ANSON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Dozens of people packed the Anson County Commissioner's meeting Tuesday night to voice their concerns about the local animal shelter.
The crowds were due in large part to the "Justice for Shayla" movement. The story of a puppy euthanized at the Anson County Animal has sparked anger among animal rights advocates who believe the puppy's death was unnecessary.
Tuesday night several people took to the podium to address commissioners about Shayla the puppy. Some in the crowd held signs scrawled with messages like "Animal Advocate" and "We Are Their Voice."
"We need everything to come out and to really see everything that was done wrong, everything that could have been different," said Gretchen McCollum, a volunteer rescue coordinator and organizer of the "Justice for Shayla" movement.
While McCollum wants the Shayla situation investigated, she maintains that her main goal is helping other animals at the shelter.
"Our main goal is to get as many animals out as quickly as we can to reputable rescues," said McCollum.
She said she wants to work with county leaders to improve practices with the shelter.
"We really do want to work with them. We don't want to fight against them. We want to fight beside them," said McCollum.
Anson County Attorney Scott Forbes agreed that both the public and county officials want to improve the status of animals that need homes. However, county officials are still at odds with animal advocates when it comes to the euthanization of Shayla.
"I do not believe they violated any laws or policies," said Forbes.
Both Forbes and the chair of the county commissioners agreed the only procedural error made by the shelter regarding Shayla came in the documentation process.
According to a document from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA), the shelter violated rules regarding documentation of the dogs.
"I'm sorry it happened. I cannot tell you how sorry I am. I can only go by the state's report that the only violation was a piece of paperwork," said Anna Baucom, chair of the Anson County Commissioners.
Baucom said she and the vice chair of the county commissioners have been making trips to the shelter every day to observe and help the shelter volunteers. She said she wants to create a task force to further work with the shelter.
McCollum said she would like to see an independent investigation into the Shayla situation. Baucom said the county leaders could discuss that option, but she does not have a response to the request yet.