Columbus County animal activists gather to raise awareness

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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I am so happy to see attention brough to this matter!! This place should be shut down if all they do is kill animals. It serves no purpose to anyone if the animals just get killed. This place should be converted to a low cost spay neuter clinic so that the community can start acting responsibly with their pets. The pet homlessness problem was created by humans and now we need to take responisibility and fix it. We owe it to the animals who die everyday simply for being homeless!!!!

I am thankful for the people who are trying to put an end to the cruel way society let alone the (state facilities who treat animals with such a cruel way) are trying to help. If people can treat any animal that way imagine what they can or would do to their own. It is time the USA started helping God's creatures instead of senseless brutality. It is not the fault of the animals that they were bought and dumped not spayed/neutered, what did they expect or even think when the young ones come along, and without the love or caring of human touch, what else can they do. Trust is not a factor until earned from the Feral cats and wild dogs. These animals know when there is good and bad in a person. WAKE UP
Euthanasia of dogs and cats is an unfortunate result of overpopulation and irresponsible ownership. While it is not pleasant to do or know about, it should always be performed in a legal manner. Laws pertaining to Animal Control and the Animal Welfare Act are at: www.NCLaws.net. Euthanasia guidelines are found via the AVMA., should you want the facts. The community and Animal Control would be best served by Columbus County citizens enacting their own ordinance to dictate how euthanasia is performed and educating citizens to avoid and to decrease dog and cat euthanasia. Columbus County has a population of approximately 55,000, New Hanovers' population is around 161,000. Shelters generally are built, populated and funded based on population and tax base, not geographic size. That's my 2 cents.