About 350 animals will be surrendered to humane societies and rescue groups as part of a consent order between the N.C. Department of Agriculture and no-kill shelter All Creatures Great and Small.

The order went into effect Dec. 6. However, there is no start date for animals to be removed.

The state has cited the Hendersonville shelter for noncompliance with animal welfare laws for at least four years. In addition, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals conducted a seven-month undercover investigation earlier this year, and at a recent press conference unveiled video showing wounded, sick animals that did not receive veterinary care, including a dog with a broken pelvis isolated in a shed. Hidden cameras also documented shelter workers kicking and hitting animals with shovels, while other employeesincluding ACGS owner Kim Kapplergloated about the abuse.
(Click here to read about PETA’s investigation and watch the PETA video.)

Under the consent order, 250 dogs and cats will remain at ACGS and will be up for adoption. Dr. Lee Hunter, the state agriculture department’s director of animal welfare, said removing some animals will relieve overcrowding at the shelter, and ACGS manager Bob Dunn is working to upgrade the facility and hire professional staff. “If they have fewer animals and the same amount of money, they should be able to improve the way the animals are kept,” Hunter said, adding Dunn has indicated “certain people will no longer be involved with the shelter.”

Under the order, regulators have the right to inspect the facility at any time, and ACGS may not accept new animals.

Yet, it will soon be impossible to know how ACGS operates; the shelter must leave Hendersonville by March 2008, according to an agreement with the city. Shelter managers have said they will leave the state, possibly to move to South Carolina, where animal welfare laws are lax.

Previous articles on this subject:

State seeks custody of animals—again, Oct. 17, 2007
State seeks custody of 700 animals, Sept. 12, 2007
No-kill shelters defend practices, Aug. 8, 2007