Harnett County Animal Shelter facing possible overcrowding, may be forced to put down dogs

Michael Perchick Image
Thursday, September 6, 2018

HARNETT COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Harnett County Animal Shelter is dealing with emergency overcrowding, and say they could be forced to put down dogs to create space if the problem isn't alleviated.

"All of the calls and people that are coming in, there's no space to put any more animals to put them in. So basically what we've had to do is tell them to 'hold on, hold on,' put them on a waiting list," explained shelter manager Eileen Beeson.

On Thursday at the opening, they had 38 dogs for 30 cages, which meant they had to double up in some instances; however, that didn't include the 100 dogs throughout the county that people have requested to surrender or strays that Animal Control has been called for.

News of the overcrowding motivated people to come out.

"I wanted to take all of them with me. Every single one of them, I wanted to take home," said Anna Nixon, who visited with a friend interested in adopting.

"My dad had a boxer that ended up with cancer, and they had to put down the day after Christmas a couple years ago, and this little fella looks just like him," added Ashley Dickens, who picked up a dog for her dad. Dickens said the dog her family is taking in was marked to be put down if the overcrowding maintained.

Beeson explained the possibility of euthanizing dogs is difficult to face.

"It is one of the hardest things that we need to do. None of us here like to do it," Beeson said.

However, as a public shelter, they're limited by their resources.

"There's been a lot of talk about having an adoption center, and having a vet on staff and making this larger," said Beeson.

The first two hours Thursday brought good news- eight dogs were adopted and another four have holds placed on them.

Still, staff are hoping to not only clear the minimum needed to avoid putting down dogs, but create as much as space as possible to cater to dogs waiting to be brought in.

They've lowered adoption fees from $55 to $40.

While they are not in an emergency situation with cats at this time, they are running out of space quickly. The shelter has reduced adoption fees on cats from $40 to $20 in an effort to clear out more space.

They said that 300 cats have been requested to be surrendered or picked up.

The shelter is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m., and Saturday's from 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and is located at 1100 McKay Pl, Lillington, N.C., 27546.

To see which animals are available for adoption, click here.