Filth and Neglect Found During State Inspection of Rutherford Co Pound

A toy dog on concrete at the Rutherd Co pound in NC  [Screengrab from PetHarbor]

A toy dog on concrete at the Rutherford Co pound in NC [Screengrab from PetHarbor]

The website for the Rutherford Co pound in NC indicates the facility is closed during the hours most people can visit:

The shelter hours are Monday thru Thursday 12:00 P.M. till 4:00 P.M. for adoptions only and Friday 10:00 a.m. til 2:00 p.m. for adoptions only. The shelter is closed on Saturday, Sundays, and major holidays.

With these very few open hours, it seems counter intuitive that the state is demanding the facility count hours for every animal and kill them based upon these arbitrary counts, relative to the mandatory 72 hour holding period:

State inspector Jay Blatche from said in his report to the shelter staff that any animal that is at the shelter on the 73rd hour must be adopted immediately or euthanized.

How can anyone be reasonably expected to adopt an animal on his 73rd hour when the place is mostly closed?

The state inspection was prompted by a citizen’s complaint alleging deplorable conditions, neglect and needless killing at the pound.  The inspector indicated the facility was filthy and overcrowded but the sheriff’s department is all hey, we’re just heroes here:

Lt. Leon Godlock of the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department said it is true the shelter has been holding some animals beyond the state mandate of 72 hours. “We’ve held animals up to 10 days or more over, just hoping someone will come by to adopt them,” Godlock said.

Maybe people have been coming by to adopt.  Maybe they come by in droves on weekends, holidays and after school/work – the usual times most people can get there.  But the county would not know if that was the case since the place is closed all those times.

“We got wrote up for housing too many animals, hoping they would get saved. Now we are going to start putting more animals down. It is about spacing,” Godlock said.

No.  It’s about being open when people can get there.  It’s about not putting sick puppies and kittens in cages with healthy puppies and kittens.  It’s about cleaning litter boxes and kennels.  It’s about providing soft food to puppies and kittens who are too young to eat hard kibble.  It’s about keeping the number of kittens per cage down to a manageable number – not 19 or more.  All these issues, with the exception of the facility being mostly closed, are addressed in the state’s inspection report.

But don’t criticize unless you are willing to neglect and kill pets yourself:

Kelly Carpenter, a volunteer with the Community Pet Center, says she’s surprised to see the reaction on social media.
[...]
Of the 330 animals that came into the shelter in June, 190 were put down.
[...]
“We work tirelessly all day long and half the night to coordinate with these rescue groups to get these animals out,” she says. “And if you’re not here on a daily basis to see what we’re doing, it’s kind of hard to criticize what goes on here.”

Not really. Killing more than 57% of the animals in your care last month indicates Rutherford Co is primarily operating a pet killing facility, not a shelter. Needless pet killing is the kind of thing that’s super easy to criticize. Most everyone hates it and will say so, given the opportunity. Defending the neglect and killing of shelter animals – now that’s the hard thing.  It looks like Rutherford Co has sufficient enablers to keep the pet killing operation running for awhile.

(Thanks Clarice and Karen for the links.)

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7 Comments

  1. Janet Gill

     /  July 7, 2014

    It is (past) time for our local pounds to become either state-run or federally-run true shelters since all municipal governments know is abuse, torture, incompetence, and killing. Enough already!

    Reply
    • Arlene

       /  July 7, 2014

      I have yet to see any state or federally run program of any kind do a good job of much of anything. There is always greed and power grabs that happen. Much better would be local citizens that truly love and care about animals and their treatment. That would be those who want No Kill and are willing to work to make it hapen.

      Reply
      • Janet Gill

         /  July 8, 2014

        I don’t have any quick answers but this criminal negligence, abuse, mistreatment, and killing of treatable, adoptable animals on the local level must stop and clearly what we have now isn’t working in most places. Privatizing our nation’s shelter system is one way but this isn’t just about animals. The lack of respect for all life has become epidemic in this country and sadly our animals are paying the price.

  2. Ginger Caramico

     /  July 7, 2014

    Contrary to what Kelly Carpenter says, this shelter is not rescue friendly. I live 4+ hours away and have tried to rescue many a dog from this shelter, but have been told every time that the dog will be adopted to the first person waiting at the gate. Why should I drive, or ask another volunteer to drive 4+ hours one way to be told the dog was sold 15 minutes before I got there?

    They may work their definition of “tirelessly” to get animals out during the minimal time they’re open, however, there is NO SPAY/NEUTER education, NO discussion of HEARTWORM prevention, NO discussion of what it means to be a responsible pet owner. Hand over the money and you’re given a dog.

    That hellhole needs to be run properly or shut down.

    Reply
  3. mikken

     /  July 7, 2014

    So…the inspector’s answer to the horrific conditions and high kill rate is … more killing.

    Reply
    • Karen F

       /  July 7, 2014

      Exactly. How crazy and awful is that?

      I keep coming back to Nathan Winograd’s statement that you could get a group of average people from any dog park, and they would do a better job at running their local shelter than the “experts” currently in charge. Unfortunately, I think the “experts” in this case prove the point perfectly.

      Reply
  4. Erin

     /  July 7, 2014

    Actually, the state sent a letter to the shelter clarifying that they did NOT mandate that they kill after 72 hours… this was the shelter’s way of dealing with it. You know, because, as dear Godlock says, they’re just trying so darn hard (except they’re not). http://www.ncagr.gov/vet/aws/Inspections/Rutherford_County/documents/complaint%20investigation.htm

    Reply

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