Local News

Sampson County Woman's Dog Euthanized After Reported Lost

Posted December 2, 2002

— A Sampson County woman says a puppy she had raised for 11 months was killed because of poor communication. The animal was euthanized recently in the pound, even after the woman reported it lost.

Cathy Simmons' Sampson County land offers plenty of room to run around, but a Labrador she calls Maggie Brown recently wandered too far and never came home.

"It was heartbreaking," Simmons said.

Maggie was picked up about a mile away and taken to the animal shelter. She was not wearing a collar because Simmons said she outgrew it.

Simmons asked an animal control officer to look out for the dog, not realizing Maggie was already in the pound. The officer put the description on the wall, but eight days later, Maggie was put down.

"We had done everything we could possibly do to get them information, relying on them just to read the bulletin board," Simmons said.

County officials reviewed the case and found nothing wrong with the way the officers handled it. The officials said they are looking at ways to improve communication within the two-man department. They admitted that many days the officers are so busy that they hardly see each other at the office.

"I don't want to, in any way, minimize the loss of Mrs. Simmons' dog," Assistant County Manager Susan Holder said. "Anytime you lose a pet, it is really a tragedy, but I do feel that our officers did follow their policy to the letter once the dog was reported as a stray animal."

The two Sampson County officers cover more than 900 square miles and typically handle 400 to 500 animals each month. Both sides agree the officers could use more manpower, but officials said that is not likely to change anytime soon.

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