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Public Animal Shelters Would Meet Standards Under Proposal

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RALEIGH, N.C. — State lawmakers are working on a bill to toughen animal shelter regulations and hold public animal shelters to the same level of accountability as private shelters.

Instead of being adopted, many domestic animals end up in an animal shelter with deplorable conditions.

"We care about animals and we want to make sure they are treated humanely," said Senator Charles Albertson, (D) Harnett.

Albertson says it's time for the state to ensure public animal shelters are meeting that goal.

Albertson's bill calls for regulations similar to what private shelters, like the Wake County SPCA, have abided by since 1977.

But it takes money to enforce those regulations.

"The question becomes where are you going to get the money ... to make sure these facilities meet the standards," said Mondy Lamb, of the Wake County SPCA

Supporters hope the legislation gives rural counties financial support.

It could help to prevent situations such as one in Warren County, where conditions at the animal shelter were so bad an animal rights group threatened to sue.

At one point, county officials let the animals go wild and shut down the pound. Later, the county re-opened the shelter in July of 2004.

The bill also addresses how animals are put to death, for example, it allows for certain uses of carbon monoxide.

The proposal would also apply these regulations to boarding kennels, pet shops, and public auctions and would also define appropriate methods and standards for euthanizing animals.

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