Animal shelter investigations prompt calls for statewide change

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- Accusations of sick animals being left to die a slow death instead of being humanely euthanize at the Guilford and Davidson County animal shelters are leading animal rights supporters to call on statewide change.

Investigators are looking into the possibility that workers at the two shelters allowed sick animals to die on their own in an effort to keep the euthanize rate low. The number of animals brought into a shelter and the number of animals euthanized are typically the only numbers reported to the state.

"I don't think it's OK to be able to work around the system," said Allison Howard, who adopted her dog from the Guilford County Animal Shelter three months ago. "I think it's something that has to be stated."

An online petition on Change.org is calling on State Agricultural Commissioner Steve Troxler to require all shelters be 100 percent transparent and report all animal deaths. Troxler's department oversees county animal shelters.

"I think accountability is so important in a shelter," said Jan Grafton, founder of Juliet's House, which rescues shelter animals. "The numbers don't seem to add up all the time and you wonder if there was a lot of illnesses and, if so, if it was something that could have been prevented."