Raleigh, N.C. — The director at the Wake County Animal Center, which came under fire in November after WRAL's "Pet of the Day" was euthanized within hours of appearing on the newscast, has resigned, Deputy County Manager Joe Durham said Wednesday.
Dennis McMichael met with his staff Wednesday morning and announced his decision to step down, effective Feb. 10.
McMichael, whose first day on the job was Nov. 7, said he was leaving after less than three months to move back to Pennsylvania, where he and his wife both have family. He was happy with his position at the animal center, he said, but the transition to North Carolina was difficult for his wife and two young children.
He has taken a job at a private shelter in Philadelphia, but added that Wake County should be proud of its shelter and how it's run.
Two days after McMichael started, in what Durham later called an "indefensible mistake," the shelter killed an 8-month-old dog named Sassy after the animal began exhibiting symptoms of an upper respiratory infection. Sassy had appeared on the WRAL News at Noon that same day as being available for adoption.
Calls and emails poured in from concerned viewers after news broke of Sassy's death.
Durham said the shelter immediately made changes to its euthanasia policy following the public outcry about Sassy. Giving sick dogs antibiotics, placing them in quarantine and allowing rescue groups to adopt them were among those changes.