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.
"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.