DOBSON — Proposed language being presented to the county’s Board of Health Monday is expected to clear the way for local rescue groups to work with the county’s animal shelter, according to Surry County Health and Nutrition Center Director Samantha Ange.
During a presentation to the county’s Board of Commissioners this week, Ange, whose department oversees shelter operations in the county, told the board that the proposed policy and procedures delineates the requirements for rescue groups and outlines rescue protocol.
“There is a variety of ways in which a partner (rescue group) can qualify,” she said.
The new language is a stark contrast to proposed changes that have since been redacted from the county’s animal ordinance, which stipulated that any and all rescue groupa that work with the county must be approved by the state’s Department of Agriculture Animal Welfare department.
But that ordinance would have crippled most rescue groups in the county, since the state department only inspects and approves animal shelters that have a physical building out of which they operate.
According to the new rescue policies and procedures being considered by the health board, the animal shelter will work with any rescue group that can prove they are a 501(c)3 (non-profit organization), or has been approved by either the state or federal Department of Agriculture.
The proposed requirements mandate that in order for a rescue group to be able to take animals out of the shelter for adoption, they must:
• Provide proof of their non-profit status, or licensure by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the North Carolina Department of Agriculture;
• Have an approved placement partner application and agreement on file with Surry County Animal Control;
• Provide the animal shelter with the names of individuals who will be representing the rescue group and are authorized to remove animals from the county shelter on behalf of the group.
But animal shelter officials say first choice when it comes to adoption will be offered to individuals and families wishing to adopt from the shelter.
“It is the policy of Surry County Animal Control to offer to the general public the first choice to select an animal for adoption,” the proposed language reads. “Placement partners may be contacted if an animal is not acclimating to the shelter or is in immediate danger of being euthanized.”
Any group rescuing an animal from the shelter will be required to pay a $40 per animal fee and any medical expenses incurred while at the shelter. “After a period of one year working with an established placement partner, some fees may be waived, with the exception of the rabies vaccine expense.”
If approved by the health board, the shelter policy will also allow for the rescue of certain “dangerous breeds,” provided any subsequent adoption occurs outside Surry County.
Reach Keith Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.