WHITEVILLE -- The Columbus County Humane Society and animal activists are upset. They say the Columbus County Animal Control shelter does not treat its pets in a humane way and spent the afternoon protesting the facility's actions. Over 100 people came together in Whiteville to raise awareness of animal cruelty that they say is going on in the county. Animal rights activist Richard Hebb said, "We wanted to get out here and show our support and try to change things a little." Hebb recently picked up a kitten named Mousetrap from the Columbus County Animal Control. "The kitten's eyes were glued shut with crust and the cage was overcrowded and they dump food on top of the cats. They were even afraid to touch them themselves." Hebb isn't the only one who says the animals are treated cruelly. North Carolina Humane Society president Peter MacQueen said, "Animal control employees, including the manager, have been shooting animals indiscriminately rather than making an effort to catch them." But to safely catch the animals isn't MacQueen's only concern. He wants to change the way dogs and cats are euthanized. The Human Society president says animal control puts 8-20 dogs and cats into a small gas chamber. After the gas is turned on animals become frightened and fight for several minutes. MacQueen said, "Some animals when they're gassed together like that, they don't breath enough gas and can't go into unconsciousness -- and so those animals end up waking up in a landfill coming back to life." Now he's calling for a change. "Stop using the gas chambers and change to a more human lethal injection," MacQueen said. "The county commissioners, the county manager has ignored the request." When NewsChannel 3 asked the county commissioner chair Sammie Jacobs for a response to the accusations he said that Animal Control is doing everything by state code and that the humane society is misstating the facts. But Hebb says he knows what he saw. "The cage was pretty small. They were just smushed, there was only one feeding bowl and they dumped the food on top of them there, then the cats were fighting over it." The concerned citizens hope their hours of protesting makes a difference in at least one animal's life. We were unable to contact animal control because the office is closed on the weekends. But we will try to reach them on Monday to hear their side of the story.
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