August 20, 2008

Humane Society Shelter is Subpar


EDEN -- The Rockingham County Humane Society needs help making upgrades to its shelter after failing an inspection by the N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services.

Problems include inadequate ventilation, exposing animals to disease and improper food storage.

Sue Holland, president of the Humane Society, said the changes will be costly, given that the shelter operates largely through donations .

"It all comes from fundraisers and volunteers," Holland said. "And we've been writing some grants and getting money from individuals."

The Humane Society has 30 days to get started on the upgrades. A follow-up visit will be made in September.

A complaint brought state animal health technician Darrell Merritt to the shelter on Thursday. In his report, Merritt noted that animals were exposed to wood inside the shelter. Wood is hard to disinfect, and disease-causing germs can penetrate it, Merritt said Tuesday.

Ventilation fans need to be placed inside all rooms that house animals, Merritt said. In addition, there were seven pens on the outside of the building -- one with no shade and the other six with tarps tied at the top. The dog runs were also wet.

Merritt also said there was a severe fly problem on the day he visited, and food was improperly stored on the floor.

Holland said she plans to put up shower board, a water-resistant material that's easy to clean, to protect the animals from the wood paneling.

Holland said the shelter also needs to replace its air conditioners, which were stolen last month. Morehead Memorial Hospital donated the one air-conditioning unit the shelter currently has, she said.

The Rockingham County Humane Society is a nonprofit, no-kill shelter, Holland said. It is not affiliated with the Rockingham County Animal Shelter in Reidsville.

The Humane Society has been in its location on Boone Road for about two years, and it is staffed completely by volunteers.

On Monday, the shelter housed about 100 dogs and cats, Holland said.

Before the inspection, Holland and her staff already had plans for sprucing up the building, she said.

On Monday afternoon, Humane Society vice president Angie Jones and volunteer Derick Ranhorn used yellow paint to touch up areas along a hallway. And Holland pointed to a storage room that she said she would love to fix up to house the majority of her cat population.

Holland says the shelter has high adoption rates for animals in her care. "We adopt dogs out about as fast as we get them," Holland said.

All animals adopted from the Humane Society are considered rescue animals.

In addition to shelter, the Humane Society offers monthly low- cost spay and neuter clinics.

Contact Jonnelle Davis at 627-4881, Ext. 126, or jonnelle. [email protected]

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