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I have followed very closely the news articles concerning the finding of dumped dead dogs in Wilson County this year. Having previously worked as an animal control officer for Wilson County, I did the largest part of cruelty investigations.
Somewhere during this time frame, my son’s dog died unexpectedly. She was an older dog and looked as if she had simply died in her sleep. My husband went over to help him with the disposal as my son was so distraught.
I was shocked when I found out we could not dispose of her in the Wilson County Landfill. I left Animal Control in 2006; some time after I left Wilson County I was informed by the Environmental Protection Agency that we had been wrongly disposing of dead animals for years. EPA regulations require for the entire landfill to be lined to prevent seepage into water.
After numerous phone calls, I learned the dog would have to be taken to Edgecombe County for disposal; and a fee would have to be paid. I was quoted a price of $13 or up depending upon size. When you figure in disposal fee, 40 to 50 miles round-trip, cost of fuel and time involved, it didn’t seem so convenient.
I decided on my own to find out what options are here for our residents. Sadly, there aren’t many. There are no transfer stations here to collect dead animals. The city of Wilson will pick up dead animals; they too have to transport them daily, whether one possum or 25 dogs, to Edgecombe County. The County of Wilson does not pick up dead animals. The N.C. Department of Transportation in our area is composed of two counties, Nash and Wilson. We are District 4. They too have to take animal carcasses to Edgecombe.
And contrary to public opinion, they do not pick up dead animals beside the road. They only pick up animals on the highway.
I made about 10 or 12 random calls asking where I could dispose of a dead dog and got various responses. A vet’s office told me they had a cremation service they could call who would pick it up from them if the body was not decomposed; it would cost $50. Another told me to take it to the landfill; some said bag it and the city would pick it up. Another said the county would pick it up. But not one told me it had to be taken out of county.
Now, yes I do know if the law allows, you can bury it on your property. It has to be buried at least 3 feet deep and no less than 300 from any flowing stream or public body of water. Some subdivisions do not allow it, even upon your own property. And even worse, not everyone can pay for disposal; not everyone has a car; not everyone is physically able; and not everyone has someone to help.
I visited the sites where dogs were dumped. The dog on Marie Street was not suspicious; the city just failed to go pick it up. The abused dog with the head and neck trauma most likely was hit by an automobile. And no one should say it was cruelty without being willing to stand behind what they think.
The ones on Webb Lake Road seem strange; yet they were bagged and left beside the road to be picked up. The dog on Cell Tower Road may have been starved to death; but more than likely it died for a severe case of parasites (worms). It was a good place to dump it.
The one off Grimsley Store Road was the same; dumped in an isolated area.
It is my conclusion and opinion that the problem here is a serious lack of information. The public doesn’t know what to do because some of the ones in local government don’t even know.
And to go even one step farther; our animals are not disposed of in Edgecombe County. They are a transfer station. They are taken down to Bertie County, which has an environmental landfill that is owned by Republic Services of North Carolina. But that’s another story.
I would like to say that I am the last man standing who was there before the animal shelter opened. I saw it being built and am — as far as I know — the only one who can answer most questions regarding Animal Control back to 1979. I am available to answer any and all questions and concerns.
Larraine Mandeville is a resident of Wilson and a former Wilson County animal control officer.