Animal Advocates Protest Needless Killing of Dogs at Gaston County Animal Control

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Animal shelter or a killing field?

Voices of protest are being raised in different parts of the US against the needless killing of dogs at the Gaston County Animal Control in Dallas, NC, and anger is particularly directed at a veterinarian working at the shelter.

The story of dogs killed at the shelter by the shelter vet despite having rescue commitments appeared in a petition on Change.org on April 27, 2015. Martha Woodard’s petition told how dogs that had rescue commitments were rushed to be euthanized under the excuse of rescues getting just a little later than the fixed time allowed for getting them out of the shelter. One dog was killed because his rescue arrived only five minutes late!

The petition wrote that the dog, named Big Fluffy, “was murdered by Dr. Kristine Blankenship” (who is a veterinarian at the shelter) and demanded that she be fired from her job over such killings. It added that the shelter in question has a “long standing reputation of needlessly killing adoptable animals.”

big fluffy
Big Fluffy the dog whose killing led to the petition and emerging media campaign against the shelter’s killings.

Shortly after the petition’s launch, the Gaston Gazette published a story Shelter director under fire, Chief says unwarranted that presented two sides of the story. Dog rescuer Faith Wright was quoted, in addition to Martha Woodard, saying she couldn’t convince Dr. Blankenship to wait a while till the rescue could arrive to take in four dogs on the shelter’s euthanasia list.

However, the story quoted Gaston County Police Chief James Buie telling a different story. His account claimed that the rescue committed to saving Big Fluffy arrived in time but decided not to pull the dog because they thought the dog was aggressive. He said every opportunity was given to the rescue to save the dog but since they didn’t and the dog’s deadline was past, he was euthanized.

Meanwhile comments pouring in on the story claimed that the shelter was lying about giving Big Fluffy enough time to be saved. As the petition gets more signatures from people who want Dr. Blankenship to be terminated from her job, more details are emerging about the death of Big Fluffy.

In her column on Examiner.com, writer, filmmaker, and animal advocate Denise Carey-Costa tells that the shelter asked the rescuer of Big Fluffy to leave and return on Monday to pick the dog. However, all dogs including Big Fluffy on the euthanasia list were killed by then despite some having rescue commitments like him. Carey-Costa’s story includes the email address of the County Manager for Gaston County as she calls on her readers to contact the County Manager and demand Dr. Blankenship’s removal from her position at the shelter in question.

Ernest Dempsey is a writer, editor, blogger, and journalist based in Orlando, FL. He runs a popular blog Word Matters! at http://www.ernestdempsey.com/ and edits the journal and its blog Recovering the Self. Dempsey is a skeptic, vegetarian, and advocate for animal and human rights.