Some NC Animal Shelters Euthanize More than 75% of Cats

This older cat is shown in an Eastern NC shelter. She was adopted. Photo: Kay Whatley.
This older cat is shown in an Eastern NC shelter. She was adopted. Photo: Kay Whatley.

According to the 2015 Public Animal Shelter Report, released by the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS), shelters across the state euthanized approximately 36,226 dogs and 68,514 cats and in 2015.

NCDA&CS’s Veterinary Division includes an Animal Welfare Section. The section issues licenses for public and private animal shelters and kennels. They also oversee the certification program for Euthanasia Technicians, and collect shelter data on animals “put to sleep.”

For 2015, information is available by shelter for public animal shelters. The detailed report covers all types of animals; while birds, horses, and other creatures may be listed in their intake numbers, the vast majority are cats or dogs.   The full report is available to the public at To see all types of animals taken in and adoption data, see the reports for your area.

The report includes data by species, the total number taken into each shelter, how many were adopted to a new owner, how many were returned to their owner, and how many were euthanized.

For some NC counties, the shelters euthanized the majority of cats and dogs taken in. Cats were the biggest losers, with some shelters euthanizing more than 75% of cats. Data for the Five County area and beyond are included as examples. While some other pet and wild animals were euthanized, the vast majority were cats or dogs.

Tarboro Animal Shelter in Edgecombe County


  • Dogs taken in: 96
  • Dogs euthanized: 22
  • Percentage of dogs euthanized: 22.9%


  • Cats taken in: 192
  • Cats euthanized: 107
  • Percentage of cats euthanized: 55.7%

Franklin County Animal Shelter in Franklin County


  • Dogs taken in: 1,273
  • Dogs euthanized: 308
  • Percentage of dogs euthanized: 24.1%


  • Cats taken in: 1,403
  • Cats euthanized: 1,029
  • Percentage of cats euthanized: 73.3%

Granville County Animal Shelter in Granville County


  • Dogs taken in: 1,141
  • Dogs euthanized: 195
  • Percentage of dogs euthanized: 17.0%


  • Cats taken in: 1,319
  • Cats euthanized: 955
  • Percentage of cats euthanized: 72.4%

Greene County Animal Shelter in Greene County


  • Dogs taken in: 372
  • Dogs euthanized: 46
  • Percentage of dogs euthanized: 12.3%


  • Cats taken in: 88
  • Cats euthanized: 21
  • Percentage of cats euthanized: 23.8%

Halifax County Animal Shelter in Halifax County


  • Dogs taken in: 978
  • Dogs euthanized: 431
  • Percentage of dogs euthanized: 44.0%


  • Cats taken in: 861
  • Cats euthanized: 756
  • Percentage of cats euthanized: 87.8%

Johnston County Animal Services in Johnston County


  • Dogs taken in: 2,075
  • Dogs euthanized: 819
  • Percentage of dogs euthanized: 39.4%


  • Cats taken in: 2,480
  • Cats euthanized: 2,067
  • Percentage of cats euthanized: 83.3%

Note that there is also a Town of Clayton Animal Holding Facility listed, with no intakes and no animals listed as euthanized.

City of Rocky Mount Animal Shelter in Nash County


  • Dogs taken in: 830
  • Dogs euthanized: 330
  • Percentage of dogs euthanized: 39.7%


  • Cats taken in: 595
  • Cats euthanized: 438
  • Percentage of cats euthanized: 73.6%

Nash County Animal County in Nash County


  • Dogs taken in: 869
  • Dogs euthanized: 184
  • Percentage of dogs euthanized: 21.1%


  • Cats taken in: 1,308
  • Cats euthanized: 1,094
  • Percentage of cats euthanized: 83.6%

City of Greenville Animal Shelter in Pitt County


  • Dogs taken in: 488
  • Dogs euthanized: 18
  • Percentage of dogs euthanized: 3.6%


  • Cats taken in: 414
  • Cats euthanized: 63
  • Percentage of cats euthanized: 15.2%

Farmville Police Department Animal Control in Pitt County


  • Dogs taken in: 37
  • Dogs euthanized: 16
  • Percentage of dogs euthanized: 43.2%


  • Cats taken in: 47
  • Cats euthanized: 22
  • Percentage of cats euthanized: 46.8%

Note that there is also a Greenville Holding Facility listed, with no intakes and no animals listed as euthanized.

Pitt County Animal Shelter in Pitt County


  • Dogs taken in: 1,793
  • Dogs euthanized: 667
  • Percentage of dogs euthanized: 37.2%


  • Cats taken in: 1,369
  • Cats euthanized: 838
  • Percentage of cats euthanized: 61.2%

Note that there is also a Town of Grifton listed, with 25 dog intakes and no animals listed as euthanized.

Vance County Animal Control in Vance County


  • Dogs taken in: 1,373
  • Dogs euthanized: 61
  • Percentage of dogs euthanized: 4.4%


  • Cats taken in: 1,025
  • Cats euthanized: 384
  • Percentage of cats euthanized: 37.4%

Wake County Animal Care Control in Wake County


  • Dogs taken in: 5,484
  • Dogs euthanized: 923
  • Percentage of dogs euthanized: 16.8%


  • Cats taken in: 5,096
  • Cats euthanized: 1,780
  • Percentage of cats euthanized: 34.9%

Note that there is also a Town of Cary Police Department Holding Facility listed, with 18 dog intakes and 23 cat intakes and no animals listed as euthanized.

