I’ve thought long and hard about how to write this article, or whether to write it at all. I’ve started it, stopped it, deleted it, started it again, and here I am once more behind the keyboard… if you’re reading this later on, then I finally made it.

I struggled with this article because I know I’m not likely to be able to get through it without making some people fighting mad. I’ve reminded myself that I serve as a commissioner in my county because people elected me to have an opinion and to stand behind it. I further sought to place myself on the Board of Health and to work with Animal Control because I have strong opinions about those issues as well. Considering I’m involved with the animal control issue on not one, not two, but three different levels, I might as well clarify where I stand and call a spade a spade.

In the last few months, I’ve discovered a shocking disregard for humanity in some people that borders on frenzied fanaticism. It becomes ironic to the point of lunacy when you consider the tone of these phone calls and emails county personnel receive. These people are quite happy to hang a human being in the streets and execute them publicly all over social media, yet would burn down the world to save a kitten. It boggles my mind how they can be so mean to each other, all in the guise of being kind to another species of animal. FYI – no other animal in nature acts that way.

Since about June, the rumors about Stanly County Animal Control (SCAC) have blown so far out of proportion as to be unbelievable. However, it’s apparently believable to some.

I’m trying to remember these people are just passionate about animals… and they really can’t be held liable for their own ignorance. After all, they read it on Facebook so it must be true.

Here are just a few quotes from the latest email I received:

1) I have been communicating with _________  about the deplorable conditions of your Stanly County shelter , and the outright atrocities that occur there, which are documented…”

2) We were going to get a kitten this week , and when we got there they said it was sick and they put it down. Really? It looked fine in the photo. How was it sick?”

3)  If taxpayers knew or had any idea of the atrocities carried out day in and day out at this horrifying place , they would be in uproar. “

4) This place , if you are unaware, takes in cats and dogs, has NO foster program, NO vet on staff, NO adoption events or hours onsite, NO bed for the animals, NO blankets , and they hold them a few days , and if they are not rescued by a rescue partner, than they are killed, not by a vet , but by an employee, who sticks that needle directly into their beating heart. “

I’m going to address these in the order above for the benefit of the reader.

Issue 1: The Atrocities

If, by “documented” and “atrocities” you mean the one day that a mother cat died sometime that day in the shelter, then yes, an event like the one described happened. Rather than an atrocity, I’d like to call that exactly what it was – a bad day at the animal shelter. A mother cat died that day and the shelter was understaffed due to simple bad luck. Rather than five people that day, the entire shelter and all active animal control calls were being handled by two people. One of the other staff had a doctor appointment. Another had mandatory training off-site. Another was off work to move to their new home. Rough days happen.

During that day it’s true, a cat died. Do you know what would have happened to that same cat if it was still in a dumpster somewhere, or in an abandoned field, or under someone’s front porch instead of at the shelter? It would have died. Mother nature wasn’t feeling particularly forgiving that day it seems, but the result would have been the same unless someone somewhere happened to be standing by, seen it happen, and removed the kittens before they drank milk from their deceased mother. That’s just really bad luck.

Now, let me let share the facts of that story outside of the version told on social media. A lady came to the shelter about 10:30 AM. Apparently she saw this mother cat deceased in a cage. I’ll let you read her exact words:

I was sickened when I saw a mother cat had lay dead all day with her hungry kittens trying to nurse her dead body. I took the pics that morning as I was there getting cats out. Once my pet taxis were full I left and came back that afternoon to get the rest of the cats. That’s when I saw that she had not been removed and her kittens not fed and still trying to nurse. At this time she was very stiff and smelling.

Source: https://www.change.org/p/stanly-county-commissioners-stop-the-abuse-at-stanly-county-nc-animal-control

Here’s what I find funny: The staff remembers her coming in at 10:30 AM. They remember her coming back at about 3:30 PM. Funny thing is – not one soul remembers her ever saying “Umm, excuse me, I think this momma cat might be dead. Maybe we should try to remove these kittens from her.”

