Columbus County Animal Shelter fined thousands for violations

Columbus County Animal Shelter located at 288 Legion Drive in Whiteville. (Photo: WWAY)

COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Columbus County has to pay a $6,100 fine for violations at the animal shelter.

According to a letter to the county manager from the state, the county has less than 60 days to decide to pay the civil penalty or file a written petition for a contested case hearing.

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During an inspection by the state on January 3, a dog was found in an enclosure with an injured leg.

The inspector wrote that the dog was there for two weeks before it was taken to the vet, where an exam revealed the dog had a broken leg.

The dog was then subsequently not given pain medication for four days after the visit. The dog was transferred to another rescue, who then took the dog to another veterinarian for surgery. The dog’s leg had to be amputated, in large part due to the delay in veterinary care.

The inspector also wrote that three cats were found in very small transport carriers behind the building.

The shelter director reportedly didn’t know they were there and said the cats had been taken for spay/neuter surgeries the day before. The report says the animals were without food, water, and litter pan for at least 15 hours.

The inspector asked another employee about the cats who relayed a signed statement that she knew that cats were not behind the shelter when she did a walk-through the morning on Jan. 3.

Days later on Jan. 7, the employee told the inspector that she lied and confessed she had placed the cats in the carriers behind the shelter on Jan. 3 because she was supposed to have called the farm where the animals were expected to go, but had forgotten to make the call. She further stated that she had placed the cats there so that the shelter director would not see them and be angry for forgetting to call the farm.

The inspections also revealed the shelter was experiencing a roach problem. In all, the inspector noted a total of 16 violations.

The county was notified of the civil penalty in a letter sent late last month. The letter states the shelter needs to develop and implement written protocols and corrective action to address violations.

WWAY reached out to the Animal Shelter Director Loretta Shipman and she had initially agreed to talk on camera, but, when we arrived, she said the county’s attorney would not let her speak.

County Attorney Amanda Prince also would not comment on the civil penalty or violations.

Linda Pinyan says she’s lived in the county for 15 years and she has never liked the way the shelter operated.

“There’s got to be a better way of what they do,” Pinyan said. “I was told Fridays… they could have changed the day… but there was a day that they would destroy what dogs they had left.”

Euthanizations were not an issue during this most recent inspection, but this animal shelter did pay a $5,000 fine for euthanizing dogs just two days after they were impounded back in 2015.

Prince says with employees at fault she is waiting to release a statement.