DOBSON, N.C. -- The Surry County Animal Shelter is opening its doors to more animal rescue groups. The move comes after the shelter came under fire in recent years from animal advocates upset that, despite high euthanasia numbers, the shelter wouldn't work with more rescue groups.
"We are trying to start a new chapter in Surry County, work with as many rescue groups as we possibly can," said Eddie Harris, chairman of the Surry County Commissioners. "We are willing to work with anybody that is willing to work with us."
County leaders, shelter workers and animal advocates met Thursday to discuss issues including a new policy that allows more rescue groups to adopt.
Under the new policy, the shelter will work with any rescue group that is a non-profit (501 c) provided that group gives a list of people approved to adopt on the rescue groups behalf. The policy was put in place to prevent people who may falsely use a rescue group's name as a front, to adopt animals for sale or people who hoard animals.
Since last summer, when animal advocates protested outside the shelter, more volunteers have come forward working in the shelter and posting adoptable animals on a volunteer-run Facebook page. County officials say in recent months the adoption rate has doubled, sometimes tripled, due to the growing awareness of adoptable animals on Facebook.
"We are moving in the right direction," says Rachel Hiatt with the rescue group Mayberry 4 Paws.
"I just think we've come a long way. The numbers prove it, that our involvement, the communities involvement, the rescue involvement has really increased adoption rates."