I mean she was “sickened” to the point that she took the time to whip out her phone and take a video of the incident! She took photos too. Maybe she could have used that phone to contact animal control and inform them about it!? Or maybe just put the phone down and call for the person there in the building with her that would have been glad to help. But instead, she went another FIVE hours without saying a thing, came back later on, checked on the cat A SECOND TIME, and only then could be bothered to bring it to anyone’s attention!

She later says the cat was “very stiff and smelling.” Really… you smelled a five hour old cat amongst the myriad odors of dog, cat, urine, feces, chemicals, and every other scent that exists in any and every animal kennel facility. You just smelled that cat from across the room huh? Hey.. maybe so. But if it smelled that bad and you KNEW the mother was deceased…. why not say something to someone? Anyone?

So, let’s get back to the issue at hand. This is an animal shelter. Animals will pass away. Most of the animals that come into the shelter aren’t cute 5 week old kittens and beautiful puppies that just want to love on you. They’re feral, mean, hostile, and will scratch the absolute shit out of you the first chance they get when you reach for them. These people don’t work on the set of a Disney or Pixar film. They work with real animals, sometimes mistreated and abused by real people, and sometimes just plain wild-ass-crazy! Amongst all that, some animals are going to pass away. It’s horrible. It sucks. But it’s just a fact of life. It is NOT due to lack of care, or lack of attention, or lack of compassion. It MIGHT be occasionally due to a tremendous number of animals coming and going and the reality that no one is perfect. I’ll admit that much freely.

Issue 2: It looked fine to me.

This one; this just kills me. Someone saw a photo of an animal and that animal “looked fine” therefore anything the professionals say in the matter must be because they hate animals and take a secret sadistic pleasure in just torturing these creatures for the fun of it. Or maybe they were in the shelter earlier that day, saw the animal, and then later found out it was put down. It blows my mind the conclusions these people jump to. So what really happens?

When a cat or dog is sick, and the shelter knows the cause, such as positive parvo test, they call a rescue. We have some great rescues out there that will go out of their way to help injured or sick animals because they know the shelter can’t be everything for every animal all the time. In fact, the rescues will often come quicker for a sick animal then they will for a healthy one.

Keep in mind; these officers have worked with veterinarians for years now, day in and day out seeing the same cases and asking the same questions. They’re about as informed as they can be without formal training as a veterinarian simply through repeated experience. If an animal presents with something they think needs a vet’s attention, they get the vet on the phone or take it by for a diagnosis.

Guess who pays for that visit? The shelter does. Does it go into the animal’s adoption fee? Nope! If that cat or dog visits the vet twice for an issue, the county pays that bill and never collects a dime back from any future owner. So factor that into your thinking. They KNOW they have to be able to afford to take care of these animals and they KNOW they have to pay for it themselves. They also know they have other animals in their care as well. It becomes a matter of triage. How many can you save with the resources you have available to you?

So, sure, there are times when the determination is made that they can’t save an animal – either due to the extreme cost, or because they can’t get to the vet in a timely manner and the animal is suffering to a point they feel is inhumane. When that happens, two or three officers meet together to discuss the animal and if they all agree the animal doesn’t have any other reasonable recourse, they euthanize it.

That’s not cruelty. That’s not being inhumane. That’s reality.

It’s the same decision every pet owner might have to one day make, except these souls are forced to make it time and time again over the years. It’s not fun. It’s not something they enjoy. It’s not a cause for celebration. It’s painful, and it sucks, and its the worst part of the job.

I’m married to a veterinarian, but I wasn’t always. I remember having a dog that got injured years and years ago. I couldn’t afford to take it to the veterinarian. Even if I could have afforded the one visit, I couldn’t have afforded the things necessary to give the dog an attempt at a good quality of life. At some point, you have to make the decision to let the animal go quietly into a place with no more pain and no more suffering.

Yes, these officers are tasked with making that decision for animals in their care. That’s their job. It’s what they signed up knowing they’d have to sometimes do.

