A judge awarded a temporary restraining order against the Robeson County Animal Shelter prohibiting it from euthanizing animals when citizens or animal rescue groups are trying to adopt or foster them.

A hearing is scheduled for Friday, May 7, in Robeson District Court.

The Gerber Animal Law Center, based in Raleigh, has sued Robeson County alleging the shelter “causes unjustifiable pain, suffering or death in animals due to their euthanasia polices and procedures.”

Read Gerber’s summary of the lawsuit: Robeson_Shelter_Press_Release.pdf

The suit alleges that shelter officials are choosing to euthanize animals instead of allowing them to go into foster care. It additionally alleges that the shelter’s policy to keep at least half of their kennels empty to make it easier to clean the facility results in unjustifiable pain, suffering or death.

Rescue groups often “pull” animals and place them in foster homes until they are adopted.

According to Gerber, it is the first lawsuit stemming from a new law allowing shelters to place animals into foster care in lieu of euthanizing.

The Robeson County attorney could not be immediately reached for comment.

Earlier this year the Robeson shelter was the focus of many claims alleging shelter employees abused the animals—a claim the shelter manager denied. State investigators found problems at the shelter related to improper cleaning, but no violations of the Animal Welfare Act.