Louisburg, N.C. — The director of the Franklin County Animal Shelter used a .22 rifle to dispatch an injured basset hound, a method of euthanasia that is outside the approved guidelines for sick or injured animals.
Taylor Bartholomew reported his action to the state Department of Agriculture's Animal Welfare Section, and he was disciplined.
Sheriff Jerry Jones said it was a mistake, and that the county is taking steps to make sure it doesn't happen again.
“The animal director decided to shoot the dog at the kennel at the animal shelter instead of waiting for someone to euthanize it medically,” Jones said. "I think we had some human error and we are working to correct that.”
According to the state and a report by the animal shelter, the dog got into a fight with a pit bull when the two shared a kennel at the shelter at 351 T. Kemp Road in Louisburg.
Shelter staff didn't immediately think the dog's injuries were serious. A couple of days later, Bartholomew said, he realized the dog was chewing on his injured paw and appeared to be in severe pain, so he shot him.
At the time, there was no one available who was certified to euthanize the dog.
While state policy allows animals to be shot under extreme circumstances, it prohibits that action on shelter property.
Jones said the county had plans to improve training for all who work with animals.
"Immediately I made that a priority that every officer that works at the animal shelter will be trained to euthanize,” he said.
"Honestly, I think this was a mistake," he continued. "I do not think there was any ill intent or criminal intent – it is just something that the only thing we can do is learn from it."
Jones added that he doesn't want a single incident to overshadow the good work done at the shelter. He pointed out that the facility averaged about 30 adoptions per month last year.