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Animals Rescued From NC ‘Slow Kill’ Shelter

Written by PETA | February 1, 2008

This case has been a decade in the making, with a steady stream of complaints about substandard conditions and terrible suffering at the no-kill shelter in North Carolina, but this week, shortly after the release of a seven-months long PETA undercover investigation into All Creatures Great and Small, the animals languishing in the shelter are finally getting the help that they have desperately needed. The North Carolina Department of Agriculture has announced that it will be launching an operation to transfer the remaining animals—almost 300 of them—out of this hellhole and into pre-approved animal sheltering organizations, and closing ACGS for good due to ongoing, persistent violations of the animal welfare act.

This is a big victory for the animals who have suffered from overcrowding, disease, and untreated injuries at the shelter, and a testament to the hard work and perseverance of the undercover investigator, whose harrowing footage of conditions inside the operation broke this case wide open after seven years’ worth of red tape prevented All Creatures Great and Small from being shut down following a series of failed state inspections as far back as 2001.

We were thrilled to learn that these animals have finally gotten a reprieve, but there’s still work to be done on this case, specifically the filing of criminal charges against the operators of the facility, who have thus far not been held accountable for the shocking neglect and mistreatment of the animals in their care. You can find info to contact the Henderson County District Attorney and urge him to get on with that on this page.

And if you haven’t seen it yet, this is the video from PETA’s seven-month investigation into the shelter. Sadly, these sorts of conditions are an extremely common sight in no-kill shelters like ACGS, which take in more animals than they can manage and refuse to give suffering animals in their care a humane release.

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  • Anonymous says:

    This whole thing could be avoided if people would just spayneuter thier pets instead of letting them rapidly reproduce.There arent enough homes for all these stray animals so they suffer in shelters unless people learn the importance of animal birth control the problem is only gonna get worse

  • Sherrill says:

    What happened to that poor dog who was hit by a car and was put in a back room to suffer getting no vet treatment?

  • Maya, C.V.T. says:

    Sorry Dana. But maybe one day…!

  • Sherrill says:

    Would someone from PETA please answer on if the poor dog who was hit by a car and put in the backroom to suffer ever got help? What eventually happened to this dog?

  • Dana says:

    Dang it Maya when you said minority I was starting to think I woke up in a perfect world this morning..

  • Maya, C.V.T. says:

    Yay for Tessa! That is such awesome news Judith. You did a great job and you moved quickly! I wish I could find homes for the strays in our shelter that fast. Nice job. Tessa is one lucky kitty to have found you.

  • Spay and neuter immediately, please says:

    Ugh jeez. I don’t have time to argue with you about noclue shelters Maya. I’m busy helping animals. Maybe you can get off your high horse and do the same.

  • Judith, Freedom Fighter for Animals says:

    Thank you Maya Ana and PETA members that helped to give us advice taking care of the lost kitty who we were able to find her home and her name is Tessa. It’s a long story but it ended ever so happy. How she traveled 3 miles and found our home when she had never been outside and had no claws for protection is beyond us. It was meant to be. Maya is right there are nokill shelters that are just wonderful. You can not lump them together. Utah has a truly wonderful group of people that runs one of the best. They were one of the first responders during Katrina. They also received many of the dogs and cats from Beirut after the horrific bombings. PETA sent out an email to members asking us to please send whatever amount of money we could to “Beirut for The Ethical Treatment of Animals” which my husband and I and many others did. Animal Welfare is universal. There are good and there are bad but to lump them together is what our administration says about all of the Animal Activists they call us terrorists. Peace!

  • Maya, C.V.T. says:

    “Spay and neuter” Thank you you proved my point for me very nicely. Bananas REALLY misread my statement then. I never ever ever said “Peta does not work to improve the conditions at open admission shelters”. Now listen carefully please take the time to read this if you’re going to comment on it. What I said was this pay attention now There ARE open admission shelters that abuse and neglect animals JUST AS MUCH as some nokills. What makes a shelter bad neglectful and abusive is bad people staffing and running the place not whether or not it’s no kill. Bananas and others I’m more than happy to hear your disagreements with my statement! But if you can’t speak in a respectful tone to me I expect you to at least respond to what I said not to made up statements.

