Beaufort County woman surrenders 131 dogs|Homes being sought for variety of dogs she couldn’t care for

Published 5:12 am Thursday, November 19, 2009

Staff Writer

Some 131 dogs of various breeds were voluntarily surrendered Tuesday to Beaufort County animal-control officers because the person caring for them could no longer afford to do so.
On Wednesday, animal-control officers were working — and hoping — to find homes for most of them, according to Beaufort County officials.
The Betsy Bailey Nelson Animal Control Facility is now at capacity as animal-control officers work to provide adequate housing and medical care for the dogs and evaluate which of them are suitable for adoption, according to county officials.
The dogs were surrendered by a woman living near Edward. The woman told county officials she couldn’t afford to keep them any more. Those officials declined to identity of the woman, saying only that she owned about 12 dogs when she moved to Beaufort County about five years ago and gradually expanded the number of dogs in her care, including about 20 dogs she was boarding for friends and family.
The woman declined to be interviewed by the Daily News.
“The property owner had every good intention of caring for the dogs,” said County Manager Paul Spruill in an interview Wednesday.
He said the dogs are “in pretty good health and well-fed” but lacked sufficient shelter at the woman’s property.
“This is not an issue of animal abuse or neglect for the county,” he said.
Beaufort County Animal Control Director Sandra Woolard said this incident is the largest single surrender of a group of animals she’s seen in her seven-year career as an animal-control officer.
Animal-control officers first arrived at the property Friday night. After they talked with the woman, she agreed to turn them over to the officers. Those officers returned Monday and Tuesday, and they, with the help of Pitt County animal-control officers, removed the dogs from the site, Woolard said.
About 20 dogs had been reclaimed by their owners as of Wednesday afternoon, Woolard said.
Some are being housed by local veterinarians while the animal shelter works to find space for them without displacing the dogs already in their care, Woolard said.
Most of the dogs are pit bulls, but the surrendered dogs include Chihuahuas, poodles, boxers, a Maltese and a mastiff, among other varieties, she said.
Woolard said that a majority of the surrendered dogs will be available for adoption.
People may view the available dogs starting at 1:30 p.m. Monday at the animal-control shelter at 3931 U.S. Highway 264 East, Washington.