FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, AUG. 31, 2007
Brian Long, director
NCDA&CS Public Affairs Division
(919) 733-4216, ext. 242
State asks for authority to remove animals from
All Creatures Great and Small in Hendersonville
RALEIGH - The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has submitted a complaint to Henderson County Superior Court requesting a hearing for a preliminary injunction against All Creatures Great and Small in Hendersonville to allow the state to gain control of the animals and remove them from the dangerous and unsanitary conditions at the shelter.
The department is also asking for a permanent injunction to find the animals new homes. The Attorney General’s Office is petitioning for dissolution of the not-for-profit corporation that controls the shelter.
“Without this preliminary injunctive relief, many dogs and cats possessed by [All Creatures Great and Small] will suffer ongoing, immediate and irreparable harm, and any dogs or cats acquired by [All Creatures Great and Small] in the future will suffer repeated neglect and irreparable harm, pain, suffering and death,” the complaint states.
The complaint is based on more than five years of failed inspections at the shelter and the shelter’s failure to provide adequate care for the hundreds of animals it keeps. The shelter has been operating without a state license for five years and has not met the conditions of a 2006 settlement agreement with NCDA&CS.
The department has repeatedly attempted to close the shelter because of the conditions, but All Creatures has blocked all attempts through appeals. The department has also been hindered by limited enforcement authority in the Animal Welfare Act.
According to the complaint, the shelter is housing hundreds of dogs and cats in a facility where they are routinely kept in unsanitary conditions without adequate exercise, food, water or veterinary care. The shelter does not meet minimal requirements set forth by the state’s Animal Welfare Act or local health regulations, causing a public health and safety risk. At the last inspection in June, the NCDA&CS inspectors counted more than 400 dogs and 260 cats in the facility.
If the NCDA&CS is granted a preliminary injunction, all the animals would be removed from the facility with the help of private animal welfare goups. Each animal would be photographed, microchipped and given a thorough medical exam to determine its medical condition. Animals would receive necessary veterinary care before being placed in pre-arranged foster care homes where they would be kept until ownership is transferred to the department by the court.
NCDA&CS is also asking the court to hold All Creatures Great and Small responsible for all costs associated with the care and rehabilitation of the animals.