  • Spay and neuter immediately, please says:

    Kelly you are awesome. Keep on rocking.

  • Spay and neuter immediately, please says:

    Maybe YOU should read more carefully Maya. Bananas is responding to your accusation that PETA doesn’t work to improve conditions at open admission shelters as well as the noclue ones. They work on both there is just a bigger need for reform in slow kills.

  • Maya, C.V.T. says:

    I meant to say “majority”. Sorry.

  • Maya, C.V.T. says:

    Jennifer you are so right and I apologize. If you look at my comments I am usually more respectful. I am simply angry at Kelly for refusing to speak in a civil tone with me I’ve asked her several times and for wasting time. I actually prefer to have people who disagree with PETA especially those who disagree with animal rights because it’s a great opportunity to educate them in a kind way. While PETA has done some great things meat eaters are still in the minority shelters are still packed with unwanted animals and slaughterhouse animals are still tortured as much as ever. I think it’s worth examining and discussing how to change behaviors. It can be a civil discussion and we who care about animals can come up with solutions and yet still be united. There’s nothing wrong with voicing opinions. Thank you for listening! Peace!

  • Maya, C.V.T. says:

    Bananas do you mean “no kill shelters?” Obviously you don’t type very carefully so I’m inclined to think you don’t read very carefully. I’ve done my research I’m a certified vet nurse and have visited dozens of no kill shelters volunteered at several worked at 1 no kill and adopted from 2. I don’t know what kind of research you’ve done but I’ve done plenty and I know for a fact that PETA is wrong in blindly criticizing all of them.

  • Deanna says:

    Yet another GOOD reason to make spayneuter MANDATORY in every single last state!!And for those of you that say it’s not fair to make it mandatory because of pure bred breeders get real! there in it for the money not the pet!

  • Jennifer says:

    Seriously! every time I happen to look in a comment there is always atleast one person who has to be so upset and insult people! Say what you want to say but alot of you are just so mean about it! If you don’t agree with what peta is doing then do us all a favor and stop visiting the website just so you have a reason to complain and disagree with people to make yourself feel better! Or atleast comment on things with a little more respect for the people that may not agree with you. I’m sorry but I see this every time and I just had to say something.

  • karen says:

    Yes my heart is broken after seeing the PETA investigation of ACGS. It’s obvious that the proximate cause here is that people are still too ignorant to get their pets spayed an neutered. I am appalled at the conditions of both “kill” shelters and the “no kill” ACGS facility. It breaks my heart…that people just think animals are disposable. Can we all not ban together in our respective communities and get the word out about spay and neuter? Can we all not advocate low costno cost spay neuter facilities in our communities? It seems to work here in IredellCatawba counties. And yes I am the proud parent of 3 altered dogs and 3 altered cats.

  • Maya, C.V.T. says:

    Hi Manda! I think you have an excellent point about this particular post but if you click on the link that says “no kill” it opens up to PETA’s article that condemns all no kills and praises open admission shelters. I have worked at both and I run a no kill and so do many of my collegues. Many nokills are private and each shelter is run differently by different people with different policies and different ways of treating animals. Unless each is inspected there’s no way to judge all no kills. Of course I’m very thankful that the horrorplace of All Creatures is now known it’s unacceptable. But many no kills are wonderful. If you could ask the cats dogs rabbits to choose they would certainly not choose 2 weeks in a steel cage then death. They would choose one of the many no kills with large playrooms couches excellent vet care foster moms lots of room and great animal professionals caring for them. I’m in favor of every shelter being inspected by animal rights groups. But I am not in favor of PETA claiming all no kills are bad without even visiting them. No disrespect intended to you though Manda. I do see your point.

  • Maya, C.V.T. says:

    Kelly you still haven’t told me what you do for a living so it’s hysterical that you’d accuse me of not knowing. I’m a certified vet nurse and I have worked at 2 shelters. UNLIKE YOURSELF I have visited the no kills of which I speak. You must be very stupid indeed if you think it’s a cult. At this point I’m positive that you’re not a real animal professional you have refused many times to tell me your profession. The no kills I visit have certified veterinary nurses like myself wildlife rehabilitators and behaviorists all paid staff. Again Kelly what animal profession are you in?