Issue 3: If the taxpayers knew…

Well, ok, if you want to go there, let’s go there!

If the taxpayers knew what? Do you mean if they knew that almost HALF A MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR goes to Animal Control to help animals that other taxpayers don’t properly care for, they’d be pissed? I bet not.

The Animal Control budget is public information. In fact, here’s the link. I’ll save you the headache… just jump to page 36.

Stanly County pays out $409,237.00 for Animal Control. Hell, they pay $10,000 a year just to keep the lights on and the air conditioning on for those animals.

I’d bet you dollars to donuts there would be just as many not-so-publicly discussed telephone calls to my office wondering why in the hell we spend half a million bucks on animals when our kids need better schools. Don’t think for a second that argument doesn’t happen.

It takes the tremendously big budget we’ve got NOW to get things done as well as we can, and though we’re always looking for ways to improve, and we are in fact working on that behind the scenes now as I write this article, the truth is going to be that ANY solution we propose from EITHER department is going to include yet another full-time salaried person to help keep on top of the growing need at Animal Control, so someone is going to come before my Board of Commissioners in the next few months and ask for about $57,000 MORE money in salaries – a salary which will of course come from county tax dollars and therefore… the taxpayer.

You want a solution that make a difference? Here’s one. Rather than every mom and pop opening up a rescue out of their backyard barn and letting all the feral cats back out into the wild (not naming any names), how about using all that social media might they’ve got and solicit 2,000 people from across the entire world to give just $100 each. Then we take a grant for $200,000 from that group with the condition that it’s designated solely for food and veterinary services – to be spent caring for animals at the shelter. We could adopt out a WHOLE lot more animals much more efficiently than they collectively do it now…. if the county had the HELP rather than the continued criticism every single time a kitten had to be put to sleep…

Issue 4: Pure Fabricated Hor$e$h\t…

I LOVE the line about employees sticking a needle “directly into their beating heart.” I’m not sure how else to say this, so I’ll make it really clear:


If anyone reading this has EVER tried to stick an animal, especially a cat, in the chest while that animal was awake, please comment below and let the people reading this know how long you were in recovery from your injuries, because anyone that knows any damned thing about sticking a cat or dog with a needle like that can tell that’s simply never happened…

Since some of you out there don’t know how animals are euthanized, I’ll share the same facts I shared with the person that sent me that email.

There is a process to euthanizing the animals at animal control. That process was put together by a veterinarian. I remember when it was implemented because I know the veterinarian that helped put the policy in place. Actually, full disclosure, I’m MARRIED to that veterinarian and I remember when the new policy was put into place.

When an animal is euthanized, it is first put to sleep with an intramuscular injection of heavy anesthesia. This is the kindest way possible to perform something like this. If there were a more gentle way for it to be done, they would likely do so.

After the animal is asleep, the personnel administer a lethal dose of euthanasia solution. In order to even perform this procedure and procure these drugs, the staff had to be trained by a veterinarian and has to acquire and maintain a DEA license.

During the transition period while SCAC officers were obtaining those requirements, the veterinarian performed these protocols with the officers for an entire two-year period before turning them over to perform the procedure on their own.

These protocols are the same protocols outlined for veterinarians and are the official protocols approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Suffice it to say, with two solid years of training and approximately 100+ sessions with a veterinarian during the process, the officers probably have MORE experience than any registered veterinary technician when it comes to proper procedures to euthanize an animal.

So, no, I assure you, no “employee” is “sticking a needle in their beating heart”.

In fact, the mere thought that someone could do that shows that the people spreading these kinds of stories have no idea what they’re talking about. Do you know how almost physically impossible that would be to do to most cats? And the very moment you even considered trying it, you’d be eaten alive. Most of these cats you’re talking about, even to be put to sleep, require two adults with safety gear just to be able to administer the anesthesia. There is no sane human being on this planet that would try to euthanize an animal that wasn’t already under sedation more than once in their lives. It’s not worth the personal risk or injury to do so. However, in the interest of resting on facts and not presumptions, I know the process to verify the information I just told you and I’m about to go through the steps to independently verify it for myself – if for no other reason than to be able to sleep at night.

