Animal Services temporarily suspends canine intakes

Chief Deputy Andy Conway of Moore County Sheriff’s Department Animal Services spoke in front of the county commissioners on Feb. 20 to review the results of a recent unannounced state inspection, breakdown of euthanasia rates, and discuss facility operations.

The impromptu inspection was conducted by the Animal Welfare section of the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in January. The facility was evaluated on everything from record-keeping to physical facilities to animal care, health, and feeding.

The facility was deemed in compliance with almost every single item on the 10-page checklist. There was only one item found not in compliance, where the inspector noted epoxy floors had been worn down to the concrete in certain areas, which can prevent proper sanitation due to moisture retention.

Conway noted that this is a “known deficiency” and that the shelter has contacted a contractor who has done similar work for other animal facilities in the state.

Otherwise, in the “General Comments” section signed by state inspector Elizabeth Garner, it was documented that: “[In the] annual inspection conducted today, housing areas are clean and odor free at time of inspection; animals appear well cared and free of obvious illness.”

Conway stressed transparency and stated that he — and the rest of Moore County Animal Services — welcomes inspections from the state to help dispel what he referred to as uninformed complaints.

“People make uninformed complaints all the time, especially on social media platforms. No matter how complaints are conveyed, we absolutely cannot allow unadulterated access to secure areas of our office, animal shelter, or detention center based upon hearsay or their own personal agenda,” he explained. “As was proven by this most recent inspection, there is absolutely nothing to hide in our shelter, and we welcome an inspection at any time if someone believes that we are doing something wrong.”

According to Conway, Animal Service deputies responded to over 5,000 calls last year. Commissioner Kurt Cook asked if Conway felt the facility was sufficiently staffed, and Conway confirmed Animal Services does have enough personnel despite the growing demand.

Last year, Animal Services took in a total of 2,369 animals. Of these, 777 were euthanized upon owner request, accounting for approximately 32% of the shelter’s intake. Among the other reasons for euthanasia, feral animals comprised 7%, sick and injured animals constituted 8%, and temperament-related issues accounted for 5% of euthanized animals.

The remaining animals, about 45.9%, were not euthanized and successfully adopted or otherwise pulled from the shelter.

Conway noted that adoption partner participation is currently very low. “We do currently have 66 rescues and adoption partners, but last year we only had 12 to participate with us and pull a dog,” he explained. “That’s only an 18% rate of working with us for a total of 350 dogs. We’re just not seeing people pull the dogs and cats like they used to.”

He then publicly thanked Tilted Acres Rescue and Adoption, remarking that they were the “leader” in rescuing animals last year, having taken 193 pets.

After Conway’s presentation, Commissioner Jim Von Canon shared his positive experience of adopting a pet from Moore County Animal Services between three and four months ago. He praised the cleanliness of the facility and the professionalism of the staff.

“I love animals more than some people I know — more than most people I know,” Von Canon said. He then encouraged the shelter to keep up the good work and offered future support whenever necessary.

Chairman Commissioner Nick Picerno made a motion to have the Department of Agriculture report made available to the public for anyone who wishes to see it. The motion was unanimously passed, and the record was made available for review online.

~Article by Abegail Murphy, Sandhills Sentinel Reporter

Photo credit Moore County Animal Services.

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