COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- Dozens of animal rights activists from across the state told Columbus County Commissioners that changes need to be made at the county's animal shelter.
Last week more than a dozen dogs were euthanized after the shelters director said he didn't have enough space.
Two weeks ago the owner of the 13 dogs, Bill Parker died. After his death his family decided that they could no longer care for the animals and surrendered them to the Columbus County Animal Shelter.
His widow says she did not know the animals she loved and nurtured would be sentenced to death.
"I can understand a couple of them being gone because they didn't have the room for them, but a couple and all are two different words," said Tracy Parker.
Parker addressed Commissioners Monday night. She says they need to make changes to the County's euthanization policy.
"They were my babies. They were my husband's babies. My husband always said that he would go without food to feed his dogs, we always made a way," said Tracy Parker.
Rossie Hayes, director of the animal shelter says this experience has taken a toll on him emotionally and physically. He says he has spent the past 18 years helping to find homes for animals and that in this particular situation he had to use his best judgment.
"What we want to do is raise awareness of these actions and make sure that the laws are followed in this shelter. We want to make sure that the animals are given the time that we believe they need to find forever homes," said Lynn Cristwell.
Cristwell is an animal activist and has taken her message to social media where more than 8,000 people have signed an online petition asking for Hayes to be fired.
Hayes says his shelter has one of the lowest kill rates in our area and that he is dedicated to saving animals.