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Sheriff’s office takeover is proving good for animal services

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It’s a completely different place.
It’s not so sad to go there anymore.
Even the dogs are better behaved in their kennels.
Volunteers are making a world of difference.

These are things people are saying about changes at the county animal shelter.
In July, the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office took over operations and renamed the agency Brunswick County Animal Protective Services.
It was clear early on things were going to be different.
Using labor from detention center inmates, the sheriff’s office first set out to spiff up the place, doing everything from landscaping and cleaning to painting.
Next, they called upon the talents of local animal rescue volunteers and invited them to bring their time, elbow grease and love of animals to the shelter. They’ve been busy caring for and socializing with the dogs and cats that call the shelter home.
The goal, officials indicated, was to increase the number of animals adopted and to decrease the number put down.
So far, they’re meeting the challenge.
We’ve been told the shelter placed 114 animals in July, an increase from the same time last year when 84 animals were placed.
And, to our pleasure, they brought back Saturday hours so the working public can come out on the weekends and visit with animals.
The problem with unwanted and neglected animals here in Brunswick County is there are too many of them and not enough people—or funds—to give each the fair chance at life it deserves.
The previous animal services staff did the best they could with a number of limited resources, funding, positions and time. Bringing in another county agency to oversee the day-to-day operations seems to be the answer few people were expecting. Even local animal rescue group leaders have been pleasantly surprised.
Most recently, the sheriff’s office showed its commitment to the cause by breaking up a puppy mill in the Leland area. While the office has always had the responsibility of responding to these types of criminal issues, this time it effectively used its connections at the shelter. By doing so, the agency was able to team up with rescue groups. Now those responsible have been charged, and the innocent victims of this puppy mill have a chance at good lives.
The sheriff’s office, local rescue groups, area veterinarians and kind-hearted volunteers are working together to give these and other animals a second chance. Our hats are off to each of them.
We hope to see this momentum continue and look forward to animal services and related help finding ways to bring free or more affordable spay and neuter services to the area. We hope to see a continued, strong-handed focus on dealing with those who offend with animal cruelty. Let the county know animal neglect and cruelty will not be tolerated here.