Stokes Co Officials Decide Sheltering Animals is Too Much Like Work

In 2015, the troubled Stokes Co pound in North Carolina took in 1029 dogs and cats, killing 473 of them.  The county’s adoption rate was 36%, return to owner rate was 7% and kill rate was 46%.  Dogs and cats coming in the front door of the Stokes Co pound had a better chance of going out the back door in a garbage bag than anything else.

This month, county manager Rick Morris says Stokes is “overwhelmed with strays and surrenders”, there are funding issues and staff turnover as well.  To address these issues, county leaders voted to not address them at all:

“We will no longer […] take in animal surrenders by the owners or stray animals,” said county manager, Rick Morris.

Morris added that he expects his county’s failure to do their jobs with regard to community pets will leak onto surrounding counties actually trying to do their jobs. And he’s fine with that.  Let other shelters take care of Stokes Co animals because we’re not going to do it.  I guess sucks being you, other counties.

Then there’s this:

“It’s just unbelievable the number of animals people just want to give up,” said County Manager Rick Morris.

[Refusing to shelter strays and surrenders in need is] a change Morris says will cut costs for cleaning supplies and spay and neutering.

Right. Reduced spay-neuter should certainly help reduce your county’s animal population.  I have no idea how that would work but hey, less paper towels!

They are changes Morris hopes will save many animals from having to be euthanized.

“It’s doing a favor to the animals by not putting them in there,” he said.

tanya tucker
Critical cat photo by Casey Post

The most likely outcome for animals at the Stokes Co pound is killing. Because the staff kills them instead of doing their jobs to shelter them. So it’s a favor to the animals to not put them in a place where people kill them. I see what you did there.

Stokes County manager Rick Morris hopes by changing the way the shelter operates, it will make people around the area more responsible with their pets.

Yeah I’m pretty sure that’s how that works. Lead by example. By taking no responsibility for the challenges involved in sheltering animals, the job taxpayers are paying you to do, the public will learn – wait.

What the public actually did:

Several Stokes County residents stood before county commissioners Monday night, demanding to pay higher taxes to help offset costs for much-needed services like EMS, funding for schools and the county animal shelter.

Oh snap.  For some reason, the public seems to find the whole non-solution solution to be less desirable than paying higher taxes.  Let that sink in for a sec.

Nice try Stokes Co but it seems like taxpayers still want you to do your jobs.  And they are paying attention.  Quick – look busy while you try to think up another stellar plan to avoid work.


14 thoughts on “Stokes Co Officials Decide Sheltering Animals is Too Much Like Work

  1. So, let me get this straight.

    We run a shelter. Our shelter kills a lot. We recognize that as a bad thing (or at least more labor-intensive than we prefer), so we’ve decided to… stop taking in so many animals.


    On the one hand, yay for the animals that don’t get brought in for killing.

    On the other hand, … while some of those animals may be better off scavenging on the street than in your kill house, what about the ones who actually… you know, need sheltering?

    I mean, no, you don’t want to kill them and I applaud that, good for you. But is turning your back on them completely the absolute best plan you could come up with? Don’t you think that maybe, just maybe, there was a third alternative there? I mean, yeah, you’ve got the kill/don’t kill thing, right, I get that.

    But how about taking them in, caring for them, and actively working to get them into new homes? Or into rescues that can get them new homes? Or into working situations like barn and warehouse cats? Or, you know, something that isn’t killing them or ignoring their plight? A happy medium, per se?

    We all know that killing is the lazy way out. But it turns out that total apathy gets you out of doing real work, too! Yippee!

  2. And while I’m at it, what kind of pet retention program do you have going, there? Educational programs? Food bank? Low cost s/n? Oh, you’re “saving money” by not doing that one? Got it.

    Yep, this is totally going to make the people “more responsible”. Because nothing teaches people a lesson like watching a dog starve to death on the streets. Of course, what they’ll be learning is that the people running the shelter are assholes, but hey, they’re learning something, right?

  3. Don’t know if it is true, here, but at our “shelter”, they have out front, when you first walk into the kennel area, lots and lots of growling, snarling, barking “peaceful, adoptable, ‘nannie dogs'”, ie, pit bull dogs. Why have them out front, when they are most likely, the least adoptable dogs out there? All the cute, quiet, older dogs are virtually hidden in the back, out of site, therefore, considered, “un adoptable”, then needlessly, destroyed. That’s a crock! Even in a grocery store, you display the most sell able items at eye level, where they will be sold, first. Of course, these people are just too darned lazy to do their jobs and make the most obviously adoptable dogs displayed first. What’s the big rush to adopt out a dog that conceivably, kill you or your child? If a person wants that kind of dog, make him go to the back and look for it. We rescued 2 dogs from our “shelter”. They were mixed with those nasty pitts and were cowering in the corners. We had to, literally, drag them out of that place. The terror in their eyes told us all. When we got them home, we found they never wanted to get into a car, ever again. Its all about “marketing” and brains, but I guess their priority is the almighty $$$.

  4. Most Pit Bulls are really friendly and react positively to people. Maybe these dogs have had traumatic experiences that have caused them to be afraid of people. The shelter should find a professional trainer who can work with these dogs to help them recover from their experiences and become happy and friendly again. Volunteers, with some training and supervision, could help with the dogs’ socialization. Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) has a program like this that has resulted in many Pits being rehabilitated and adopted out; they are also good at marketing them.

  5. Wow, I can’t imagine why there would be a high staff turnover rate with such great leadership. s/

    1. People can do both, you know, and in fact both are necessary. You have to talk about what’s wrong in order to fix it. Shelter volunteers alone can’t fix everything that’s wrong with traditional kill shelters, and I assume you’re new here and don’t realize that many shelters don’t even allow volunteers.

      1. And many that say they are open to volunteers are actually closed to volunteers who can not in good conscience help a pet killing facility to process more victims.

  6. I live in Stokes County and have been fostering animals for the Stokes County Humane Society for over 5 years. A large percentage of the animals I have fostered have come from the Shelter. When the shelter was closed last year to repair the floor and fire all the employees, the number of animals dumped out, skyrocketed. We rescued box fulls of puppies, kittens, adult dogs and cats, abandoned in parks, culdesacs, tied to road signs, you name it. The SCHS is a 501C3 non profit, 100% volunteer, receives zero county funding and has been rescuing, fostering and successfully placing the cast out critters of Stokes County for many years. It is not a pretty scene, and it gets far worse when there is no animal shelter at all… I am ashamed and disgusted by the decisions of our County Manager and the Councilmembers for being so backward and heartless. My home is always full of the county’s unwanted animals, and my job just got a whole lot harder.

  7. Stokes government is laughable, at best.
    Most of the the elected officials are small minded, small town folks.
    That’s good and great until theyre in a position to multi-task and play government.
    First sign of a challenge ~ poof! We quit.
    But hey, Stokes county is going to have a Walmart!
    Now that’s progress.

  8. Just FYI – I am equally frustrated by services being cut at the shelter but they have a 100% adoption/rescue rate since mid January. There have been only about a dozen animals euthanized which were either critically injured (hit by cars, etc) or in advanced state of disease (FIV, etc).

    1. And how has their intake numbers changed during this time? Because *I* have a 100% adoption rate for my intakes, but I’m not taking owner surrenders either.

Leave a Reply