Fixes pass inspection

Jan. 15, 2013 @ 07:11 PM

Both sides are satisfied for now after a state inspector visited Vance County’s animal shelter to verify some measures that were taken to improve conditions.

Frankie Nobles, the director for the shelter, said on Tuesday that following up on a Jan. 2 visit, Joe Bloomquist from the state animal welfare division made a complaint-related visit on Monday and Friday of last week, ending the week on a positive note.

“We passed on all points,” Nobles said.

The Humane Society of Eastern North Carolina filed the complaint with the N.C. Department of Agriculture’s animal welfare division, specifying more than a dozen problems that prompted the additional inspections by the state.

Peter MacQueen, the president of HSENC, said he was happy to see the work being done on what could be done in the near term, but larger problems continue that the small shelter can’t solve. MacQueen is hopeful work on moving to a new planned facility will be urgent.

“I believe the state is required to send an inspector out when there is a complaint,” MacQueen said. “I think it is good that they went over there and that the county did make some changes that needed to be made.”

Some problems that shelter workers were able to implement last week include flat surfaces for cats to walk and rest on, new plastic food and water containers and better sheltering for cats.

“They moved them over to a covered carport area,” MacQueen said. “While it’s warmer than they were before, it is still near the dogs. They did make some changes, including a fix for those guillotine doors.”

“The ones we have now are like pet doors you have in a house,” Nobles said. “The dogs can come and go as they please.”

Heating was another area of improvement met by an additional heating element.

A couple remaining problems include the stacked kennels and a substandard quarantine procedure because there is no isolation facility, according to MacQueen.

Nobles acknowledged the points, even as another quarantine dog came in on Tuesday. The procedure is to keep the dog, there from a rabid raccoon fight at 440 Rowland St., in Henderson, separate from other animals.

Because of the small facility, contact with people is possible, but signs are posted as a warning.

“The problem with our facility is the public still can have contact with animals under quarantine,” Nobles said. “In a new facility, there would be no contact possible with animals separated for quarantine reasons.”

“The facility does not maintain a proper isolation or quarantine area,” MacQueen said. “That is an acknowledged violation of the animal welfare act.”

Nobles said the state understands small older animal shelters lack up-to-standard quarantine conditions, and passes on enforcing the point because of that recognition.

“We just don’t have the area for that,” Nobles said.

County Manager Jerry Ayscue has indicated preparations are under way for a new shelter to be built on donated land, and the county will act to make sure that a sunset clause of four years on the land availability does not pass.

“Vance County is moving in the direction of building a new facility,” Ayscue said.

The quarantine dog represents the first finding of a rabid animal in Vance County for 2013. A rabid raccoon was killed by two dogs at 440 Rowland St. The other dog was up to date on rabies shots, requiring only a vaccination boost.

The rabies test on the raccoon came back positive Tuesday afternoon.

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.