In NC, a pet owner filed a lawsuit alleging that the Columbus Co pound killed one of his two impounded dogs before the state mandated 72 hour holding period had expired. He also filed a complaint with the NC Department of Agriculture, responsible for overseeing animal shelters in the state. County Manager Bill Clark defended the killing to a local reporter:
“Our side of that story is that the dogs were aggressive and dangerous,” Clark said. “The gentleman who released the dog to us signed a release, basically giving us control of the animal and when he did that, we have the ability to put down a dangerous dog.”
Clark said safeguards are in place to prevent the accidental euthanasia of an adoptable pet, but in this instance, because the animal was “dangerous” the county was within its legal rights to destroy it.
As it turns out, the NC Department of Agriculture disagreed with the county. Totally. In a letter to the Columbus Co pound dated June 18, the state says that the two dogs were impounded as owner surrenders on May 19 but no proof of ownership was obtained. Further, the impound papers state the dogs will be held until 2pm on May 22. The owner came to reclaim both dogs on May 21, only to find one had been killed that same day. The state says that records for that dog do not indicate any serious illness or injury – the only exceptions legally allowed for killing an animal during the mandated holding period.
As a result, the state fined the Columbus Co pound $5000 for violating the law while noting that the pound had previously been fined $6500 in 2013 for the same violation. That fine also occurred under the current manager who appears to kill at will, regardless of any dumb laws.
Gosh, I wonder how many shelter animals could be saved for $11,500? I guess that’s not something Columbus Co is interested in finding out.
The county has 60 days to either file an appeal or pay up. The lawsuit is, I presume, going forward. And as far as I know, the county is standing by their man at the pound.
(Thanks Clarice for the link.)