Fayetteville, N.C. — Saying the kill rate in area animal shelters is "extremely high," Cumberland County's animal control director called Tuesday for people to learn the responsibilities of pet ownership in school.
The county animal shelter takes in about 1,000 dogs and cats each month and euthanizes about three-fourths of them, director John Lauby said. The euthanasia rate nationwide is about 80 percent, he said.
“It’s a terrible problem," Lauby said. "My people have to make the decision every day to put healthy animals to sleep because there’s no place for them.”
Part of the problem in Fayetteville is the transient, military-based population, he said.
Cris Berry-Caban, chairman of the Cumberland County Animal Control Board, agrees, saying younger people tend to act more irresponsibly with pets.
"It’s very prevalent to dump the animal on the side of the street and let it fend for itself, be it cats or dogs,” Berry-Caban said.
Cumberland County animal control officers get about 250 calls a day about dogs on the loose or attacking other animals or people, Lauby said.
He said teaching people how to be responsible pet owners early on, including neutering or spaying animals, might cut down on the number of strays going into shelters – and not coming out.
"We need to start an education program in our school system," he said. "That needs to be going. We need to get that started and up and running, and we need help with public service announcements."
Berry-Caban said he’s open to the idea of a pet responsibility program in schools, but Cumberland County Schools would need to grant permission and a curriculum would need to be designed.
“It’s not something that can happen immediately," he said.