One Form of Animal Cruelty: The Use of Live Animal Drop Off Facilities
Wake County, North Carolina, and in other locations in the United States,
the value of a living dog or cat is reflected by a unique form of collection
procedure used as part of animal control. This method of collection is
the live animal drop box, bin, or cage. Sometimes these facilities are know as "after hours facilities." Click on images 1 and 2
to read about the use of live animal drop off sites, about the reasons
for permanently closing drop off sites, and to understand why state and
federal legislation that makes all live animal drop sites illegal must
Smyrna, Tennessee Drop Bin. Due to media involvement and public pressure, this last Rutherford County drop box was closed on
November 18, 1999. Click on the image above to
read more about Tennessee
Garner, North Carolina Drop Box. Click on this image to read more about North Carolina
a Dunn, North Carolina drop-off facility
Dunn, North Carolina Drop-off facility
drop off sites and after hour facilities should be closed and made illegal
use of live animal drop bins, boxes, cages, and other unstaffed facilities for surrendering animals raise several
issues of law, humanity, and ethics:
First, a person abandoning a pet
is not held accountable for surrendering the animal. Despite the condition of the drop box or after hour facility, surrendering an animal is done anonymously. Even in the best of drop-off facilities or after hours facilities, the person responsible for the companion animal is not held accountable for abandoning the animal or the condition of the animal. Because of the
anonymous nature of drop sites, the owner of a pet takes no responsibility
for the decision. Live animal drops reinforce the notion that a living
animal is a piece of property, much like a pair of old socks, an unwanted
dress, or a plastic container, that may be discarded at the convenience
of the owner. Drop off facilities also reinforce the notion that
the owner of a pet is not bound by a lifetime commitment to the care and
nurturing of the animal.
Second, because of the anonymous nature
of a drop off facility, no measures are taken to assure that a person leaving
an animal is the owner of that animal. Anyone can drop your pet into a
drop bin, box, or cage. In some states this means that your loved
and cherished friend may be destroyed immediately.
Third, the owner of a pet left at
a drop off facility cannot be held accountable for the condition of the
pet. Animals frequently are dropped off in terrible states of neglect
and illness, but the owner cannot be located and held accountable.
Fourth, there is no effective legal protection
for pets left inside drop off facilities. Conditions inside drop
boxes, bins, and cages frequently are appalling. No laws specifically regulate
the use of live animal drop sites or conditions inside them.
Because the Animal Welfare Act does not apply to domestic animals such
as dogs and cats, it does not regulate the use of boxes, bins, and cages
used for their collection. Drop off facilities remain under the jurisdiction
of individual counties and states. Although guidelines are published for the use of drop off sites, there
is no legal requirement for compliance by individual counties with the
minimum standards of humane treatment laid out in these guidelines.
State animal cruelty statutes mandating that domestic animals receive adequate
shelter, food, and water frequently are too general. Even clear violations
of these statutes are not enforced in drop off sites. Witness the
drop bin in Smyrna, Tennessee that had no food or water provided for the
animals held inside for several hours. Witness the wire cage in North Carolina
with only a plastic drop cloth for a roof.
Fifth, drop off locations punish the victim,
the abandoned animal, for the convenience of the perpetrator, the irresponsible,
noncommittal owner. For example, North Carolina statutes make abandoning
an unwanted animal a misdemeanor. Even these relatively weak statutes
are not enforced. Rather than citing irresponsible pet owners, under
the law, for abandoning their animals, pet owners, for their convenience,
are provided anonymous drop off sites. In North Carolina, animals left
in drop sites may be considered surrendered pets. Surrendered animals do
not have the minimum protection of a seventy-two hour holding period required
by state law before they are killed. Surrendered animals may be destroyed
Sixth, The greatest tragedies of
live animal drop off facilities are the animals abandoned inside them.
Living,sentient animals suffer fear,abandonment, and frequently injury. Unwanted
animals, victims, are punished for irresponsible behavior on the part of
owners and narrow- minded thinking on the part of public officials. Some
who use live animal drop boxes argue that these facilities are in the public
interest because they protect human citizens from diseases such as rabies.
Rabies occurs most often in wild animals. Dogs and cats are best protected
against rabies by effective vaccination programs, not by drop off facilities.
Every state has rabies control programs. Relatively few resort to
the use of severely ill designed and ill equipped drop boxes, bins, or
cages. Please consider the use of these live animal drops and,
perhaps, the general state of animal cruelty laws. Click on the links
below to sign petitions for the State of North Carolina, to learn how you can actively participate in closing drop sites now
open, and in establishing legislation to make live animal drop sites permanently
Rhett Butler, age 1 year, 6 months, killed after being left in a drop box
What can I do? You can make the difference. Close these drop-off facilities and make all live animal drop off facilities illegal.
Write or email the North Carolina legislators today. Urge legislators to draft and pass legislation making unstaffed live animal drop off facilities or other forms of unstaffed after hours facilities illegal. Urge legislators to drat and pass legislation eliminating the need for drop boxes.
Second: Please click below for two printed petitions. Petition one asks for legislation making drop boxes illegal in North Carolina. Petition two asks for legislation that allocates state funds for adequate shelter facilities, adequate and well-trained shelter personnel, and low cost spay and neuter programs in North Carolina. Return signed petitions to the following address: Dr. Pat Haight, 4022 East Broadway Road, Suite 120, Phoenix, AZ 85040. Petitions will be sent to Members of the North Carolina General Assembly and to County Commissioners in several North Carolina Counties.