Local News

SPCA: Wake Shelter Needs to Stop Gassing Animals

Posted March 10, 2008
Updated March 11, 2008

— Wake County should hold off from building any new animal shelters until it changes its management practices, according to animal advocates.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or SPCA, wants the county shelter to stop euthanizing animals in a gas chamber and to start spaying and neutering all pets before they are offered for adoption.

"Our demands are that the county come up to a basic level of animal sheltering," said Hope Hancock, executive director of Wake County SPCA. "This county is progressive, (but it's a) backwards practice that there's not 100 percent pre-adoption sterilization here."

Michael Williams, director of the county shelter, said there is nothing cruel about the shelter's gas chamber.

"We are fully compliant with the current and proposed state rules, and we only use it in about 6 percent of euthanasia we perform here," Williams said.

The county shelter has euthanized 1,540 dogs and 3,363 cats since last July.

In fiscal year 2007, the SPCA shelter took in 5,651 animals. Of those, 2,774 were either adopted or reunited with their owners and 2,877 were put to sleep.

“To get the lethal injection, it requires you to engage them (animals), be close to them. Some are not conducive to being close to. They'll scratch or bite, something like that,” Wake County Environmental Services Director Thomas Esqueda said.

The shelter does sterilize most pets before adoption, Williams said. Pets that are too small or too sick aren't spayed or neutered, he said.

“Fertile animals are being adopted out, they are procreating at rapid rates and the tax payers are having to pay to collect and bring these animals in," Hancock said.

Cary and Garner will begin sending their stray animals to the Wake County shelter on July 1.

In the past, the SPCA took in those animals. The county reimbursed the SPCA more than $300,000 for its services last year. By having residents of Cary and Garner use the shelter, the county will not have to pay. The SPCA argues that the shelter is not the best option for the animals.

"Their facility is not up to standard," Hancock said.

The county shelter took in 10,276 animals last year. Williams said Cary and Garner should add an estimated 1,500 pets a year, which the shelter can absorb without problem. Hancock disagrees.

"That's a capacity issue," she said.

SPCA supporters met Monday night to come up with a plan to raise public awareness about conditions at the shelter. They urged animal advocates to contact their local representatives in hopes of improving animal treatment.

"They have no one but us,” SPCA Shelter Manager Deborah Steely said.


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  • maddie Mar 12, 2008

    Stricter adoption policies ensure succesful adoptions. Denying a family an animal for a child under 6 is for the well-being of the child and the animal. I wish that some of the people posting these comments were better informed.
    Most shelters use lethal injection, why can't Wake County? A properly trained staff can administer this!!!

  • MamaAmy Mar 11, 2008

    BIG oops editing, seems to happen to me often-

    Shelter statistics are often inaccurate because they include strays returned to their originating owners, animals brought in that are injured, maimed, sick and dying, wildlife and repeat offenders, as well as the unadoptable, which includes animals too vicious to connect with humans. Top that with inaccurate and doubling record keeping practices and we have numbers that mean little to nothing. ("doubling"- counting the same animal more than once, i.e., coming in AND going out, etc.)

  • neontwitchboomball Mar 11, 2008

    I had an ex who worked at the spca and had to give a litter of puppies lethal injections(they were sick and blind), she said a several of them yipped, scooted away, curled up then continued to whimper for a moment... I was horrified, that didn't sound like something painless and she said that was normal. Then she went on to explain that the dumster was full of animals...

    I think all pets should be sterilized and breeders should be closely regulated so that we don't have to hire several people per shelter to take the roll of executioner. If I had to work there I'd probably flip out.

    As far as the rules for denying someone an animal go, I think they have done a good job... Dogs have been bred to match a specific climates, and whether you believe it or not, NC's weather puts dog's at their extremes. That's why when some slob says, "Oh yeah, I got a big yard fer 'im... Heck no, the dog ain't comin' in the house, dog's is animals." He is promptly denied

  • Adelinthe Mar 11, 2008

    Justin T - I don't go to church.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Adelinthe Mar 11, 2008

    "When you start turning down people who have fenced yards, and then euthanize animals, you have lost your freakin mind!"


    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • wnithepooh Mar 11, 2008

    P.S. I support the chamber in VERY CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES. For instance, if a dog has no history and is aggressive towards humans and other animals. They just don't have the funding, time or space to resocialize, fix problems and help animals that truly NEED extra attention when there are so many others who require less and would make GREAT pets. Sad but... I have many years of experience working with strays and also animals with known owners. I was bitten by an aggressive dog who had no records and had to go through some torture like stuff in regards to rabies... It is NOT fun, I wouldn't wish it on anybody. I understand it came with the territory but there are so many other animals who would blossom in a home with a family... It does have to be under only CERTAIN and SPECIFIC terms, which should be carefully drafted.

  • wnithepooh Mar 11, 2008

    SPCA of Wake County needs to reconsider many things they do. I will NEVER adopt an animal from them I will go to any other instituion to do so. We ALWAYS get rescue animals but when I am refused an animal because I have a child in my home under the age of 6 I question LOTS of stuff. We ended up adopting from the Randolph County Humane Society a 2 month old puppy who we have now had for 6 months and we ADORE her. We have a fenced in yard she is the only dog and she is very well taken care of. Go figure. I guess that meant they had to euthanize one more because we went elsewhere and we will continue doing so. Pretty sad considering we live 20 mins up the street and pay taxes for Wake County. We are animal lovers but being told we can't adopt an animal who needs a good home is rediculous.

  • Mom2two Mar 11, 2008

    I used to be a big supporter of SPCA and believed that would always be the place to get a pet, but the people that have taken over in the last decade or so are just lunatics! When you start turning down people who have fenced yards, and then euthanize animals, you have lost your freakin mind! It IS all about the money and power and control. I LOVE animals, all kinds, including snakes, but you have be sane and balanced about the needs of people and the needs of animals. The problem is that too many people (certainly not all) have mental health issues where animals become elevated to the level of human beings, and they demand the same rights for the animals as for people. Animals should never be mistreated and demand a certain level of protection, but they aren't human beings (although I do believe that they are "gifts" from God)

  • superman Mar 11, 2008

    Much to do about nothing. These animals do not just fall out of the sky! There are people who are responsible. What you think they should do with animals that no one wants? If you are willing to take in stray animals--you can always place ads in the paper and around that you be willing to pick up stray animals and care for them at your place. That way you not be subject to any spca rules.

  • Scubagirl Mar 11, 2008

    sorry admiral, my bad slip of the mind really. I do know it's CO but had a senior moment and put CO2