The next day…

After sending that particular piece of information off to the concerned citizen, I did exactly as I promised I would. I DO know the procedures for verifying whether or not they use the anesthesia solution prior to putting an animal to sleep. I know because I looked over at my wife – a veterinarian – at the dinner table last night and said “How do I go in and prove to both myself and anyone that asks, without the shadow of a doubt, whether or not these animals are humanely put to sleep before being injected with the solution that umm..kills them?”

It’s called a DEA-Drug Log. The drugs used to make the animals go to sleep and to eventually stop their heart are both controlled drugs. That means you have to literally be able to account for every milliliter of that drug at all times, 24 hours a day, in case the DEA walks in and asks to audit your books. Because let’s face it… these drugs can kill people. The DEA is VERY concerned with being sure they’re used exactly like they’re supposed to be and that every bottle of it is accounted for.

I called the Director of the Health Department earlier today on his cell phone but he didn’t answer. I then took the county veterinarian with me and drove to Animal Control. I didn’t tell county management, didn’t tell the Animal Control officers, didn’t tell a single human being what I was going to do before I did it.

I walked into Animal Control today about lunch time and watched the lone staff-member perk up, instantly attentive as both a county commissioner and the county vet walked into his office. That’s never happened before.

Without wasting any time, I asked to see the DEA drug logs for all controlled drugs. The county’s vet on record has access to these upon request because it’s their reputation on the line, so there was no problem letting her (and me) see the log.

I sat there and went through the entire log book from about May to today’s date – August 22nd.

Let me preface my discoveries with a piece of odd-ball information you might or might not find relevant. I own an IT company as my full time job. I have five veterinary practices as clients so I know their systems and documentation strategies forward and backward because part of my job is helping them keep compliant with various federal laws (HIPAA, PCI, etc).

Having said that -this was about the most meticulous set of books I’ve ever seen in a drug log. They OVER-DOCUMENT things they aren’t even required to.

Here is how the process goes when they have to euthanize an animal, from a documentation standpoint, at Stanly County Animal Control.

  • The drugs and drug log required for the procedure are removed from a reinforced double-locked cabinet ( I saw the cabinet myself and the staff had no opportunity to further secure it before I arrived or after I entered the building because it was in the room behind me, so I was between the staff and the cabinet.)
  • They document the date, species, unique ID number of the animal.
  • They document the initials of the two individuals doing the procedure – the person drawing the drugs into the syringe, and the person delivering the drug to the animal.
  • They document the lot number – the serial number of the actual bottle they’re drawing the anesthesia solution from.
  • They document exactly how many mL they have of the solution left on hand in the building before/after every use.
  • They document how much they used on that one animal.
  • Then they repeat the same procedure for the drug used to stop the animal’s heart.
  • These two logs are in separate sections of the book, not together on the same page.
  • The logs are always on paper records. They can’t be digital. (The DEA wants to see the actual pen-strokes in case they suspect fraud).
  • They further document and are required to save every single order of every single bottle of those drugs in a separate binder, in hard copy.

So, with the help of the county veterinarian, I sat there for half an hour today and actively tried to find an inconsistency – to find ANY time in this year’s records where they might have tried to cut a corner. (Again, no one in their right mind would want to, but still, let’s assume they’re all sadomasochists and bent on doing Satan’s work, right?“)

There’s not one. The DEA’s record-keeping process is designed to make what I’m looking for impossible to do. They have to record every drop of every solution, what bottle they got it from, the weight of the animal to insure the amount makes sense ( a fact that could be cross checked against animal records), when they bought the bottle, who shipped it to them, when, etc.

I went through months of records doing spot checks. Every animal I checked made absolute perfect sense.

