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LUMBERTON – The Robeson County Animal Shelter has euthanized the smallest number of dogs and cats in 2020 since 2010, according to reports from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Animal Shelters.

In 2010, the shelter received a total of 4,515 animals and euthanized 2,073, or about 46% of that population, according to reports from the shelter. In 2020, the shelter received 4,530 and euthanized 2,526, or about 56% of this population.

Although the euthanasia rate is still the highest in the state, there were 1,559 fewer animals killed in Robeson County in 2020 than the year before. And animals euthanized in 2020 made up 56% of the total population, while animals slaughtered in 2019 made up 77%.

Several factors contributed to the decrease in euthanasia procedures at the shelter in 2020, including COVID-19, according to Bill Smith, director of the Robeson County Department of Public Health, which manages the shelter.

The pandemic has caused fewer interactions with humans and unattached dogs and cats, he said. This decrease in interaction led to fewer calls.

“Plus, we were short on animal control staff, so a lot of annoying calls were replaced with bigger ones,” Smith said.

The shelter’s capacity and reception during this time also helped, he said.

“Animals are euthanized for reasons of space or to prevent the spread of disease. Since there are a limited number of pens that the animals can run around in, which is part of our permit, we need to stay below that number, ”Smith said. “We didn’t have the endless crushing of animals in the summer that stretched our capacity.”

Rescue groups are “in constant contact,” but the total number of rescues the shelter works with has remained “about the same,” Smith said. Most of the rescues are located beyond the county.

The shelter works with about 10 relief organizations, according to shelter manager Jason Allison.

Although the numbers show little progress, there is still a lot of progress to be made.

Allison said shelter workers were doing their best. He hopes to continue the downward trend in euthanasia procedures at the shelter as he sees more adoptions by future pet owners.

“I would really like to see the number of adoptions increase,” he said. “I would love to see this more than relying on rescues.”

Allison said he would love to see more potential owners come in, connect with the animals and provide them with happy and healthy family lives.

The director of the shelter said he knew what it was.

“I have three shelter dogs. They are the best dogs ever, ”said Allison.

Members of the public can also find sterilization and sterilization programs to control the animal population, he said. For more information on the NC sterilization and sterilization program, visit https://www.ncagr.gov/vet/aws/fix/index.htm.

“Be responsible,” Allison said.

Local animal rescues, like Saving Grace Dog Rescue Robeson County, hope their work will continue to save animals from euthanasia this year. The Dog Rescue, which started operating in Lumberton in March, is an extension of Wake Forest-based Saving Grace Animals for Adoption, which has worked with the Robeson County shelter for about 10 years.

The Lumberton location has rescued more than 250 dogs in Robeson County since March and a total of around 500 this year, according to Molly Goldston, CEO and founder of Wake Forest and Lumberton Rescue Operations.

“The reason we decided to open here is to have an impact on these numbers. When we can get the animals out before they get to the shelter, it also helps their numbers, ”said Samantha Bennett, site manager for Robeson County.

Goldston said the organization has saved 1,000 dogs from the county each year. All rescues are then sterilized or sterilized.

“We built our hospitality program in Raleigh to accommodate the overwhelming number of unwanted animals in Robeson, but we need more local help to have even larger numbers,” Goldston said.

It will take partnerships and collaboration with other animal welfare groups to affect the number of euthanasia in the future, Bennett said.

“Only by working together in rescue and animal control services can we ever understand this. Euthanasia rates will also drop significantly when there are more low cost sterilization / sterilization programs, which we intend to implement, ”Bennett said.

John Graves, a representative for the Best Friends Animal Society, spoke to Robeson County Commissioners on Monday and said the organization was working with local animal rescues and community partners to help reduce euthanasia at the refuge. He also said he was working to contact representatives of the shelters.

“We’ve been working here in Robeson for about two years, mainly to support different rescue partners,” Graves said.

The Kanab, Utah-based nonprofit wants to end euthanasia, Graves said. Part of the reduction in the number of euthanasia in Robeson County was due to working with community partners.

“So far this year, we have invested around $ 103,000 in different community partners to take the animals out of the shelter and bring different resources to the community,” he said.

The Best Friends Animal Society is looking to bring more low-cost spay / neuter and vaccination programs to county pet owners, which is a high priority due to its euthanasia statistics.

“We know that, you know, your shelter and no shelter wants to be euthanized,” Graves told commissioners.

“So what we’re also looking (to) is to connect more directly with the leaders of Robeson County to maximize our efforts and impact to reach the people who need it most. That’s what we’re here for, ”said Graves.

For more information on adopting pets at shelters or to get involved, call the County Animal Shelter at 910-865-2200 or email [email protected] nc.us.

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