ROCKINGHAM — A petition to dismiss the director of the Richmond County Animal Shelter has met more than half of its goal of desired signatures.
The petition, posted late last week on Change.org by Bill English, had 692 signatures toward its goal of 1,000 by 12:50 p.m. Feb. 9.
The petition itself lists no details as to the reason for its creation, but several of the 45 comments note how the shelter, under the direction of Bonnie Wilde, has been hit twice in the past two years by civil penalties by the state.
In 2019, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Veterinary Division investigated the shelter twice following complaints and found violations that led to thousands of dollars in renovations.
Recently, the shelter was cited for failing to clean enclosures at least twice a day and failing to provide veterinary care to an injured dog.
The shelter also received a warning failing to have staff on hand to feed kittens and puppies less than 6 months of age at least twice daily with a minimum 8-hour interval between feedings; and for failing to provide full written disclosure of the medical condition of an animal to the owner.
Kristi Newton-Maines, a former shelter volunteer, posted the petition to the Facebook page What’s Up Richmond County on Feb. 5.
“She has to be removed and replaced with someone with compassion and that will use our tax money to help the animals not pay enormous fines for breaking the law,” Newton said.
During his closing remarks at last week’s meeting of the Richmond County Board of Commissioners, Chairman Jeff Smart said the board wasn’t ignoring the issues at the shelter.
“As always, there’s a chance when you’re dealing with hurt animals or neglected animals that you’ll run into very difficult situations,” Smart said. “You just have to be trained how to handle those situations and we’re looking into the proper training to make sure all that happens … and we’re looking into some other items, too, to make the future successful out there at our animal shelter.”