The shocking reality of animal shelter kills - WNCN: News, Weather

The shocking reality of animal shelter kills

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Animal euthanization is a sad reality that occurs in animal shelters across the country everyday. In Eastern Carolina, overpopulation of pets is a serious problem.

"We're often mislabeled-labeled the bad guys," said Trinity Smith, Supervisor at the Craven-Pamlico Animal Service Center. "But we're trying to clean up a problem that the community has put in our laps, and it's an ongoing struggle."

Many shelter employees say the public could dramatically decrease the number of animals euthanized if they helped control the pet population.

"We focus on the pet owner irresponsibility. Spade and neutering is a key," said Alan Davis, Director of Onslow County Animal Services. "And the reason why we receive so many dogs and cats is because of the failure of people to spay and neuter."

In county run animal shelters in Eastern Carolina, nearly 20,000 animals were euthanized in 2012. That number doesn't include animals put down in Washington, Hyde, Jones and Duplin Counties that didn't report numbers to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture.

Tyrrel County had the highest percentage of animals euthanized at 88 percent. They were followed by Martin County at 79 percent, and the Craven-Pamlico shelter at 77 percent.

Determining what animals are put down is an ongoing struggle for shelter directors.

"First we look at the animals temperament. If they're happy and healthy and friendly, we make every effort to put them up for adoption. Space is always an issue," said Smith.

State law requires shelters to hold stray animals for at least 72 hours, which sometimes leaves shelters no other choice but to euthanize animals that could be adopted.

The Humane Society of Eastern Carolina is the only no kill shelter in the the eastern portion of the state. They help surrounding shelters by taking some of their animals and holding them at their facility until they are adopted.

Some of the animals they hold would have been euthanized in other shelters. Instead, they are getting a second chance at finding a loving home.

For more information on shelters in the story, you can visit their websites listed below:
Pitt County: http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/pittcoanimalshelter.html
Onslow County: http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/NC07.html
Craven-Pamlico: http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/cpasc.html
Martin County: http://www.martincountyncgov.com/AnimalControl
Humane Society of Eastern Carolina: http://www.hsecarolina.org/
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