Animal shelter back on track

By Nicholas Elmes -

County Manager Rick Morris told the Stokes County Board of Commissioners Monday that the county animal shelter, which has failed several inspections and went through the removal of several employees after their euthanasia licenses were revoked this year, was back on track to meeting state requirements.

“We have finally met all of the state’s requirements for the animal shelter to include the wall and floor coatings and other upgrades that were required,” Morris said. “We have also updated all of the operational requirements and policies plus certifications for euthanasia and use of weapons.”

Morris said the improvements were largely the result of the efforts of Chief Animal Control Officer Kevin Webster and Dr. Debbie Cowan, noting that Cowan had recently sent the county a letter congratulating Webster for the turn around.

Commissioners approved a request to reclassify a position at the shelter to help handle administrative needs and meet state requirements for staffing.

“If there are one to 10 animals in there then we are required to have a person in the facility,” said Morris. “If you have 10 to 20 animals then you have to have two people there. Plus you have to take into account all of the sensitive drugs that have to be accounted for. The bottom line is there are a lot of administrative things that are just as important as the enforcement.”

Morris said the county would work to control the population at the shelter moving forward to prevent any recurrence of past issues.

“We don’t want to let the number of animals dictate how it operates,” he said. “We want to make sure that what goes in there does not exceed the shelter’s capabilities, which is what happened before. I think you can expect a really stellar operation out there. We have gotten some really good, qualified people and I think we have done everything we need to do to keep the shelter and keep it there in the future.”

Morris noted that changes in the way the shelter operates would require county residents to be more responsible pet owners.

“This board has already put into place the right fine and fee structures to ensure that they do that,” he said.

Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.

By Nicholas Elmes

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