Marianna R. Burt: Animal due process

November 14, 2013 

The recent raid on the home of an officer of a local animal rescue group, in which a large number of animals were confiscated and later killed, raises several disturbing questions (“93 animals recovered from home,” Nov. 11 news story).

The first concerns due process. To whom did the animals actually belong, the organization or the individual officer? Chapter 19A, Section 47 of the North Carolina General Statutes provides for the care of animals confiscated under cruelty charges, with costs to be borne by the owner. Was this option offered? Of course they could be killed immediately if surrendered by the owner – was this what happened? Was there any form of coercion?

Having handled a number of such cases over the years, I can attest that coercion sometimes plays a role in varying degrees. Doesn’t it seem improbable that so many animals could be medically evaluated properly within such a short period of time? The conditions described in your article (ulcers, upper-respiratory infections, emaciation) are all treatable. The remedy for emaciation is food, not euthanasia.

Are any records available on the decision-making process for the individual animals? These due process questions need answers before we can establish the proper place of animal rescue groups in our community.

Marianna R. Burt


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