Gaston Animal Control changes name to reflect ‘new direction’

The Gaston County Police Department’s animal control division has changed its name to reflect what it calls its new direction.

The new name, Gaston County Police Department Animal Care and Enforcement Division, emphasizes “first and foremost” the department’s commitment to the care of animals, police Capt. W.S. Melton said Thursday.

The name also reflects the division’s enforcement of animal welfare laws and ordinances targeted toward irresponsible pet ownership, Melton said.

Melton said the division has undertaken new initiatives to improve the welfare of animals under the leadership of veterinarian Kristine Blankenship, who became the shelter’s administrator in January, and police Capt. Steve Jentsch, who supervises enforcement.

The efforts include working with rescue groups to refresh procedures for animal placement. Procedures are now in line with those of animal shelters in surrounding counties, Melton said.

Through May this year, the division received 2,085 animals into the shelter. Of those, 1,558 were reunited with their owners, adopted to members of the public or claimed by rescue groups, Melton said.

The euthanasia rate has dropped to 22 percent year-to-date, a decrease of 12 percent from the same period last year, Melton said.

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