updated 8/16/2007 1:28:39 PM ET 2007-08-16T17:28:39

An animal shelter may have to euthanize healthy, adoptable dogs because it must care for 15 pit bulls seized from the property of a man charged with dogfighting and animal cruelty.

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“They’re taking up 15 cages — that’s 15 adoptable animals we can’t hold,” said Marsha Williams, Guilford County Animal Shelter’s executive director. “We have doubled up on some animals.”

Since the pit bulls were seized Friday, the shelter has euthanized two other dogs with medical conditions because they didn’t have a cage for them, Williams said. Healthy, adoptable animals also may have to be euthanized, she said, though how many was impossible to predict.

“I couldn’t even begin to imagine,” she said Thursday. “Every day we have to make that decision based on how many animals come in.”

“We’re at capacity at this point,” she said.

Among other things, the effect on other animals will depend on how long the shelter has to hold the pit bulls, she said. The seized dogs — with old or new wounds, severe fleas and behavioral problems — must be segregated and held as police evidence until a judge says they’re no longer needed in the criminal case.

Risk to employees, other animals
Brian Keith Anderson II, 23, of Greensboro is the defendant in the case. The bill for caring for the animals is estimated at $7,200 for the first month.

The county plans to take advantage of a new state law that allows courts to require defendants in dogfighting cases to put up a bond for the cost of that care, said Alyson Best, an environmental health manager with the county health department, which oversees animal control.

“Every day we have them here, there’s a risk to our employees and the other animals here,” Williams said. “We have to clean them. We have to feed them. We have to take care of them.”

The shelter gets an average of 70 animals a day at this time of year, including perhaps 40 dogs. It adopts out five to 10 animals a day.

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