would be locked up in a heartbeat for doing to the animals what the “shelter” employees do.

    Reply

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