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New law puts requirement on animal euthanization

Posted January 4, 2010

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— The lives of dogs and cats in shelters are now protected under provisions of a tougher state law requiring domesticated dogs and cats to be held for at least 72 hours before getting euthanized or put up for adoption.

The only exceptions under the law, which went into effect Jan. 1, are for animals considered to be dangerous or those that have health issues that pose a public health risk.

State law gives lost pets a fighting chance State law gives lost pets a fighting chance

Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham, who sponsored the legislation, says the goal is to help people searching for a missing pet.

"I felt that it was extremely important to make sure that persons who became disconnected from their pets had a reasonable and adequate opportunity to reclaim their pets before they were euthanized," McKissick said.

The bill also requires shelters to be open at least four hours a day and three days a week for people to view the animals.

Wake County already practices both of those requirements.

"It could have an effect on some smaller shelters that may not have the staff to offer animals for adoption," said Michael Williams, director of the Wake County Animal Care, Control and Adoption Center.

Williams says the biggest change his office will see under the new law has to do with a new owner ID requirement, which mandates that anyone dropping off an animal must show proof of ownership. If they can't, the animal must also held for at least 72 hours before it can be put up for adoption.

That, Williams says, takes up space for other animals.

"That would probably be the most significant impact on us," he said.

Supporters say they understand overcrowding can be an issue, which is why the new laws also allow county shelters to work with rescue groups without being held liable for the animal's care there.

"We believe that, with the ability of the counties to enter into agreements with the rescue organizations, they can relieve any overcrowding issues whatsoever," McKissick said.


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  • jgarcia2939 Jan 5, 2010

    As for the microchips, try www.petmicrochiplookup.org. This is a service that checks multiple microchip databases and will tell you which service your pet’s chip is registered with, so you can contact them and update your information. Some registries (like Home Again) will let you register microchips from other companies, so if you have multiple pets with chips from different companies, you can get them all registered on a single site.

    One word of advice: even if you have never moved, you should check to make sure the registry has your correct information. After adopting one of my cats from a shelter, somehow the paperwork never got completed (not sure if this was my fault or theirs), and there was no information in the system. I never knew until I moved and tried to update my address. Scary to think he could have gotten lost and I’d have been waiting for a call that wasn’t coming.

  • jgarcia2939 Jan 5, 2010

    Wow, I know sometimes people write some pretty crazy comments, but I admit I was a bit shocked by some of the statements here. The whole point of this law is to give pet owners a chance to claim their lost pets before they are euthanized or adopted by someone else. By having people prove their ownership when they drop their own pet off, they are eliminating the need for the 3 day waiting period because the pet is obviously not lost, it is unwanted. So the animal can go up for adoption sooner (hopefully by someone who will realize that having a pet is NOT a temporary commitment, and will give that animal a permanent and loving home).

  • disgruntled Jan 5, 2010

    Psycho, you stated "by sheer chance she either wasn't in heat or wasn't out long enough to mate, but she could have easily"

    I recognized when she was in heat, and while she was, she stayed in the house unless someone was outside with her so those few times when she got out (she was less than a year old) the was NO chance of an unwanted litter.

  • Carolina Jan 5, 2010

    With regards to spaying/neutering, I tried to go the no-spaying route with my first kitten. That lasted for exactly one month; she was MISERABLE, and she cried to get out every waking moment. I don't know if this is the case for all cats, but in my experience a fertile cat - male OR female - just wants to get out out out, to breed breed breed. All of my pets have been fixed, and not having them spray the furniture or try to escape are minor benefits compared to the fact that they seem to be much happier without the constant urge to get out and make more kittens.

  • psycho Jan 5, 2010

    Disgruntled, I understand why you feel you should be free to choose not to spay your female dog. Clearly you ARE a responsible owner, although even you admit your dog did get out a few times... by sheer chance she either wasn't in heat or wasn't out long enough to mate, but she could have easily. However, I disagree with your saying that spaying/neutering is irresponsible. Spaying/neutering so that you think it's okay now to let your dog run free IS irresponsible, although at least he/she won't generate any puppies while they're out. With the huge overpopulation of domestic pets, spaying/neutering is the only sure way to prevent undesired breeding. Sorry, but The Pill for dogs hasn't been invented yet (to my knowledge) and even the pill doesn't have %100 prevention - spaying/neutering DOES.

  • disgruntled Jan 5, 2010

    I resent people who call me an irresponsible owner because I didn't have my female dog spayed. She was 14 years old when she passed away and NEVER had puppies. She spent about half of her day in the backyard (fenced) and in the house at night. Those few times when she was young and managed to find a way out of the backyard, I fixed it so she couldn't repeat it.

    To me, spaying/neutering is a sign of an irresponsible owner. Keep pets at home and under control will prevent unwanted pregnancies and that goes for cats too.

  • dlangston Jan 5, 2010

    this is the reason why i LOVE all animals but only a handful of humans... you will need more than angel eyes to get your angels wings...

  • Rockermom Jan 5, 2010

    lizard, I agree 100%. I had a shelter kitty who died last year after being with me for more than 8 years. He was the best.

  • lizard78 Jan 5, 2010

    Shelter dogs make the best pets. They are so loving and greatful.

  • Rockermom Jan 5, 2010

    "Whatever " hiney08", I would never leave an animal of mine at the shelter to be mistreated! My dogs eat the best of the best and are extremely well taken care of."
    Golo is now complete. We have/endure perfect-mommy-perfect Cary-homeowner, now we have perfect pet owner.