So, I can unequivocally “call bullshit” on ANYONE that thinks that SCAC is injecting animals while they’re awake. Every single animal is sedated and asleep before the unpleasant process of stopping their heart is carried out.

When I expressed my surprise at how detailed the drug records were, the veterinarian said “I’ve gotta admit, I think their logs are better maintained that mine are. They’ve got stuff in here they’re not even required to track. These records are good!”

So, now that issue is put to bed. I’ve got one more topic on my list tonight.

Blackballing Insert_Rescue_Name_Here.

After about the 12th email some of us received all using the same phrase – “blackballed” I started to suspect that one of these rescues out there is specifically trying to make trouble for SCAC by simply siccing their social media followers on them, and in-turn on myself, the director of the Health Department, the County Manager’s office, my fellow commissioners, and everyone else they can irritate with similarly worded emails.

So I called the county manager and asked him a question- specifically so I could answer one particular lady’s email with brutal honesty. I asked if the SCAC relationship with a particular rescue was considered secret, or privileged, or just in general something I shouldn’t share with someone outside county government or that particular entity themselves.

I assumed, as you might have, that the answer would be No, commissioner, you can’t go telling random people about problems we have with a particular rescue.” Guess what? I was wrong!

Its not privileged information at all. We don’t have contracts with these rescues. In fact we GIVE these rescues animals for FREE instead of charging them, with a few set conditions.

No, I’m not going to name the rescue organization in question, not at this time anyway, but I AM going to tell the ACTUAL story. The county manager, the director of the health department, the staff at Animal Control are all under one really annoying circumstance that makes their job REALLY difficult at times.

They are appointed positions. They have to be nice.

If they fail to be nice to the wrong person, they can be replaced with an administrative decision from the county commissioners and boom…. their career is over. From my perspective on the inside, seeing what they’ve gone through with this ONE particular issue with animal control, I’m tired of seeing my people get stepped on without them being able to speak up for themselves.

I ran for office to speak for the people of Stanly County that wanted some change and that predominantly just wanted transparency in government. Well, I’m learning that goes two ways. They have to simply sit idly by and let the general public hurl insults their way with no ability to tell a lady or man that they’re just plain bat-shit-crazy.

I’m elected. I don’t have that particular road-block, and I don’t have a particular affinity for appreciating bullshit or time wasting. We’ve got too much other crap to get done in this county to let things keep getting derailed by one crazy-cat-lady. And if… in three more years… the general public approve of the methods I take to defend both them and the people I work with on issues that I consider important, then they will re-elect me. If they disagree, they’ll elect someone else they feel handles things better than I do. But for now… ya got me, so let’s put an end to this crap, ok?

Again, without naming the rescue, here’s the deal.

Has the rescue been denied getting any more animals from SCAC? YES.

Does it have anything to do with a video of a dead cat? NO. (Though, again, I think someone needs to ask that particular person what the hell they were thinking to just let a cat sit there dead for that long and use it for publicity rather than attempting to save the kittens if they knew no one had obviously been made aware of it yet, but what do I know?)

Stanly County has a great relationship with some awesome rescues. We work quite often with Killer Kitties, Paws of Piedmont, and the Humane Society to rescue and rehome as many animals as possible. (That’s just the ones I know of. There might be more.)

In order to do this, SCAC gives these animals to the rescue for no charge. Free. Really, no charge whatsoever.

In turn, the rescue has to return paperwork on each animal proving they were spayed or neutered in accordance with policy. So if you’re going to get the animal and find it a home, you’re required to prove that you’re following the rules.

This particular rescue in question… they’re behind by about 10 months on returning their spay/neuter records. My personal belief – is that they don’t have them. They probably weren’t even getting the spays/neuters done at all.

Oh, how many cats did they “forget” to return records on? I’m glad you asked.

You might assume it was 5. Maybe you’re thinking 10. You’d be wrong. Fifty? A hundred? No, you’d still be wrong…

This “rescue” has failed to turn in spay/neuter records on 219 ANIMALS!

