Commissioners to discuss move to a no-kill animal shelter

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 2, 2014

The future treatment of adoptable pets at the Rowan County Animal Shelter as well as animal euthanasia practices could change dramatically Monday when commissioners gather for their 3 p.m. meeting.
A Feb. 19 letter authored by Vice Chairman Craig Pierce and addressed to his fellow commissioners revealed a series of unapproved plans calling for many changes, including using only lethal injection to put down animals starting in April.
That’s just the start.
Pierce wrote commissioners’ intentions are for the shelter to be fully operational and certified as “no-kill” by the end of the year.
“We, the county commissioners, want to elevate Rowan County and its citizens to the highest standard of living possible,” Pierce wrote. “We see this opportunity to take our county from one of the last counties to end the use of the gas chamber to one of the first to have a no-kill shelter.”
The letter serves as a proposal for commissioners to consider regarding changes to existing animal control operations.
Dozens of animal rights advocates already have staged three protests of the county using a gas chamber to put down animals, as well as advocating for the establishment of a no-kill shelter.
The proposal states the county should apply to Kim Alboum, the state’s Humane Society director, for a grant to fund the removal of the shelter’s gas chamber.
Receiving the grant will mean the permanent end of using gas as a method of euthanasia for animals.
In Pierce’s letter, a veterinarian also will be hired to assess animals taken to the shelter to help administer appropriate medical care, and all adoptable animals will be sterilized before leaving.
The cost associated with these procedures will be factored into adoption fees, and a one-time cost to accommodate the necessary equipment to sterilize animals will be added to this year’s budget, the proposal states.
A location in West End Plaza will be transformed to serve as an adoption center for the county for animal control, and the proposed center will be staffed by county employees and operate with extended hours that are “convenient for citizens to view and adopt the animals.”
Volunteers potentially will be able to participate in the grooming, exercising, feeding and cleaning of the animals as long as those volunteers adhere to the rules set forth by animal control.
Among changes in the proposal is the county will request from the Rowan County Health Department that animal control be moved to a separate department that will be directed by the county manager.
The purpose of the transition, Pierce wrote, is to “streamline the operation, allow for more direct input and make policy changes efficiently.”
Commissioners also will consider six proposed leases for businesses at West End Plaza.
If approved, leases for Urban Trends and GQ Men’s Wear will run through March 3, 2019.
Leases for Bee Yang Alterations, Peking Chinese Restaurant and Super Nails will run through 2017 while Lisa’s Hair Salon will be up for renewal again next year.
China Grove also is celebrating its 125th anniversary, and commissioners plan to honor the town with a proclamation.
Commissioners also will look at approving the donation of 13 MSA brand, self-contained breathing apparatuses to the Rowan County Rescue Squad.
In a memo to Rowan County Manager Gary Page, Rowan Sheriff Kevin Auten said the detention center has deemed the air packs “surplus equipment” due to recent changes in jail standards.
The devices ultimately will help the squad in serving the county’s citizens for years to come, Auten wrote.