Local News

Inspectors Check Conditions at N.C. Animal Shelters

Posted August 1, 2007
Updated August 2, 2007

— For years, city and county animal shelters flew under the radar, with no state inspections required.

New laws have changed that, but getting shelters up to code can be a slow process. The state knows of 90 animal shelters run by cities or counties. Until recently, they were exempt from state oversight.

“When that fact came up, everybody in the room gave a little gasp,” said Dr. Lee Hunter, with the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The law changed in 2005, and the Department of Agriculture spent the past year inspecting shelters and reporting the conditions.

If the conditions are bad, why not just shut down the shelters?

“Well, the goal is to bring them into compliance with the Animal Welfare Act,” Hunter said.

It can be a daunting task. In some cases, inspectors are stumbling across shelters. That’s what happened in Dunn. Inspectors didn’t know a shelter there existed until a complaint came in. The shelter has been there for 20 years.

An inspection noted several problems with the Dunn shelter. It was overpopulated, with 52 cats and 25 dogs. The temperature was an issue, and the facility wasn’t licensed, which the new law requires.

Dunn City Manager Ronnie Autry said the city was unaware of the law.

“We did not know, and no one that I know was aware,” he said.

Changes are already under way. A wall and concrete blocks are being replaced.

“We’ll do whatever it takes to get those remedied,” Autry said.

The Dunn shelter will be closed for the repairs. A worker there told WRAL they'll hold the animals for adoption until they re-open.

In about 30 days, there will be a follow up inspection. The shelter will have at least two inspections a year from now on.

Reports for private shelters and kennels will be available on-line in the near future.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • The DA Aug 2, 2007

    I wouldn't be surprised if our taxes don't go up to hire more inspectors. We don't have enough inspectors at our ports to check the food coming in from China, but we will make sure they are living in a good environment until the wheat gluten or parvo kills them.

  • SANDHILL Aug 2, 2007

    Recently the NC dept of agriculture and the AG were harrassing the Haven, a privately run no kill shelter about their conditions but it seems the county run shelters are in much worse conditions, like the one in Hoke county being over run with rats, now this one in Dunn and Warren county has a new shelter that has been allowed to become a dump also. Seems to me they should clean up their own house before taking on those trying to get something done without tax money!

  • 68_polara Aug 2, 2007

    You know what's funny about this situation but also not surprising? The state government set up this inspection process than excepted it's self. Well... until now.

  • jeepgirl Aug 2, 2007

    The bottom line here is that not only do we need to help these shelter workers bring the environments up to standards, but more importantly, we need to encourage everyone to adopt animals from these shelters and rescues to avoid overpopulation. I've never been able to understand why these breeders, who apparently LOVE animals so much, contribute to the overpopulation problem in this country. We need to make animal adoption "cool"--as in the "I'm not a plastic bag" campaign.

  • edits Aug 2, 2007

    Continued... Who knows? Some HIV or HCV positive person could have thought it was funny to get their animal high, stuck them with a syringe used on an infected person transferring the disease to the animal thus making that animal infectious to humans..I know this may be rare but it is possible. About the manager picking up excrement with her hands, that is very unsanitary, worms and other bacteria could be transfered to anything she touched and anyone who touched it after her. Am I being over protective of my daughter's health and over reacting or does anyone agree with me?

  • edits Aug 2, 2007

    My daughter got a trespassing citation in Wake county and under the first offenders program was sentenced to 75 hours of community service. She was to perform this community service at the Clayton Animal Shelter, Clayton SPCA. She said she would rather do 20 days in jail than go back there. There was a dead cat in a cage with two other cats and when she told the shelter manager she replied, Yeah, I know, they're sick." This woman was also picking up dog and cat feces with her bare hands. My daughter also told me that she was not allowing people into the shelter to look at animals for possible adoption. My daughter had to clean dog cages and the woman did not offer her any protective equipment such as gloves or goggles, she had to ask for them. There are some blood borne diseases that can be passed from animals to humans and without knowing exactly where the animals have been and what they have been subjected to it is important to protect yourself against potential infection.

  • O-Get-A-Grip Aug 2, 2007

    I didn't know that animal shelters wheren't inspected myself. Getting these structures inspected is not only a good thing for the animals but for people too. There are alot of people that won't go to a shelter simply b/c they drive by it it looks run-down. If the place looks hidious it makes you wonder what kind of animals are in there. Also, more would be adopted and it is good for people for the ones who have to work/volunteer there and any visitors and neighbors.

  • HereswhatIthink Aug 2, 2007

    Reply to Steve Crisp - if you are so concerned about everything other than animals - and you want to bad mouth those of us that care about both humans and animals, then why take the time to read the article and post - go find a human article to read about and post about. Don't be so ingnorant - the article is about animals and it is because of the humans that these animals are in the situation they are in. As a person who rescues dogs from death row - it does directly effect me to know that countless animals die everyday because of humans that don't care! I invite you to visit a shelter and look into the faces of these animals and then write us and let us know you don't give a rat's behind about their welfare.

  • 2spoiledrotties Aug 2, 2007

    At least the State is finally doing something. All the shelters need help. If all people would spay and neuter their animals, we wouldn't need all these shelters!

  • Mad Baumer Aug 2, 2007

    I think this is a slippery slope. These animal shelters offer the animals a better go than if they didn't exist. However, being unregulated leaves some gaping holes and possibly endangers the animals further. However again; If the government steps in and starts to issue all or nothing edicts to these shelters, than they will just close and the animals will stand a 0% chance. They need to allow a time frame to come up to code one at a time, starting with the most serious. Props to all the people here that are adopting these animals, they do really seem to know they are getting a second chance, as crazy as that seems. Also, Mr. Crisp, as usual, you have a good point. These two thought processes, people and animal care, maybe able to be done in unison.