Letter: Person County animal shelter falls short on care

Posted June 5, 2015

In a letter Wednesday to the Person County animal services director, the state warned that the county's shelter could face fines and even be forced to close if leaders there don't take action. The letter alleges that shelter manager Kelli Oakley "stated her intention to willfully disregard" laws requiring a minimum holding period for shelter animals and a basic level of veterinary care.

Based on interviews with Oakley, the director of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Veterinary Division concluded that the Person County Animal Shelter "may have failed to provide adequate veterinary care to its animals in the shelter and may have prematurely euthanized animals."

Oakley wasn't available to answer the charges on Friday, but her boss, Animal Services Director Ron Shaw, said they only put down animals within 72 hours of arrival if they are too sick to survive. The shelter doesn't have a veterinarian on staff, but contracts with one for periodic checks.

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"If something needs to be corrected, it will be," Shaw said.

A report published on the shelter website shows the facility euthanized 1,124 animals in 2014, but only one of those was because the animal's time for adoption had expired.

Tina Oakley, who isn't related to the shelter manager and who runs Dog Gone Animal Rescue, said the shelter has made great strides despite a limited budget.

"People are under the misconception that if they take their animal there, it’s fine. They’re gonna get adopted or rescued by one of our rescue groups here in town," Tina Oakley said. "That’s not always the case.”

The shelter has until June 14 to submit a written plan to improve care for animals at the facility and policies for euthanasia.


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  • Miranda McCraw Jun 6, 2015
    user avatar

    Animal shelters don't euthanize animals because they don't care about them. Rescue groups can choose the animals they take in but public shelters must accept all animals, no matter their health, temperament, or reason for being a stray/surrendered. Most rescues are at capacity but that doesn't mean the number of homeless animals stops. Sadly, not all animals can be safely adopted out to the public, as indicated in the article where it says only one animal was euthanized for being there a long time (which is a sad situation in itself). Instead of badmouthing an organization that is doing the best it can with limited funding, encourage people you know to do the following: spay/neuter all your pets before they reproduce, adopt a homeless pet instead of going through a breeder, keep your pets for their entire lives, and consider fostering through a shelter or rescue. Thank you for caring about animals!

  • Lori De Stefano Jun 5, 2015
    user avatar

    If she's not adhering to the rules of her job then maybe she should be replaced. I volunteer with a rescue and hear a lot about these county shelters. Let the rescues take more of the animals and stop fighting with them, they're trying to save lives that no one at these shelters seem to care about.

    And I agree with Jacob, if you can't be a responsible pet owner then don't get one to begin with, stop tossing them away when you just can't be bothered anymore. It's so sad that so many are killed because people are lazy and careless

  • Jacob Smith Jun 5, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    I certainly agree with that assesment.

    Certainly Persons County (though I don't even know where it is) is no no "meaner" than any other county when it comes to animals welfare.

    Probably they just don't have enough money. They don't even have the funding for a Vet on staff!

    Responsibility for our domesticated animals STARTS with us citizens - the county dog pound is just the gate at the end.

  • La'King Henry Jun 5, 2015
    user avatar

    Certainly upsetting, but what does one expect with such limited funding