Sampson County Animal Shelter in North Carolina has been fined a civil penalty of $4,800 for numerous violations including (1) unnecessarily euthanizing animals before the end of the minimum three day holding period (2) lack of proper veterinary care and (3) poor record keeping. On Facebook the shelter has 4.4 stars out of 5 by reviewers and the comments are mixed. Some praise the shelter. Others refer to the unfolding scandal. It seems that what is presented to the public is not representational of what happens behind closed doors. The Sampson County Animal Advocates FB page has not highlighted these disturbing issues. However, some members of the public have been aware of malpractice at the shelter for some time but it was always denied.
Eight cats were euthanized before the 72 hour hold was up. All were deemed to be feral. And there was no paperwork. Four of the cats were euthanized the day after intake. Four were euthanized within one hour of intake.
An AWS (Animal Welfare Section of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Veterinary Division) health technician, Pat Scholar, inspected the facility on December 6th 2017 and 11th Jan and 23rd Feb 2018 followed by an inspection from a complaint on March 1st.
Sometimes there were no notes. Lack of care was evident in the condition of two emaciated dogs with open sores. It appears shelter animals were ‘inexplicably put to sleep’ while others were not fed properly. Veterinarian directions were not followed.
The inspector, Scholar, reported that an emaciated dog, Griffin, had been inexplicable euthanized after a veterinarian had treated the animal for sores, gum disease and a worm infestation and directed staff to give deworming medication. The dog was been treated after maltreatment allegedly at the hands of the shelter staff to then suddenly be put down. In addition the staff had failed to follow the vet’s directions on medications such as pain relief and antibiotics.
A Great Dane was rescued from the Sampson Animal Shelter a embarrassment for an animal rescue center. In two weeks the dog gained 21 pounds. The dog was clearly emaciated and malnourished indicating a lack of proper care.
One of the most disturbing aspects of this case is the improper euthanizations. Seven dogs were listed as aggressive and euthanized before the 72 hour holding limit. There was no owner surrender paperwork in the records. Six of the dogs were killed in 24 hours.
In all 14 of 15 animals were euthanized within a day of intake. North Carolina statutory law states that “proof of ownership for an animal and signed written consent to the disposition of the animal have to be obtained to euthanize an owner surrender prior to the end of the 72-hour period”.
Important: there is a petition on Change.org.
AWS found that the shelter had violated at least seven NC statutory provisions and administrative code (7 laws effectively). The shelter can challenge the fine in a written petition with 60 days to North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings. The County manager, Causey, is evaluating the situation. He agrees with most of the report it appears.
AWS said that if the violations continue they may impose additional fines in the future and take enforcement action, “Continued or future violations..will be considered a wilful disregard or violation of the N.C. Animal Welfare Act.”
It may lead to the withdrawal of the shelter’s license. Causey indicated that the county government and the shelter staff have to deal with the report positively and rectify the problems.
The extensive article reporting on this can be seen on The Sampson Independent website.