I am writing in regards to the recent temporary closing of the Rutherford County Animal Shelter. A representative from the shelter was on the news this week to announce that the state was forcing them to close temporarily to do some necessary maintenance on the facility. She mentioned that whatever animals remained there at the close of business on Sept. 3 would be euthanized. On Sept. 2 the, Asheville Citizen-Times ran a very short article mentioning their closing and the possible euthanasia of the remaining 70 animals.
To the best of my knowledge, this shelter made little or no effort to contact any of the other shelters or rescue groups in the area to see if they could take any of the remaining animals.
I contacted the Animal Compassion Network on Sept. 2 and was told they first heard of the situation when they read the article in the paper and they immediately took action to see how they could help.
I called the Community Pet Center [that was] mentioned in the AC-T article. The woman I spoke with said they work closely with the Rutherford County Animal Shelter and were notified by the shelter on August 27 about the closure and they contacted WLOS and other forms of media to get the word out.
It appears that the animal shelter made no effort to try and adopt out these animals. They didn’t extend their hours or reduce adoption fees to encourage people to adopt. (The Asheville Humane Society recently had a very successful free adoption event.) They don’t have a list of animals available for adoption on their website, and they have seven animals listed on Petfinder, a fraction of the animals they actually have (27 dogs and seven cats). When my colleague called the shelter yesterday to ask about fostering a dog until they re-opened, the shelter was not interested. They were more concerned about getting rid of the animals permanently.
What kind of a “shelter” is this? If this is their normal way of business, they need a new group of people managing it. A shelter that is not focused on the animals in its care should not be allowed to continue operating in such a manner. If the state is closing them for repairs it apparently has other issues as well. There are many shelters and rescue groups in the area willing to help as can be seen by the quick reaction of the Animal Compassion Network who responded as soon as they became aware of the problem.
We thankfully live in an area with a huge amount of compassion for animals and to see this situation handled so poorly is very disturbing.
Will anything change when they open back up?
— Laurie Smith