Pets released for adoption

Published 8:56 am Tuesday, July 14, 2009

WINDSOR – The dog days of summer haven’t officially begun, but you can’t tell that in Bertie County.

Monday morning Bertie County Sheriff Greg Atkins released nearly 50 dogs for adoption. The pets have been held since May 7 when they were taken in connection with an animal cruelty case in the town of Lewiston Woodville.

Working on a tip, the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office and Lewiston Woodville Police Department served a search warrant on Stephen Kyprianides of Hancock Street in Lewiston Woodville. Once entering the home, they found 46 dogs and three cats living in the home.

At the time, Sheriff Atkins called the filth indescribable.

The animals were then taken into custody by the Bertie County Animal Shelter and some were taken to the Chowan County Animal Shelter.

Kyprianides was later charged with 39 counts of animal cruelty in connection with the case.

Since that time, the animals have been held at the Bertie County Animal Shelter.

The sheriff, however, through County Attorney Lloyd Smith filed a petition to have the animals taken care of at the owner’s expense or to have them released.

North Carolina General Statute 19A-70 allows that “the operator of the shelter may file a petition with the court requesting that the defendant be ordered to deposit funds in an amount sufficient to secure payment of all the reasonable expenses expected to be incurred by the animal shelter in caring for and providing for the animal pending the disposition of the litigation.”

Sheriff Atkins, with the support of the Bertie County Board of Commissioners, filed the petition and the court agreed that Kyprianides would have to post the money to pay for expenses. He had until 5 p.m. Friday (July 10) to do so and did not.

At that time, Sheriff Atkins released the dogs for adoption.

“After the five days, we took ownership of the dogs,” Sheriff Atkins said. “Since that happened, I have released them for adoption and we are working with the Bertie County Humane Society to find them good homes.”

According to Nancy Miller with the Bertie County Humane Society, there are approximately 58 dogs total (some puppies were born after the dogs were taken) and approximately 48 of those are available for adoption.

“The man who had them had the intention of trying to save their lives and that’s what we’re trying to do also by attempting to find them great homes,” she said.

While the animals are in the possession of the sheriff, the Bertie County Humane Society has agreed to help find them homes. Anyone wishing to adopt a dog should contact the Humane Society at 325-DOGS (325-3647). There will be no adoption fee, but the person adopting the animal must agree to have it spayed or neutered.

“We want people who are going to care for them and give them good homes,” Miller said.

Bertie County Animal Control Officer Skip Dunlow said the dogs could be viewed whenever someone was interested by driving to the animal shelter which is located off County Farm Road.

No adoptions had occurred as of early Monday morning, but the sheriff and Bertie County Humane Society volunteers hoped they would begin soon.

For more information or to arrange to see the animals available for adoption – which include the 48 dogs and two cats, call 325-DOGS.