Animal shelter running out of options

Two dogs at an animal shelter

June 29, 2010 4:16:42 AM PDT
Time is running out for one of North Carolina's biggest no-kill animal shelters.The state is demanding the owner of "The Haven" shelter in Hoke County get rid of hundreds of dogs or else go out of business.

Linden Spear has run "The Haven," no kill animal shelter outside Raeford, for 16 years and says she heard the state's threats before, only this time it's an ultimatum not a warning.

"The state says I can be fired," she said. "They say they can take away our non-profit status which is basically their strategy for starving us out. This is not ok. I need people calling their state representatives saying, 'what would possess you to put slaughter house inspectors in charge of the no kill movement.'"

Spear says the state has given her until July 9 to get rid of 300 dogs and a Sept. 1 deadline to add extra kennels and improve the shelter's sanitation.

She calls both deadlines unrealistic expectations.

"The state is saying we spend too much money on the care of animals and not enough on keeping the cracks out of our concrete, five or six inches of gravel instead of two inches of gravel," Spear said.

State officials say they tried for years to get the shelter to comply with state regulations. Spear says she has made improvements, but says she continues taking in unwanted animals.

Nearly a third of the animals are 5 to 7-years-old or older and hard to adopt out.

Spear says she will try and adopt out as many animals as she can, but vows if the state tries to shut her down they'll have a fight on their hands.

"I'm furious, I'm tired to having my back up against the wall, I have accommodated," Spear said. "I'm done; I'm going to start pushing back. Whatever it takes we will stay open."

Spear says she depends on donations and volunteers to operate her shelter.

To learn more visit "The Haven" website at www.thehaven-friendsforlife.org

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