All creatures must go

When the N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services closed the All Creatures Great and Small animal shelter in Hendersonville last month, it inherited a big problem: the more than 130 dogs and nearly 30 cats remaining there. Many of the animals had health problems due to chronic neglect; many more of them had behavioral problems. All of them needed a home.

Happy ending: Spider, a pit bull, was one of nearly 140 dogs that found a new home during Operation Move Out.

On Feb. 1, state officials and area volunteers arrived in Hendersonville to remedy the situation. After four days of cleanup, the shelter was reopened. Two days later, “Operation MoveOut” was suspended for the best of all reasons—all of the animals were gone. They had been adopted by individuals, by families and by animal-welfare groups from as close as Hendersonville and as far away as central Florida.

“The public response was incredible,” says Jennifer Nixon, a public information officer with NCDA&CS. Along with shelters from Florida and Virginia, the Skyland-based Animal Compassion Network as well as the Asheville Humane Society also helped find homes and fostering situations for many of the pets.

“We were able to bring 20 of the cats and 10 of the dogs into our foster care network,” says Eileen Bouressa, ACN director. “While many are still under medical treatment, we are confident that all will heal well and quickly adjust to life with a family.”

NCDA&CS’s Nixon says that some of the animals had lived a cage their entire lives. “They don’t have basic manners,” she says. “That’s why we wanted to work with humane organizations—we knew that they would work with these animals to get them into appropriate homes.”

A privately run shelter, All Creatures Great and Small was closed by the state after being found in violation of the N.C. Animal Welfare Act. A media campaign by PETA helped bring widespread attention to its animals’ plight.

To bring one of “Operation MoveOut” animals into your home, visit the ACN Web site ( or call Henderson County Animal Control at 697-4723.


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