  • Bananas says:

    Maybe Maya should do a little research before she passes judgement on PETA’s stand on kill shelters. I have seen first hand where PETA got a county pound to eventullay shut there doors due to cruel conditions and helped them build a new pound better suited to the needs of the animals. Im sure if you formally invited PETA to come out to your shelter they would accept your invitation.

  • Marcy says:

    One more hellhole shut down. Thank you Peta!

  • Sarah says:

    my comment is to the ignorant person below why do people think that the only dogs that have a bad temper are pittbulls? i absolutely hate that stereotype. pittbulls are not bad dogs. its people that make them this way. and people like you who give them a bad reputation. idiot.

  • Michael Essi says:

    I don’t really know how anyone can condone the conditions at this facility. If a facility wants to maintain a “no kill” policy it should also be run by individual with enough sense to know when the line is crossed between doing a good thing and being a part of the problem. Good intentions only go so far. In the event that I ever witness a facility like this I will personally shut the place down. I have no regard for authorities who would allow these conditions for more than one moment.

  • Debby says:

    To Arrrg No one wants dogs running loose to bite your child or anyone else or to get hit by cars or kill other small pets. The reason people are happy that this horrible place closed is because no animal should have to live like these were at ACGS. And in an ideal world every animal would have a loving home and a loving family to care for them. But that’s never going to happen in your lifetime or mine. I would rather see an animal given a quick painless shot that just lets them go to sleep in a second then to see it spend the next eight years in a cage the size of its own body where it stands on filth and hopes someone will remember to bring it a drink of water. The whole no kill shelter thing might make some people happy perhaps some of the ones who don’t bother to spayneuter their pets it relieves their feelings of guilt? but it isn’t always the answer especially if the animals are abused and neglected in the extreme.

  • Manda says:

    To respond to Maya C.V.T. I do not think that this article ment that no abuse happens at “kill” shelters. I think it was trying to show us that abuse even occurs in the place we least expect it to happen i.e. “no kill” shelters

  • Ana says:

    No generalizations it’s not fair smart nor adequate.

  • Brandon Becker says:

    The root of the issue here is the continued breeding of animals for human purposes. If we really want a nokill revolution we must work to shut down breeding everywhere!

  • kelly says:

    Maya for God’s sake get out in the real world! Animal abuse ANYWHERE is not acceptable whether it is at a puppy mill or an animal shelter. But you are getting suckered by the No Kill cult leaders into excusing abuse if it is in the name of No Kill. Your No Kill pals aren’t telling you about the bad things! The world does not consist of you and your friends. There are terrible terrible things happening to animals in the name of No Kill and that is NOT OK. And since Peta has exposed abuse at nonNo Kill shelters as well WHAT ARE YOU EVEN TALKING ABOUT!

  • Carla says:

    Arrrrg! Or was that 3 r’s? There is no real solution here BUT we can all play an important role on this issue by helping anyway we can! MOST importantly it will all boil down to knowing our ABC’S!!

  • kelly says:

    The problem is that there are many more of these situations where the animals are suffering NOW and nothing is getting done. The No kill mania has fed into the sick minds of very sick people that are hoarding and accumulating animals that live outdoors in the weather all their lives don’t get vet care and are barely being fed. It is an especial problem in the southern rural areas where there is no animal control but in truth it’s going on everywhere. We all need to really look hard at these places visit them go behind the scenes and if there is abuse collect info and go to authorities!! It is up to each of us to determine if these places are in our neighborhoods because they often hide and operate in secret. Shelters and sanctuaries that have large numbers of animals should be licensed just like breeders should. There need to be some rules. This whole problem is getting worse!

