WILMINGTON -- It's been in the works for years, and Wednesday, the state is one step closer to standardizing euthanasia practices at county animal shelters. The goal is to ensure the process is as humane as possible. Currently the guidelines for euthanizing animals vary widely from county to county. Dozens of strays in New Hanover County are now up for adoption at Animal Control. Officials say these animals are contributing to the area's pet overpopulation and are eventually euthanized if they aren't adopted. County Animal Control Services Director Jean McNeil says one of the biggest contributors to the problem is breeding for the sake of breeding. Most of the time, she says, pet owners won't find homes for animals they breed and depend on animal control to do it for them. McNeil said, "They expect us to find homes for animals that we know nothing about. I wish that our job was not so necessary, but people continue to be irresponsible pet owners by breeding indiscriminately." McNeil says another problem contributing to pet overpopulation -- not neutering or spaying pets. As a temporary solution she says all of the animals at animal control are fixed before getting put up for adoption. McNeil says thousands of pets are euthanized each year. If you'd like to help rescue an animal from getting put down, there are several local organizations like Animal Control, the Humane Society and Adopt-an-Angel that help many four-legged friends find homes.
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