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 Stop One Form of Animal Cruelty: The Use of Live Animal Drop Off Facilities

In 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 be adopted.

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

Inside a Dunn, North Carolina drop-off facility

Dunn, North Carolina Drop-off facility

Why unstaffed drop off sites and after hour facilities should be closed and made illegal

The use of live animal drop bins, boxes, cages, and other unstaffed facilities for surrendering animals raise several issues of law, humanity, and ethics:
  • 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 immediately.
  • 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 illegal.

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.

First: 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.

Who to write in North Carolina

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.

Print North Carolina Petition-PDF file

Learn why healthy, loving animals spend the last days of their lives in drop boxes, animal control facilities, and private shelters.


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    This site last updated 9/10/2000

    This Animal Rights Web Ring site is owned by Dr. Pat Haight and Mrs. Cindi Kratzer in Memory of Rhett Butler and Diesel who lost their lives to a drop box and to a violation of holding laws

    Want to join the Animal Rights Web Ring?
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