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Official: Iredell animal shelter euthanasia practices OK

An investigation by county staff members shows the Iredell County Animal Shelter’s euthanasia practices are not illegal or improper, a county official says.

The probe followed complaints by some county residents that the shelter was euthanizing dogs and cats too quickly, without allowing time for possible adoption.

Many of those complaints were focused on Chris Royal, who was put on paid administrative leave March 15 by Iredell County officials after commissioners received an anonymous letter alleging Royal was euthanizing animals too quickly. Royal then resigned in early April.

Deputy County Manager Tracy Jackson is filling in as interim animal control director.

Jackson released a statement Tuesday, saying, “After a review of euthanasia practices at the Iredell County Animal Shelter, there are not any illegal or improper activities related to the shelter’s euthanasia program.”

Jackson said the investigation showed animals are euthanized “in a humane manner, utilizing practices that are recognized and approved” by state officials. He added, “Whenever possible, animals are adopted to individuals and rescue groups, in order to reduce the amount of euthanasia performed by shelter staff.”

He also said the county’s ultimate goal is to control the animal population by having more dogs and cats spayed and neutered, and also to increase the number of animal adoptions.

Human Resources Manager Sandra Gregory said the investigation was conducted by three county staff members. They were not identified.

Jackson told the Observer on Tuesday morning that the county is actively searching for a new animal control director. “The opening has been posted,” he said. “We want to take our time and do this right.”

Animal rights activist Amy Marie Miller addressed county commissioners last week, asking them to appoint a civilian animal advisory board, according to the Statesville Record & Landmark. Commissioners have not taken action on that request.

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