Target: Bryon Lashley, Director of the Robeson County Animal Shelter
Goal: Reduce the number of animals euthanized
The Robeson County Animal Shelter in North Carolina currently has one of the highest euthanization rates in the country, and sadly, this number continues to get worse. A staff turnover in 2012 is to blame and the new facility managers claim that they cannot find a way to reverse the trend; however, several investigators from local animal rights groups say neglect and a lack of concern plague the shelter. Regardless of who is to blame, something must be done to keep this shelter from killing more animals than it saves.
In 2012 the Robeson County Animal Shelter euthanized 82 percent of its cats and 70 percent of its dogs. They take in between 400 and 600 dogs and cats each month, meaning they euthanized roughly 4,000 animals last year. Nearly 400 were euthanized in May 2013 alone. Those numbers will likely be even higher by the end of this year. The surrounding counties were roughly half that, which means that the cause lies within the shelter itself and not its location. Susan Barrett, co-founder of the North Carolina Shelter Rescue Inc. in Winston-Salem, which takes animals from shelters and places them in foster homes, has kept an eye on the shelter and says it continues to turn away volunteers, does not post enough photos of the animals up for adoption on its website, and mistreats the animals.
Perhaps the saddest story to come out of this is one in which a friend of Barrett’s who visited the Robeson County shelter was reprimanded for taking a photo of a dog up for adoption. The woman showed the picture to a friend who subsequently adopted the dog. Barrett says, “That dog got a chance of life because someone took a picture of him. Why does Robeson fear pictures and cameras?” Barrett’s argument is sound. High-quality photographs of animals are free to take, free to post and share, and have proven to be the most successful way to increase adoption rates, so why is it that this particular shelter refuses to utilize such a simple tool?
It is difficult to put into words this degree of negligence and complete lack of empathy. Something must be done immediately to end this horrible slaughter. If a faculty turnover is what caused the increase in euthanization, then perhaps a faculty turnover is needed to set it right. Either way, thousands of animals shouldn’t be losing their lives while the shelter tries to figure it out. Please sign the petition below to demand that the Robeson County Animal Shelter do something immediately to dramatically reduce the number of animals it euthanizes each year.
Dear Bryon Lashley,
Last year alone the Robeson County Animal Shelter euthanized roughly 4,000 animals. This amounts to 82 percent of its cats and 70 percent of its dogs. These numbers are simply unforgivable and there is no excuse for it. The shelter continues to claim that it doesn’t know what the problem is or how to solve it, yet the shelters in the surrounding counties don’t seem to be having this issue.
Shelters across the country have managed to decrease their euthanasia rates and even reach no-kill status by cheap and effective means, the simplest of which are photographs. Every dog or cat should have its own set of quality photographs from the moment it enters the shelter. You also claim that you don’t have any choice to euthanize because of space, but this simply isn’t true either. Establishing foster homes or even connections with larger shelters in surrounding states where you could send animals when the Robeson shelter is full would dramatically reduce costs and the number of animals you are forced to euthanize. The bottom line is that it is the shelter’s job to find homes, not kill. If you are killing more animals than you are finding homes for you aren’t trying hard enough. Euthanization should only happen when all other options have been exhausted. Please do something immediately to make sure this is the case.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Kelly Mayo via The Robesonian