I read with disappointment The Pilot article about the latest animal- killing crisis at our publicly funded Animal Services.

First, killing adoptable animals due to lack of space or ineffective programs is not “euthanasia.” It is simply killing. Euthanasia is ending life out of mercy, not convenience.

The ASPCA says “shelter” killing is the leading cause of death for healthy companion animals in the United States and occurs at a staggering rate. Approximately 90 percent of animals killed are adoptable. North Carolina ranked third worst in the United States in 2018.

In Moore County, there again is a troubling trend contributing to these appalling numbers. There was improvement from 2013 through 2017. In 2017, 592 animals were destroyed, compared to 2,199 in 2013. However, 1,142 animals were destroyed here in 2019.

Assuming 90 percent were adoptable, this equates to 1,027 companion animals killed. Moore County is thriving with its growing, affluent population, an increased tax base but a disproportionate contributor to North Carolina’s animal-killing stigma. Why? Other communities have found solutions.

Increased intake is blamed, but what about the long-range plans and preventive measures undertaken years ago to deal with this? Key results are worse, and funding has actually decreased. Now, the same people whose programs financially benefit from their county affiliation (unlike nonprofit rescue groups begging for funds) suggest more of the same. County management is also the same with the same policies and programs. It’s certainly not the fault of Animal Services staff. It’s lack of direction from the top, and there is no sense of urgency.

When a sports franchise consistently under-performs, the head coach and/or general manager goes — not the players. Moore County: Please get in the game.

John Ficarro, Pinehurst

Publisher’s Note: This is a letter to the editor, submitted by a reader, and reflects the opinion of the author. The Pilot welcomes letters from readers on its Opinion page, which serves as a public forum. The Pilot is not in the business of suppressing public opinion. We are a forum for community debate, and publish almost every letter we receive. For information on how to make a submission, visit this page: https://www.thepilot.com/site/forms/online_services/letter/

(2) comments

Patricia Bryan

Only three comments: 1) I would rather a stray animal or an animal no longer wanted by a family be taken to the animal shelter than allowed to roam for itself. Death is not painless when hit by a car, starving, sick, etc. Too many people don't want to take a "stray" to the shelter because the term "kill shelter" is often used to describe it. So sometimes if they can't keep it they let someone else have it, which could also be a painful life as a bait dog/cat for dog fighters, or other horrors. 2) I don't know what the statistics are for the areas of the county that account for the majority of animals that come into the shelter, but I do note where they are picked up when reported as Lost and Found. Moore County is almost two counties, north and south, and when you say "Moore County is thriving with its growing, affluent population," there are parts of Moore County that this description does not fit. I will not name them, but more often than not they are areas that appear to provide the greatest intake at the county shelter.

And third, though not relative to the letter to the editor, the usage of the terms "kill" and "no kill" to describe shelters aggravates me no end because most people don't understand the difference - one is required to accept all animals, the other can pick and choose which to take which is likely the "most adoptable." I told the owners of the "no kill" place in Raeford years ago that what they were doing was worse than humane euthanasia, and was thrown off the property after trying to help them for three years. It took another 10 years or more for it to be shut down. Those animals suffered tremendously. I personally witnessed it with each trip down there.

Patricia Punch

I really think that more people need to be educated about the care of an animal. It is not just feeding and playing with it. The puppy/kitten also needs age related shots and needs to be spayed/neutered. The Animal Center is doing it's best to try to control this by having the puppy/kitten fixed before it leaves their shelter. That is a great idea. I also took a couple of my pets to the clinic on US 1 that offers low cost spaying/neutering. They do a great job over there. People need to be educated as to where these places are.

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