Letter to the Editor (Submitted to The Pilot January 22, 2020 – Status: Unpublished)
The recent Pilot editorial attempting to evaluate the latest animal-killing crisis in Moore County is somewhat misleading. Although well-intentioned prevention programs are helpful in reducing animal intake (although not eliminating it) they are not an exclusive solution. Certainly, the kill numbers would be even more appalling but nobody can determine with exactitude to what extent. They are non-quantifiable and do not prevent the ongoing killing of adoptable animals currently at our public “shelter” at the alarming rate of nearly 100 per month.
The urgency of saving lives already at risk today seems to be a lower priority and that is morally unacceptable. These prevention programs form only part of a comprehensive strategy to achieve the ultimate objective of killing no adoptable animals, something other communities in North Carolina have done. The strategy includes some, if not all, of the following: (i) fostering robust volunteer programs; (ii) extensive internet adoption marketing initiatives and frequent local adoption events; (iii) substantive relationships with northern rescue groups where demand for rescues is significantly higher; (iv) intake counselling and assistance to reduce owner surrenders; (v) engaging more citizens in phases of all processes and providing access; (vi) working with and supporting local, private rescue organizations; and (vii) legislating mandatory registration and mixed-breed spay/neuter with appropriate exceptions for sporting animals and qualified breeders.
The editorial suggests that the previous reduction of animals killed in 2017 (592 versus 3,115 in 2007) was due to prevention programs. Perhaps partially but the efforts of local rescue groups, much needed scrutiny of operations eventually resulting in personnel change, and an effective volunteer program were more responsible for the improvement.
Misplaced priorities and an incomplete approach will not solve the problem. In the last five years 4,557 animals were killed here. This community must step up, speak out and demand change.