Animal Adoption Accusations in Cabarrus County
CONCORD, N.C. - Snowflake, an 18-year-old house cat, got out of her Concord home one Saturday in April through an open door. The cat's owner, Tamara Gaspar, learned a neighbor found the cat and turned it over to animal control on Sunday, claiming he owned the animal.
Gaspar showed up at animal control to look for Snowflake and was told the cat wasn't there. She asked to see the cages just to double check, but says she was told no. “That was their first violation, not allowing me into the back, which is required by state statute that they do,” says Gaspar.
Section A2 of NC Statute 130A-192 does say people who come to animal shelters looking for lost pets are entitled to view every animal at the shelter. Gaspar didn't know it at the time, but it was too late anyway. Snowflake had been gassed, about 13 hours after arriving at the shelter.
State law says animals must be held for 72 hours before being destroyed, unless they are owner surrendered. Remember, the neighbor who turned Snowflake in said he owned the cat, but never showed proof of that. Gaspar says, "My question is how many animals are taken to animal control and never documented, they're just destroyed?"
Sheriff Brad Riley tells FOX Charlotte that his goal is to make things better at animal control and that he wants to be a vehicle of change. Animal control has an arrangement with the Humane Society to adopt out a percentage of impounded animals.
Gaspar says that also violates state law because not every healthy, safe animal is made available. Riley tells FOX that the county attorney has looked at the agreement and has interpreted that the county is in compliance. An animal rights attorney disagrees and has filed an appeal with the health department.
Gaspar says she's hoping Snowflake's death can help protect the rights of other pet owners.“They can say I am an animal rights activist, but I'm not. I'm more for the rights of the people. The people who have their pet and the right to know that their pet will be safe when held by law enforcement,” says Gaspar.
The sheriff tells FOX that as of a month ago, he decided to make a change and allow people interested in adopting to view all animals being held in animal control. The adoption process is still handled through the humane society.
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