Animal euthanasia policies scrutinized after cat’s death

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Midnight, a cat who escaped his home on August 31, was returned to his family in a bag a few days later after Greenville Animal Protective Services euthanized him.

“What happened to Midnight, a hasty euthanasia,” said animal advocate Marion Blackburn. “Midnight was denied his legally entitled 72-hour hold.”

Marion Blackburn, an advocate for the Easterlings, Midnight’s owners, said Greenville police ddidn’t give the cat a chance to live.”

“Didn’t do any documentation for Midnight,” said Blackburn. “Didn’t take pictures of Midnight, didn’t create a report and euthanized Midnight. Greenville has irregular and careless procedures. Lack of documentation, lack of transparency.”

Although a sad ending for Midnight’s owners, Greenville police said they followed all policies and procedures and even conducted a welfare investigation.

“All that was reviewed by Dr. Norris,” said Greenville police Chief Mark Holtzman. “And everything we did in this particular case was found to be in the law. There was no collar. We checked for a microchip, no microchip. There were no reports of a missing cat.”

The police department said Midnight’s condition was bad.

“Nine being the best, one being the worst quality of health and this cat was scheduled as a one, which is the lowest level you can get,” said Holtzman.

Ultimately leading to a case closed by North Carolina Department of Agriculture.

“We did not violate the law and our facilities passed inspection – our manual passed, our facility inspection passed and the process and procedure that we used for euthanasia all passed,” Holtzman said. “This is where this entire case ends. It’s finished.”

The North Carolina Agriculture Department’s animal welfare euthanasia policies state the shelter manager must be present to euthanize a cat before its 72-hour hold period is over.

Since there was no shelter manager present, the agriculture department said someone else was present to take their place, essentially altering the law.

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