Across the United States, there are many instances of rescued abused animals being held in shelters. Many animals are held for “evidence” after being taken from unsafe homes or situations.

In North Carolina, one shelter is holding 17 case dogs. The sheer number of animals in shelters makes it hard for each animal to have quality time with humans and the attention and love it deserves. In court cases, dogs are considered property, and therefore must be held by the state until the case is settled. Shelter managers are frustrated at the current situation.

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Craven-Pamlico shelter director Eileen Beeson in North Carolina told the Sun Journal about the problem, “It’s not like a piece of paper evidence that you just store. These are living beings. They just sit and wait,” Beeson said of the dogs. “The hard part of this is – these puppies, this is the only life that they will know. The last case we had was… three puppies that came in at two weeks old and they left at six months old. Their whole puppyhood was here.”

In a paper published by the Environmental Law Institute, the paper authors recommend taking photographic and affidavits as evidence of the animal’s welfare, instead of storing them in a shelter long-term.

In Cleveland County, officials are working on improving the situation of “evidence” dogs kept in shelters. Officials recommend that an Animal Services Director review each case and check for other options. They also recommend that if an animal is surrendered in abuse cases, it should be placed for adoption immediately.

You can help this situation by supporting and donating to your local shelter.  Research animals as evidence laws in your jurisdiction and write to your local representatives to change these practices.

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To help prevent more animal abuse, sign this petition which wants to make it illegal for convicted animal abusers to work with animals.

Read more about animal shelters in One Green Planet. Check out these articles:

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