GREENSBORO, N.C. -- For the first time in years, if not ever -- the Guilford County Animal Shelter has a full-time, in-house veterinarian.
Ashley Spruill started a week ago, and hit the ground running.
"I've always wanted to help animals that don't have anybody else to help them," Spruill said. "I'm very committed to making animal welfare here our number one priority."
Guilford County took over leadership of the shelter in Aug. 2015 after three staffers of United Animal Coalition, the non-profit that formerly ran it, were arrested and charged with animal cruelty in Sept. 2015.
Guilford County Animal Services Director Logan Rustan said, to his knowledge, UAC did not have a full-time veterinarian. But to get one has been his goal since he was hired.
"It guarantees monitoring of all the animals' health on a daily basis," he said. "We want someone here every single day that'll make sure no animal is suffering or injured."
Spruill, a Greensboro native, earned her veterinary degree in 2004. Since then, she says she has worked at the North Carolina Zoo, for the federal government, and with a spay and neuter clinic in Kernersville.
Along with the full-time veterinarian, Rustan said he also added an additional vet tech position, bringing the total up to eight.
Many animal shelters in the Piedmont, including those in Forsyth, Alamance and Davidson Counties, do not have full-time vets. Directors at each of the shelters said they are happy with their arrangement of contracting veterinary services.