Action Alert: Harnett Co Shelter Pets Suffering in Heat

These videos were submitted by an animal advocate who wishes to remain anonymous. They were reportedly taken at the Harnett Co pound in NC this week and appear to show cats suffering in the summer heat:

I don’t know what type of system is in place to keep the animals cool during the summer months at Harnett Co but whatever it is, it appears to be terribly inadequate and may be a violation of state law.  It is my understanding that the NC Department of Agriculture, responsible for overseeing the state’s animal shelters, has already been advised of this situation.  Based upon the dates of the state’s inspections of the Harnett Co facility, it doesn’t look like the place has been inspected during the summer in years.

If you wish to take action on behalf of the animals:

Send polite, respectful letters requesting an immediate fix to the heat problem at the Harnett Co pound which does not involve further harm to the animals to:

Joseph Jeffries, County Manager
102 East Front Street
Lillington, NC 27546

Phone: 910-893-7555
Fax: 910-814-2662

38 thoughts on “Action Alert: Harnett Co Shelter Pets Suffering in Heat

  1. Messages sent. Both to the department of ag and the county manager. Respectful, but urgent. If enough people poke them, they may actually do something.

    And be sure to point out to the county manager that animals are unable to cool themselves in the same way humans do – they cannot sweat through fur. That should head off the “the people are suffering in the heat too” BS that I expect from these sources. People can go stand in a breeze and drink lemonade. They’re not stuck in a cage with a fur coat. I didn’t say that, but that’s the point. I want them to understand that animals in a cage can die in conditions that people will survive.

  2. I am one of the volunteers for the Harnett County Shelter cats. I was at the shelter on Tuesday when the shelter manager measured the temperature at 95 degrees in one spot in the “cat room” near where a cat had been caged that had to be rushed to the vet that day with apparent heat stroke. She is alive but still very ill. The cat room is packed with kittens and their moms who were pretty much immobile except for the panting. Last year an industrial quality fan and a cheap portable air conditioner were donated (God forbid the County should spend money on cats) but they have very little impact. I heard one of the staff suggest that the temperature was so high because there were several people in the room, but the wall thermometer registered just under 90 degrees when the shelter opened at 1 PM.

    This is a rural county with a deeply entrenched good-old-boy network in charge. The Commissioners have heard our concerns but essentially do nothing. They did visit once as a group and were impressed that the shelter was clean. Yes, it is. Tuesday when I was there a litter of tiny puppies was soaking wet but the floor of their pen was definitely clean. Cleanliness has not been an issue, ever. And of course the shelter management knew that the Commissioners were coming that day, so ….

    This also is a factory-farming area where animals, specifically poultry and pork, are crops just like plants. As a result, animals are not particularly valued unless they are hunting dogs or horses. Others are disposable tools, and cats are frequently considered little more than vermin. Of course the County has no spay/neuter requirements (the hunters would protest) so we are overrun with cats. There are lots of dogs too but it is a very dog-centric culture so there are many volunteers helping them.

    Feral cats taken into the shelter are automatically killed; we no longer have the option of trying to find placement because the feral cats kill birds. Or something. Not long ago pet dogs ripped apart a neighbor’s dog in the neighbor’s own yard, but the complaining dead dog owners say they were told there was nothing that could be done except put their own dog in a pen in the yard, so evidently it’s dandy fine if dogs kill other animals. Okay.

    The shelter does nothing to find placement for the animals, NOTHING, except post photos on a rarely visited web page. It also does not work with rescues, although they claim to do so and don’t seem to understand what that means (although it has been explained ad nauseum).

    Up until a few years ago, all the animals in the shelter were automatically killed every Wednesday. That doesn’t happen now but that is because community volunteers bust their asses every week to get the animals out. This makes the shelter’s stats look really good so they tolerate us, but they do not like us. Some of the staff have been quite vocal about their preference for the return of the gas chamber and their disdain for those of us who try to save these animals. Because after all, they’re just animals and particularly, they’re only cats. And I won’t even go into the other deficiencies of the cat room itself.

    They don’t have a vet. Well, they have a vet who consults by telephone. No vet comes to the shelter to attend to sick or injured animals. And the consultant is Ralph “Dr Death” Houser. Google him, then give me a break. Since North Carolina has banned gas chambers he can no longer sell to them the one he invented, which he once demonstrated on the shelters’ own animals. But he still gives trainings in euthanasia procedures for the State. See above reference to good-old-boys.

