Fayetteville, N.C. — Cumberland County officials are considering halting adoptions of so-called "bully breeds" of dogs that are linked with frequent attacks on people and other animals.
The county's Animal Control Advisory Board discussed the issue Monday night. Any policy change would have to be approved by the county Board of Commissioners.
The idea has created a backlash among animal rescue groups, and even Cumberland County Animal Control Director Dr. John Lauby said he considers it ill-advised.
"I have never said I wanted to ban a breed or any specific breed, and the reason is I know from statistics (that) banning breeds doesn't work," Lauby said.
He said he would prefer to do more screening of people upfront to ensure breeds like rottweilers, pit bulls and chows are going to people who know how to care for them and won't use them for breeding or allow them to roam freely.
But Cristóbal Berry-Cabán, chairman of the animal control board, said the animal shelter doesn't have the resources to check up on all potential adopters. He said the shelter would try to send such breeds to rescue groups, but if no group can be found to take the dogs, the shelter would have to kill them.
The Cumberland County Animal Shelter kills about 1,000 animals a month.
Lauby said he has gotten death threats since word of the adoption ban surfaced, even though he doesn't support it.
"I have 15,000 emails waiting for me," he said.
"I think it's the craziest thing I've ever heard," Shelby Townsend, director of advocacy group Unchain Cumberland County, said of the proposed ban. "It's not going to happen. People aren't going to stand for that. It's not the bully breeds that are the problem; it's the people who own them."
County Commissioner Charles Evans said he won't support a breed-specific kill policy at the shelter if the idea comes to the Board of Commissioners for approval.
"I don't think that's sensible, to simply euthanize all these animals," Evans said. "No, we can't do that. We can't do that."