Clear the Shelters: Pender County Animal Shelter

Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 5:03 AM EDT
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PENDER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - The Pender County Animal Shelter normally houses between 40 to 120 animals a day. They aren’t always just cats and dogs.

“We even have a rooster right now and that’s not uncommon for our animal shelter because Pender County is such a large count. We have a very populated eastern beach side, and then we are also very rural, so we’ve had goats, chickens, and horses. Every now and then we get a cow, so we’re very diverse in what we have here at our animal shelter,” said Jewell Horton, Pender County Animal Shelter Manager.

It’s also a very large facility with the capacity to handle livestock. There’s a large play area and agility equipment that allows the employees to give the animals extra play time. The play yards and patio area can be used for potential pet owners to meet an animal they are interested in. Horton strongly encourages bringing in the entire family.

“I think that is really important because everyone who is going to live with the animal needs to be involved with picking out the animal... that’s really important so that everybody clicks and gets along, said Horton.

Horton also believes having a chance to interact and bond with a dog before you adopt it is important.

“We don’t stand on top of you for this event. If you need our help, we are here to help you, but we feel like you should be able to come out here and find the dog you’re looking for. You should be able to get that dog out yourself, take it to one of our play areas and interact with that dog yourself. If you can’t handle that dog yourself, if you can’t take that dog out yourself and handle it, it’s probably not a good fit for you because the dogs know us,” said Horton.

Horton has been in the animal welfare business for more than two decades and feels that’s very important.

“It’s a very passionate thing for all my staff. We’ve all been in animal welfare probably all of us somewhere between 15-20 years a piece. It’s not about the money, it’s about the animals. It’s something we all feel very passionate about. We all want to make sure these animals get in good homes and get in homes they will be in forever if at all possible,” said Horton.

That passion gets Horton through the worst parts of her job.

“When you see animals come in broken or damaged or hurt, and seeing where society has failed and not being able to help those animals... that is truly tragic and heartbreaking because you feel like as a society as a whole, we could do better. And that is super tough because, as part of our job, being able to compassionately look at that objectively and say, hey, what is in the best interest of this animal and being able to help that animal not suffer any longer,” said Horton.

The Pender County Animal Shelter often sends out pleas for help when the shelter is full. They also make sure every animal that leaves is spayed or neutered, but Horton believes more can be done.

“There’s absolutely a gazillion animals out there that do not need to continue to procreate and flood our shelters and flood our streets and neighborhoods... that’s what we have to stop. The shelter is full of feral cats that have nowhere to go. We’re full of hounds and pit bulls that there are not enough homes for. That’s what we need to address. I could adopt out 150 poodles a day but God knows these beautiful hounds and pit bulls... I can’t hardly find them homes. That’s what we’ve got to work on,”said Horton.

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