    Of course, no treatment is provided. No flea treatment. No ear mite treatment. Certainly no spay/neuter. Puppies get deworming and first shots because they are donated by a community group. Kittens get zip. Adults get rabies because the State demands it. Because money, you know, or a complete lack of interest.

    I, along with others in the community, have been pushing for change for at least the past four years, but the Commissioners do not listen.Evidently they are concerned only when they feel their re-election chances might be affected. They pay lip service to our concerns but epitomize the “shelter”-as-warehouse mentality, seeming unmoved by suffering animals. The promised community advisory board has not been formed and, since its members were going to be hand-picked by the same people who do nothing for the animals now, it probably doesn’t matter. But until there is sufficient pressure brought to bear that more than one person above Mr Jeffries’s level perceives the need to implement progressive measures, the animals will continue to suffer.

    Thank you for letting me rant. >^.^<

  3. The County Manager has returned my email, stating that the air conditioning is fixed. Can anyone confirm?

    1. mikken I have a photograph taken at 3 PM today, with the new air conditioner running, of the thermometer showing a temperature of 87 degrees. I forwarded it to the County manager and he said he will have someone there in the morning. Thank you for writing to him.

      1. Sounds like they’re half assing it and hoping to get away with it. Too bad it doesn’t work that way! Thanks for keeping on top of it!

  4. I have nothing positive to say about this awful shelter. I called once to express concerns about a dog in my neighborhood who was kenneled 24/7, sometimes without clean water, and was obviously coated in fleas because of constant scratching. The man on the phone told me “it’s summer, animals get fleas.” …….I will write as well but this place disgusts me.

  5. Please stop the suffering of these poor animals.I believe they are kept in really hot conditions. ( see video) They can’t help themselves so PLEASE HELP THEM.

  6. Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to send complaints to the Dept of Agriculture? I would guess the officials in Harnett Co already know what is going on.:(

      1. They told me that this is the first they’re hearing of it – go ahead and contact them – they need a poke to get them moving in the right direction.

    1. Good idea Cheryl! Of course that works only until the water melts. Since the shelter is open to the public only 2-3/4 hours per day, five days per week, a more permanent solution is required.

  7. If I remember correctly, Dept of Agriculture regulation states that it cannot get above 80 degrees or below 55

  8. These beautiful animals are suffering badly in the heat. They desperately need some sort of help!

  9. Email sent ~ hard, but polite and respectful. My heart breaks for those poor animals. Don’t give up, volunteers, because it sounds as if you are all they have left.

    1. Nursing kittens already makes you hot – then you add this on top and no one is going to want to eat, they’re going to get ill and die. This place needs to join the rest of the world in this century!

      Keep pestering them (politely!) and let them know that it’s still a very real problem!

  10. What is wrong with you people ?? You all should be held accountable and fired !!
    Let’s stick all of you responsible in those tiny hot cages and leave you there.
    Would give me great pleasure to watch you suffer !!

    1. Please write the address in the post above, Lorrie. You are preaching to the choir here :-)

  11. I wrote to the county manager and received this reply:

    “Not sure who told you the AC was not repaired as of 1 today it was 78 degrees in the cat room. We have added 3 new mobile AC units and have met with an HVAC company to identify a perm solution to the problem. Please provide me your contact regarding the AC and I will be happy to provide them with an update.”

    I’m hoping this is true. Can anyone confirm?

    1. That’s also what I heard later this afternoon so I stand corrected. Mea culpa.

  12. Contact the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association and make them aware. Ask them who the appropriate agency is to contact. This is animal cruelty.

  13. What kind of a shelter pretends to help.. Your a disgrace to all humans.. P.o.s. m.f.

  14. When are the people at this shelter going to start caring about these animals?This makes me so sick.North Carolina should be ashamed of itself that animals are having to suffer in this shelter and so many others.When are shelters like this going to start saving these animals instead of making them suffer and killing them.

  15. if you know first hand of a situation with a County/City animal holding facility, or a ‘rescue’ organization that houses 10 or more animals in one location in NORTH CAROLINA – you may file a formal complaint by e-mailing; These complaints (complainant) will be shared with the organization upon their request – in other words – this is not an anonymous complaint.

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