SCAC has been asking for these records since NOVEMBER of 2018. Eventually, about mid-summer of 2019 they simply said “Sorry, you can’t have any more animals until you get your paperwork straight and prove to us you’re spaying/neutering these animals.”

Why be so harsh ?

I totally get why you’d think that, right? I mean what’s wrong with just getting the animals new homes? Well, the problem is – some of these other amazing rescues we work with got a little … umm.. .unhappy.

Can you imagine running a rescue and having to solicit funds constantly to get your adoptees spayed and neutered? That’s not a cheap process. EVERY single animal has to go to the vet, be operated on, be sedated, be cared for afterwards. It’s time consuming. It’s expensive. Yet you continue to do it and you continue to serve the community in the way you love to do… then you find out this other rescue is getting away with not playing by the rules you’ve been told you’ve got to play by.

You have to pay for vet visits for every animal you take in yet someone else is just getting free cats hand over fist, probably letting them loose in their barn, and nothing is done about it? Yeah, I’d be irked a little too.

So, can this rescue ever get animals again? They absolutely can -as soon as they drop off the 219 overdue medical records on the animals they’ve already been given…

And finally – the human factor

I want to leave you with a thought, a fact, and a story.

Quite honestly, if there WERE a way to give the job of euthanizing an animal to a human being completely devoid of any emotional attachment, I’d vote for it in a minute! It would be the best thing in the world… for the humans involved.

I mentioned before that I’m married to a veterinarian. My wife is actually the county’s veterinarian, and since I’m a sitting elected official, she was told when I took office that she’d have to give up her position and let another vet serve the county. When we asked why – we were told about a statute that basically says that an elected official or their spouse can’t profit from any work with any county government whatsoever. It would be an implied conflict of interest.

Rather than accept that, she had new contracts drafted between herself and the county, mainly because her practice has the highest trained K-9 vets anywhere in this state and she didn’t want these K9 officers to have to suffer due to a statute that we both happen to find stupid. Instead of resigning her position, she just agreed to do everything for free. Any work she or her staff do serving the county is done at no charge. I tell you that only to show that vets care. People that work with animals CARE. No one would do that job if they didn’t.

So, the story… When my wife and I were first dating, she called me on the road one day all sad about a dog. This was ten years ago when the vet had to go over to animal control once each week and put down all that week’s animals in one long session.

There was this dog she saw that morning that was due to be euthanized later that week or next week, and for some reason that particular dog, amongst all those hundreds of animals she’d seen, spoke to her heart. We were both getting started in our relationship and I was traveling 200 miles each week to be here. I didn’t have the money to buy a riding mower, much less feed a dog, so I was spending 6 hours every Saturday cutting this damnable yard with a freebie push power given to us by a friend. I remember saying something along the lines of “Oh, honey, that’s sweet. We don’t need a dog. Don’t you dare bring home a dog.”

She sent me a picture message later that day… I don’t know how many their were, but she was standing in a room with the deceased bodies of all the dogs she couldn’t save that day – dogs she’d euthanized. Her text said “Don’t worry… I didn’t bring any of them home.” I don’t think she spoke to me for two days after that. I had no idea what she went through doing that horribly painful task week in and week out.

Things got better and we were ok after a few days – and I learned a valuable lesson – don’t ever tell my wife what she can and can’t do. Check. Got it. The next week she sent me a picture of that puppy she’d seen earlier, and I’ll be damned if it wasn’t sitting in the passenger seat of her vet truck. Damn! Sigh. We got another dog. By the way, his name is Biscoe. That was our first rescue together, but it wasn’t our last.

Biscoe playing with my wife in the yard.

As time went on, I started to spend more and more time up here and eventually moved up here to live in Stanly full time. She was still the county’s vet and she still worked at the animal shelter.

