N.C. Dept. of Agriculture conducts animal welfare survey: Speak up now

People who care about dogs and cats often feel helpless to stop the needless killing of thousands of adoptable animals. Here is a chance to make a difference. The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has been authorized by the General Assembly to conduct a study of companion animal issues. The study will focus on laws and regulations regarding cats and dogs, oversight of public and private animal shelters, the state's spay/neuter program, puppy mills and consumer protection for people buying sick animals. The study will also focus on ways to reduce the number of animals killed in our shelters. The N.C. Dept. of Health’s 2008 figures show that over 200,000 unwanted animals were killed in shelters (only two-thirds of counties reporting), at a cost of $30 million (sheltering only, not animal control).

The N.C. Dept. of Agriculture is looking to the public for ideas to improve the lives of dogs and cats. If you want to make suggestions on issues such as strengthening animal-cruelty laws, licensing and regulating puppy mills, spay/neuter funding, banning the gas chamber, animal hoarding, banning chaining, requiring identification on animals, requiring shelters to spay/neuter before adoption — or any ideas that would further animal welfare — send your comments to animalwelfarestudy@ncagr.gov.

Be specific in your suggestions, such as [proposing] reconsidering a minimal tax on pet food to fund the state's spay/neuter program. There isn't an official deadline for comments, but the results will be presented to the General Assembly early next year. Time is of the essence.

— Terri David

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