Rowan bars local resident from coming to animal shelter

Published 12:21 pm Monday, September 19, 2016

By Josh Bergeron

SALISBURY — Rowan County has banned people from animal shelter adoptions before, but on Monday it went one step further.

The Rowan County Animal Shelter has banned Patty Bishop, who runs a nonprofit called Precious Furbaby Rescue, from being on the premises of the facility. In a letter to Bishop, Rowan County notes a recent letter from the N.C. Department of Agriculture and “continued harassment of citizens and staff.” The letter is dated Sept. 19.

In the letter, from Animal Services Director Bob Pendergrass, Bishop is given the option to appeal the decision in six months.

It’s the second time in a year that Rowan County has restricted the access of people to animal shelter services. Earlier this year, county officials barred Jennifer Frasier, who ran Perfect Purbaby Rescue, from adopting cats at the shelter. She was charged and later cleared of animal abandonment charges. Frasier was never banned from being on shelter premises, and the county lifted the restriction after charges were dropped.

Although they’re nearly identical in name, Frasier’s nonprofit group is not the same as the one that Bishop runs.

On Sept. 6, the N.C. Department of Agriculture sent a letter to Bishop notifying her that she was operating a private animal shelter without a registration. During the Department of Agriculture’s visit to Bishop’s facility, an inspector viewed outside animals and records, but Bishop didn’t allow access to animals housed inside, according to the letter.

When asked about the state’s decision, Bishop emphasized that state inspectors “did not take one animal from me.” She largely declined to speak about other aspects of the case, directing any other inquiries to a woman named Marianna Burt, who Bishop said was her attorney.

Burt largely didn’t speak specifically about Bishop’s case, instead saying the Department of Agriculture is trying to regulate “burgeoning animal rescue activities.” Burt said “some disgruntled person made a complaint to the Department of Agriculture.”

Rowan based its decision mostly on the state’s finding, according to the county’s letter to Bishop.

Pendergrass said the Rowan County Animal Shelter will provide services it’s required to. However, Pendergrass asks that Bishop call ahead if she plans to visit the shelter.

“We realize that some services may be due to you by our facility — i.e. finalizing rabies vaccinations on kittens adopted too young to vaccinate,” Pendergrass writes in his letter. “We will be prepared to facilitate those services as conveniently as possible, coming to your care if necessary.”

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.