I remember seeing her despondent some afternoons, stirring her food but not eating it. She had no appetite and didn’t want to talk about it. Eventually I figured it out. That was on the Thursday’s she had to visit the shelter. Some animals were treated, some bandaged, some just checked out – but some were euthanized. We say euthanized because its a word that lets us cope better with the action. To the person that has to do it – it’s killing the animal. She had to kill ten animals that day. She had to kill five animals another day.

I watched her come home week after week, sometimes with great success stories to tell, but every day she had to euthanize animals she’d come home sad, despondent, and sometimes just break down and cry.

Now the fact… veterinarians are one of the highest suicide rates of all professions. A veterinarian is almost four time more likely to commit suicide than a normal working man or woman; due to burnout, depression, and the stress of some of the parts of the job.

My wife works with five other veterinarians in her practice. I’ve seen every single one of them crying more than once after putting an animal to sleep. And I don’t mean when the owner is present. I mean alone, back in the kennel room, after pouring their heart and soul into seeing this animal try to fight only to realize for whatever reason it can’t work. I’ve been there when she’s sitting on her knees crying her eyes out over an animal she doesn’t even know when no one else is around.

I’ve seen the staff so torn up they can’t stay in the room. I’ve seen the technicians cry. Hell, I’ve seen some that made me cry and I just walked in the room not knowing what I was walking into. I’ve watched her burn through interns like crazy. Everyone wants to be a veterinarian until they first time they accompany her on a euthanasia call. Then they return to the clinic, pack their locker, leave, and never return.

I’m telling you this for a reason – NO ONE likes doing that. NO ONE takes pleasure from having to put an animal down. Trust me when I tell you that I absolutely promise you – not one single officer in our animal control department takes any joy in seeing an animal’s life end in their hands. People sit at home on Facebook and read stories, hear other’s harsh words, read made-up accounts of what happens with the intent of making the reader angry.

You have no idea what it does to the soul of the people that have to do it. You have no idea what pain they carry home each night. I’ve seen my wife do it enough times that I bet I know exactly what they do – they go home, probably pour a drink on some particularly rough days, and find their dog or cat or horse, and spend time talking to it, just rubbing its head – in the hopes of washing out some of the stain from the day from their hearts and replacing it with a good memory, even if only for a moment’s peace.

We will never live in a world where animals don’t have to be put down. It will sometimes be because of lack of money. Sometimes it will be because of lack of resources. Sometimes it will be triage and having to pick who you can save. Sometimes it will even be because of mistakes people make just because we’re human, oversights that could have been prevented if they’d seen something sooner or had seen a warning sign or hadn’t been busy doing something with another animals. They’ll live with those instances, but its not something they do without regret, without heartache, and without pain.

But it will never be because no one cares.


  • Posted August 23, 2019

    Dianne Loflin

    I am so glad you were elected Tommy Jordan. I would just like to tell you that it is so absolutely refreshing to know that we have at least one person in office with common sense, a brain and the caring heart and ability to get things done. God bless you and please continue to bring truth to the people (whether they have the sense to understand it or not!) I am so glad that you followed through on your letter and tell your wife thank you for the profession she has undertaken.

    • Posted August 29, 2019


      No problem ma’am. That’s the job I was hired to do. Besides, now I can say without the shadow of a doubt that I’ve seen the process myself. SCAC might have it’s share of problems, but that’s one I’ve scratched off my list as fiction without any room for argument.

  • Posted August 23, 2019

    chris dowd

    I’m in NM so I can’t vote for you – but sure wish I could! Thank you so much for writing this. I’ve worked in rescue for over a decade and most of this rings so true. Social media has made rescue easier in many ways, but also harder. As exemplified by your story about the rescue that got banned for not having s/n paperwork on the cats. I hope you and your wife continue the work you are both doing in your own way and that the people in your county will become more responsible pet parents.

  • Posted August 23, 2019

    Wendy Dorsey Rachels

    Thank you Tommy Jordan for being a breath of fresh air in Stanly County politics. I appreciate your straight forth honesty and ability to get to the heart of the matter.