  • Arrrg! says:

    What the HEL is wrong with you people? What you prefer? A An animal shelter underfunded thou it may be that TRIES to save as many anminals as it can and prevent the suffering other or B Letting them all run loose so that one day a child maybe mine maybe yours is attacked by an ill tempered pitbull? I don’t know why I ask most of you thick skulled fools with your rose coloured glasses and lollipops and rainbow view of the world would want the animals to run loose. Stop looking at the situation and start looking at the cause! Why are there so many animals in shelters? Why do the shelters have to put them down? You want to help VOLUNTEER! Most animal shelters need your help. Don’t want to volunteer? Adopt! Give a good cat or dog a good home. Just get over yourselves.

  • Susannah S says:

    How incredibly sad. I’m glad that PETA was instrumental in shutting this place down!

  • keith says:

    Those responsible need the electric chair ” Ride On.”

  • Dana says:

    The good news on this other than the fact the shelter is closing is due to permit problems this facility will not be continuing on any longer. The plan was a couple of months back to open a new facility on an individuals property in a different state. They found out quickly that the country they were moving into plays by the rules and found that you have to go through a proper channel to open a facility it would not be just a move one problem to a different location in a hurry situation. So they gave up on opening the new facility and then started the focus on getting the animals homes. At first there were 700 animals up for adoption and thank goodness for many loving individuals and rescue groups that number has fallen to 300. From what I have seen there are still very precious animals there that are still in need of a home…I will tell you this watching the video or seeing the pictures does not even start to cover the horrors of seeing this place first hand This place was not suited for any living being to be in much less it be a life sentence for the animals forced to stay there and be subjected to some people with very bad intent. It was a long fight and for the dogs cats that were forced to stay there awaiting these changes I will shed a tear but justification on their behalf has prevailed for there will never be another animal that has to step foot inside this inhumane prison ever again. I learned a great deal with my visit to this place it really woke me up that SpayNeuter is the only option to stop this cycle…Laws are needed for no living being should ever wind up living in these hll holes. There are more out there just like this one and hopefully more stories about them finally being forced to end the torture are still to come. Please take this as a lesson spayneuter your companion animals…and please make sure that when you make the choice to bring an animal in to your home that you are able to provide the proper environment to fit their needs not just yours so that they do not end up ever having to experience life inside prison walls on death row or in a prison with a life sentence with no option of parol. Do not buy from breeders EVER or any other outlet that sales animals for profit for they as well are responsible for the overwhelming problem. This battle is won but the war is far from over! Please keep in mind also had this situation never had been an issue there would have never had been a need to find homes for 700 animals in a hurry..and in this process many other dogs that are in well run shelters just missed a chance at home because of this event from a nokill shelter that hoarded animals by the hundreds. This is a message that shelters that are not working should never be allowed by any laws to get to this point or allowed to continue for this amount of time I wish that people would become this motivated to help dogs that need homes all the time instead of waiting for something to make headlines. This is a every day situation and should be looked at with urgency all the time not just when the headlines decide to feature it.

  • Carla says:

    Great news we all were waiting for since it was first posted!! Unfortuantly this is not the first and certainly won’t be the last. With an ever increasing population in the human world so does the pet population with more and more disregard for their welfare. It’s like the revolving door. But there is hope with more awareness and for the loving compassionate people to continue spreading the word and with more law inforcement taking issues like these seriously and more spay and neuter programs out there WE can all make a difference we have that power!!

  • Maya, C.V.T. says:

    Add one more reason to the list of why I won’t donate to PETA. My shelter my friend’s shelter and many local nokills in the area have lots of room couches private vets and education programs for the public. Many take in wretched strays and abused animals and give them large playrooms. They are vaccinated so they don’t get each other sick. Is PETA willing to inspect those nokills before they paint them all with the same brush? They’re welcome to my no kill any time. Are y’all so naive that you think no abuse ever takes place at kill shelters? One of the open admission “kill” shelters I worked at had abuses. The new manager took an injured songbird and threw it into a cage saying it was disgusting. Dogs were screamed at. A euthanized cat was thrown into the garbage while it was still breathing. Want me to keep going? You’d have to be blind to think that open admission kill shelter always humane. That’s just dumb. Inspect before you judge please.