LEXINGTON, N.C. -- County commissioners voted five to two to turn the county's animal shelter over from the sheriff's department to the nonprofit United Animal Coalition Tuesday night.
Dozens of animal rights advocates cheered after the vote was made.
Many protested the shelter's use of gas chambers to euthanize animals and its high kill rate of 83 percent.
UAC currently runs Guilford County's animal shelter, which has had a drop in its kill rates and a jump in adoptions.
From 2001 to 2014, the shelter has increased adoptions from three to 52 percent and has increased the return of animals to their owners by nearly 20 percent.
"We want to do what’s in the best interest of the animals and the best interest of the community," said Marsha Williams, executive director of Guilford County's animal shelter.
Williams says once the contract is signed, she already knows her first course of action.
"Number one would be to eliminate the gas chamber immediately," she said.
It's something all animal shelters will have to do by February under a new state law banning euthanasia through the use of gas chambers.