    • Posted August 29, 2019


      I wish I could take the time to write articles for all the things I think the public probably needs to know, or needs to be involved in, but even if this job paid full time and I didn’t have another job… I’d never write fast enough. I have to pick and choose the battles I take the time to write up. This article alone took about 5 hours to write and proof-read, and half a day of phone calls, visits, and fact-checking. It’s almost like being a reporter, except I don’t have a word limit! lol.

  • Posted August 23, 2019

    Linda Oland Hagen


  • Posted August 23, 2019

    Sabrina Mabry

    Very informative article. Please thank your wife for caring for these animals and not receiving any pay in return. The issue I have with Animal Control happened several years ago. My neighbors witnessed another neighbor’s dog kill one of my cats. Another neighbor also stopped and chased the dog( who had my cat in it’s mouth)back to her home. I called AC and an officer that I personally know came out and took my complaint. I mentioned that two people had witnessed the attack. The officer then went to the dog owner’s home and asked the man about the incident. The man said it wasn’t his dog and the case was dropped. He never questioned the neighbors who witnessed the incident. He said he could do more and if it had been videoed. Why didn’t he question the neighbors? Why did he take the word of the dog owner? I would have more respect for Animal Control if they actually conducted investigations. Thank you.

  • Posted August 23, 2019

    Cristy Giddens

    Commissioner Jordan,
    I appreciate your prescience on the subject of your article, there is no question concerning your passion about this subject. I am fond of animals and also a client of your wife’s veterinary office. I read the post about the mother cat and her kittens and it was disturbing. It prompted a knee jerk reaction of blaming the very people that are employed to protect people and pets from feral or unsupervised animals kept as pets. I have commented on multiple occasions concerning the neglect of spaying and neutering by negligent owners of pets. Feral or cats and dogs that are not neutered are a nuisance to both people and pets. Unsupervised pets that are “happier” because they are allowed free reign can also be a nuisance and a hazard to others as well as themselves. While the animals are not responsible for human irresponsibility they are often the recipients of the consequences. We have a pet property tax law, and if there is any means to require the spaying and neutering of domestic and/or feral cats and dogs I believe in the future it will prevent some of the strain and expense of protecting responsible pet owners and all citizens of Stanly County.

  • Posted August 24, 2019

    teresa hathcock

    Thank you for this well thought out article. I once served on the Board of Health. I was also a health care provider in the area for many years. I agree that our Animal control staff do a great job-many times with very few resources. Thank you for clarifying these issues. And if the staff is so diligent about over documenting drug use, it is because they are very aware of how powerful the medications are. And also because they dont want any of the medication to be used improperly. Kudos to the staff.

  • Posted August 24, 2019


    As always very well stated. All bases covered. I appreciate all you do for our county.

  • Posted November 18, 2020

    Marion Kucklick

    Sad words, but also true words. I live in Germany and our shelters don‘t euthanize only for medical reasons. All shelter here are community shelters. We have a very few animal welfare organizations that have shelters because the costs to run a shelter are high. Of course we as the „tax payers“ finance the shelters. The private ones are funded by sponsors. I watch the happenings in the US. The main problem is that people don‘t spay or neuter. People move and dump their pets…! It takes a generation to change people‘s mind and sensitize them for the welfare of animals. All that glitters is not gold here too, but people got more sensitize.
    Very often I am not able to open fb, it simply makes me sick. Sometimes I donate to help an animal. I watch videos and sometimes I beg for the life of animal. And I also adopted a cat from Death Row. After the necessary quarantine a friend brought her to me. In ACC she was vaccinated and microchipped . She sadly died to young. I think to change the situation in the United States you first have to change laws. People have to learn what‘ right or wrong. Values have changed. And many people have to be punished to learn. Probably I am to German in my thinking, I don‘t know? So far, it is comforting to know that the animals get an anesthesia before the deadly injection, and also they don‘t get gassed. To read of gassings makes me breathless.
    Thank you

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