01/10/06 — Mount Olive board members sign petition for new shelter

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Mount Olive board members sign petition for new shelter

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on January 10, 2006 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Town board members have signed a petition calling for a new animal shelter in Wayne County.

Doris Petrak and Melanie Ladd asked the Mount Olive town board of commissioners during their regular meeting Monday night at Town Hall to visit the county's animal shelter, but to be sure to bring an "extra pair of boots and a gas mask."

The conditions at the shelter are deplorable, said the women, who are members of a group called Concerned Citizens for a New Wayne County Animal Shelter. They have been going to the town board meetings requesting support for their cause.

Ms. Petrak said she rescues dogs, and she has taken some of the animals out of deplorable conditions.

"But they were not as bad as at the conditions at the county's shelter," she said.

The group is raising a petition to present to county commissioners calling for a state-of-the-art shelter, "insulated, with the right sunlight and fresh air." The group wants a shelter that is not a no-kill shelter, but has less killing and more adoptions. But the animals would be adopted out only after they have been spayed or neutered and given their rabies shots.

About 7,000 animals go through the county's shelter each year, Ms. Ladd said. Most are destroyed by use of carbon monoxide gas.

The county's shelter, built 50 years ago, is one of the oldest in the state, she said.

"It was built for the sole purpose of getting them and keeping them off the streets," she said. "There are no resources for adoptions."

She said animal control officer Jerry Pate told her when he first started working at the shelter 20 years ago only about five stray animals would come in during a week. Today, she said, at least five animals are coming into the shelter in a day.

The county's shelter is a health risk to the people who work there as well as the animals being held, she said.

She said county officials have been talking about building a new shelter for three years now, and the price tag keeps going up. The latest price tag she has heard is $1.2 million.

Town commissioner Kenny Talton said he was skeptical when he first saw the price tag for a new animal shelter.

But Monday he went out to see it.

"It was like you said," he told the women. "It was tough seeing those conditions."