Animal control is messy business

Published 9:22 pm Friday, June 19, 2009

We all love animals and it would be wonderful if every animal that came to local shelters were well-fed, happy and well taken care of.

Unfortunately, that just isn’t the case. Some of the animals are simply not healthy enough to be adopted. North Carolina law requires those animals to be kept for three days anyway.

Yes, it’s a good idea to make absolutely certain an animal can’t be nursed back to health and then adopted to a home that will take it in and give it a loving an nurturing home.

When that isn’t possible, however, and it is necessary to euthanize the animal there is no reason for the five-day requirement that is currently in Bertie County’s animal control ordinance. The tax-payers can’t afford to take care of an animal for an extra two days that is just going to be euthanized anyway.

It may not seem like much, but taking care of 100 dogs two extra days – which certainly is possible in a year’s time – adds 200 days of care for animals that are to be euthanized. The cost adds up quickly.

Not only is the cost something that must be considered, but also the limited amount of space in the animal shelter. Animal Control Officer Skip Dunlow has his hands full trying to make the best of what the county can provide without having to suffer through an overcrowding problem.

Everyone is right – animals should be well taken care of and we need to adopt as many as possible, but it needs to be done within the realm of reality. As Bertie County Sheriff Greg Atkins said, animal control is an ugly business. It has to be run humanely, but also with common sense.

We hope all of the members of the committee appointed by the Bertie County Commissioners to study this issue will work together to do what is in the best interest of everyone, even if the decisions are difficult.