To the Editor:
PetSmart, which is known for not carrying puppy mill dogs or cats, also holds on-site adoptions for rescue groups to find homes for homeless dogs and cats. This new facility is state of the art and includes a “cat room” designed to reduce stress and maintain healthy animals waiting for adoption. So the opening of the new Haywood County PetSmart was more than welcome by local rescue groups. But everyone got a surprise a few days before the scheduled opening. PetSmart was informed that the facility needed an inspection by the Department of Agriculture inspector before animals could be on the premises. PetSmart’s two store openings in Buncombe County had not required an — occupancy (my word) — inspection and they were dismayed to learn at the last minute that they would not be able to have the planned cats and dogs on the premises (inside or outside) for adoption. They rushed to get the paperwork completed so the adoptions could take place. Ironically, an inspector was able to drop by to check for pythons in the building but did not have time to check out the cat room. The grand opening took place Sept. 8-9 with rescue groups but no dogs or cats.
Because of this unexpected delay, the animals pulled from the shelter in anticipation of the event by a local rescue group did not get adopted. This meant no new spaces for adoptable animals were available; this meant that the county shelter did not have enough space for incoming pets. So, 20 cats were euthanized during the week of Sept. 10.
Making the grand opening a non-event because of a bureaucratic schedule is shortsighted. PetSmart has employees, pays taxes and works within the community on behalf of animal welfare. The lack of collaborative thinking by the state inspector has led to loss of income, for PetSmart, the rescue group and the community, not to mention the needless loss of life of shelter animals.
Haywood County taxpayers, indeed North Carolina taxpayers, should be angry enough to let their local and state representatives know that we deserve better.
Exececutive Director Haywood Spay/Neuter