Surry Co. animal advocates to hold silent protest

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DOBSON, N.C. - Animal advocates complain that the Surry County Animal Shelter is failing to join the 21st century by using free websites to increase its adoption rate.

The shelter located on County Home Road in Dobson, has one of the highest euthanasia rates in the Piedmont-Triad, and have not posted any of its' adoptable animals on the internet.

Last year 3,524 dogs and cats were euthanized at the shelter with only 186 adopted.

According to animal advocates, for several years, the animal shelters surrounding Surry County and across the state have doubled and in some instances tripled adoption rates by using free websites like Petfinder.com and Facebook.com.

The Surry County Animal Shelter does not use Facebook and their last post to Petfinder was, April 23, 2008.

"That pisses me off.  It makes me mad," said Wendy Willard, a Surry County resident. She believes it's time for the shelter to start using free websites to increase adoptions.

"They are way overdue, because every one of our surrounding counties uses Facebook, and Petfinder and their euthanasia rates are much different than ours," said Willard.

Shelter director Gary Brown said he wasn't aware that the Petfinder website had not been updated in 4 years, and will ensure that changes.

Brown said it would be up to the county to approve a Facebook page for the shelter.

Willard is using Facebook to make changes. She has organized a peaceful gathering at the shelter scheduled for Thursday at 4pm.

Willard said she hopes it will bring awareness and higher visibility to the animals and the shelter. "Effort is what it takes to get these animals adopted.  A little effort goes a long way," said Willard.

Brown said he welcomes anyone to join in the effort to help increase the shelter's adoption rate.

In April, a state inspector report found several problems that were "not acceptable" at the facility including a dog that "appeared to be severely emaciated, thin and had an injured bleeding tail."

County leaders said the problems addressed in that report have been addressed.