Warren County Animal Ark in Warren County


  • Dogs taken in: 796
  • Dogs euthanized: 218
  • Percentage of dogs euthanized: 27.3%


  • Cats taken in: 638
  • Cats euthanized: 355
  • Percentage of cats euthanized: 55.6%

Wayne County

No shelters were in the report for Wayne County.

Wilson County Animal Shelter in Wilson County


  • Dogs taken in: 1,182
  • Dogs euthanized: 262
  • Percentage of dogs euthanized: 22.1%


  • Cats taken in: 1,017
  • Cats euthanized: 812
  • Percentage of cats euthanized: 79.8%


There may be factors in certain areas that contribute to the high euthanasia rates. Certainly, there are human population differences in these areas, urban vs. rural differences, and each shelter has to work within their own budget. Still, putting down so many animals cannot be considered a good path to continue following.

None of the animals put down in 2015 can be helped, obviously; however, if more humans take the time to fix their pets, the shelters could get emptier over the coming decade. Pet overpopulation is a problem that can be corrected by humans by just pitching in for animals in their care, or in their area. It’s a local problem with a local fix.

Adopt from a Shelter

Humans with space in their homes and hearts, money for animal food, and time to care for them, adopting from animal shelters can lower the euthanasia rates. Adopting a fixed animal, or getting it spayed or neutered, helps lower the number of animals going to shelters.

Keeping an animal for its entire life-span is ideal. While kittens and puppies are cute, they may be different as adults. Be sure the animal you adopt is an animal you can keep.

For humans who would like to get cats and dogs out of the high-euthanasia shelters, check out the full 2015 NCDA&CS report PDF file here.

If you can’t adopt, or have already adopted all your family needs, consider donating to a no-kill animal shelter. Putting your funds into their costs for spaying and neutering helps them continue their work. The future doesn’t have to be a future with “too many” cats and dogs.  Let’s work together to get this under control before our children and grandchildren inherit the earth!

Spay. Neuter. Fix!

If humans take the time to get their dogs and cats “fixed,” the shelters could be receiving fewer animals. So, fewer “unwanted” animals would exist to be euthanized.

Veterinarians can spay or neuter an animal often in a same-day surgery. Yes, the surgeries can cost a couple hundred dollars.  If a lower cost option is needed, checking with local vets may lead to a vet that charges $100 or less.

The NCDA&CS Animal Welfare Section includes a link to an external list to “Find low cost spay-neuter programs near you.” That link, unfortunately, goes to a non-existent website.  Fortunately, a second link to works and includes a searchable map. Enter your zip code and choose how far you can travel, and scroll down to see the search results list below the map.

There are veterinarians who strive to make spaying and neutering affordable for cat and dog owners.  For example, in Zebulon NC where the newspaper is based, there is a low-cost clinic called the 5 County Spay/Neuter Clinic. Fees are on their website. Check with vets in your area, especially if your finances are tight, yet you’re committed to fixing your pet.

Some nonprofit organizations geared toward dogs and cats are working with local vets to make spaying and neutering more affordable.  They work with vets, and the vets give of their time, to reach a common goal of spaying and neutering to keep animal populations at a manageable level — no unwanted litters or euthanized animals.

For example, right here in Eastern North Carolina, the SPCA of Wake County NC works with veterinarians throughout their coverage area. Their participating vets provide surgeries for well under $100.  Anyone can go to this SPCA Wake web page to find the list of veterinarians accepting vouchers and purchase a spay/neuter voucher for $46 to $56 (cats) or $57 to $76 (dogs). You don’t have to be a Wake County resident to get that savings voucher, you just need to take your pet to a participating vet. That savings voucher being accepted by area vets means that their offices are donated their time and supplies in order to make fixing more affordable. If one is in your area, get a voucher to fix your pet, and maybe even consider making that generous office your full-time vet!

An organization called the North Carolina Responsible Animal Owners Alliance has a list of low-cost spay/neuter locations on their website at  It is undated, but hopefully current. Their Facebook page is here.

A traveling spay/neuter program called SNAP-NC offers low-cost surgeries too. Their services are available in about a dozen NC counties, with multiple Wake County locations. See where they serve via their website,

Outside of Eastern NC, a quick web search may yield lists of local organizations, spay/neuter programs, or vets providing discounts.  Humans are working across the US to knock back the numbers on pet overpopulation.

This adult dog is shown in an Eastern NC shelter. The dog was rescued by The Maggie Society. Photo: Kay Whatley.
This adult dog is shown in an Eastern NC shelter. The dog was rescued by The Maggie Society. Photo: Kay Whatley.
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About Kay Whatley 2309 Articles
Kay Whatley serves as Editor and Reporter with The Grey Area News. Kay is a published author with over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. Kay Whatley is wife to Frank Whatley, founder of The Grey Area™ newspaper and The Grey Area News online news website.