Officials say overcrowding at Floyd Countys animal control shelter last week prompted them to euthanize eight dogs being held for a group to adopt out.
Scotty Hancock, who heads animal control as well as Floyd Countys emergency management agency, said the shelter bends over backward to let rescue groups pick up animals that it does not adopt out.
But Hancock said the group Needful Souls from Cartersville failed to pick up the animals as scheduled Thursday. It was given more time but Friday morning transported just four of the dozen dogs requested, leaving the shelter with 91 dogs in 35 pens and facing the prospect of more animals arriving Saturday, he said. That overcrowding prompted the shelter to euthanize the animals.
Bret Cochran, with Needful Souls, said he did not pick up the dogs Thursday as planned because of a family problem. He said he went to the shelter Friday morning and got four of the animals. He said when he returned later that day for the remaining eight, he learned they had been euthanized.
Cochran said if he had known they were about to be euthanized, he would have made arrangements to have them picked up in the morning.
After learning of the shelters actions, Needful Souls posted a short statement and photos of the animals on its Web site, saying they were put to death on what is supposed to be a no-kill day. The shelter normally kills animals only on Wednesdays.
Cochran said a woman from Michigan was paying him to rescue the dogs. He declined to identify her, saying only that she is an animal activist who wants to keep the animals alive.
He said the money he gets only covers the shots for the puppies and the older dogs that are taken to the vets.
Romes Jane Berry, with Sterile Feral, which focuses on rescuing and sterilizing cats, expressed concern that money was changing hands.
I wouldnt let someone have an animal if they were willing to pay for it. In true rescue, you dont have to buy dogs, you only charge for the vet bills to those adopting the dogs. I would want to see where the dogs went, she said.
Berry and Hancock also questioned the accuracy of the Needful Souls Web site that showed which dogs were put to death.
Berry said Tuesday at least two of the dogs shown had been rescued, and Hancock said Tuesday morning several of the dogs shown on the Web site were still in the shelter.