ROCKINGHAM — More than 25 animal advocates visited the Richmond County Animal Shelter Friday for a meet and greet for N.C. Humane Lobby Day.
Richmond County Humane Society director Carolyn Herndon explained the joint mission of all factions involved with the animal shelter at the event, coordinated by the Humane Society of the United States.
“Our role is to continue to work with the county to rescue and place as many dogs, cats or other animals as possible,” she said. “We want people to know these efforts depend solely on donations from individuals. We appreciate all donations that come our way.”
Until last year, the animal shelter was owned and operated by the Humane Society of Richmond County. Due to organizational and financial concerns, the society transferred ownership to Richmond County government. The shelter then was renamed the Richmond County Animal Shelter, and the Humane Society of Richmond County remained a partner to focus on adopting animals.
Allison Sweatt, HSUS Richmond County leader, was pleased by the turn-out. Sweatt is a former Humane Society of Richmond County employee who, in 2012, left the nonprofit to begin her own. That venture is called Richmond County Animal Advocates and currently takes advantage of nonprofit status as an affiliate of New York-based Last Chance Animal Rescue.
“This is our first time ever,” Sweatt said. “Today is a day for bringing people together to put names to the faces of all the different animal advocacy groups here.”
During the hour-long gathering, visitors toured the facilities and discussed a number of ideas for finding homes for animals brought in by the county animal control officers, as well as those that are abandoned or dropped off. Beginning Jan. 1, the Board of County Commissioners transferred responsibility of animal control to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office from the Richmond County Health Department.
Mark Maleckyj and Stacey West, of K2 Solutions in Derby, talked about their plans to rehabilitate and train dogs to serve as therapeutic companions to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
“It’s a win-win for both the dog and the participant,” Maleckyj said.
Advocates also passed out copies of House Bill 930 which “ensures humane care and treatment of dogs in the custody of large scale commercial breeder.”
N.C. Rep. Ken Goodman said that the bill “sailed through the house with more than 100 votes, but it got killed in committee before reaching the senate for a vote.”
Sen. Gene McLaurin, who supports the bill, plans to investigate the matter further.
“I want to find out what happened and see about getting this moving again,” he said.