Hundreds line up to adopt animals rescued from Hoke County shelter

SANFORD, N.C. (WNCN) — Hundreds of people lined up Friday to adopt nearly 700 animals rescued from a Hoke County animal shelter in January.

Those interested in adopting a new four-legged friend can go to the temporary shelter located at 2217 Nash Street in Sanford Friday through Sunday. The hours each day are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

On Friday, the ASPCA said around half of the animals were adopted, but nearly 350 animals still remain available for adoption Saturday and Sunday.

“It’s been an amazing transformation for these animal over the past seven weeks,” said Tim Rickey, ASPCA vice-president of field investigations. “To see them go from a kind of a depressed state and unhealthy stage to what were seeing today which is a lot of very health and happy friendly animals.”

Many indoor and barn cats, and special needs animals still need homes, the ASPCA said late Friday.

The ASPCA has been nursing the dogs, cats, horses, pigs and birds back to health since they were removed from the Haven Animal Shelter in January following complaints.

The shelter’s owners, Stephen and Linden Spear, are charged with animal cruelty.

Ehren Melius, a shelter director with the ASPCA, said the rescue was the ASPCA’s largest companion animal cruelty case.

“Cruelty is horrible regardless of the scale but to see it in this kind of numbers, where it’s nearly 700 animals that were that neglected, is pretty horrendous,” he said.

Upwards of 90 people have been working daily in the temporary shelter to get the animals ready for adoption. Behaviorists have been working with the animals, who have received daily exercise and been medically treated.

Adoption counselors will be on hand this weekend to work one-on-one to help make matches.

Melius said they not only want to find the nearly 700 animals new homes, but they want to find them the right homes.

“Each animal is a unique individual,” he said. “We’ve spent the last few weeks getting to know them, so we want to make sure they’re matched up well with the right home, so that way that placement is permanent.”
The ASPCA is asking potential pet owners to bring an ID, proof of address and a pet carrier if they have one.

Many people who waited in line said they felt called to rescue an animal after hearing about the deplorable conditions they lived in before they were rescued.

“They’ve probably been through hell and everything else, but it’s good that everyone is out here adopting dogs though,” said Antoine Bullette, who adopted a puppy.

“They’re animals. They can’t help themselves. They depend on humans to look out for them,” said Janeen Potts.

The ASPCA is asking potential pet owners to bring an ID, proof of address and a pet carrier if they have one.

All adoption fees will be waived and all the animals will be spayed or neutered as well as microchipped. They will also have their rabies vaccinations.

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