Where for years there was the sound of incessant barking, it is now silent. Last week, the remaining dogs and cats were removed from All Creatures Great and Small, a no-kill shelter in Hendersonville, which was closed by the N.C. Department of Agriculture for repeatedly violating the Animal Welfare Act.
More than 500 animals once lived in filthy, overcrowded conditions, where many were sickly, injured and starved, according to an investigation by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, state inspection reports and legal depositions given by former workers.
By the time the state seized the animals, 155 dogs and 25 cats were living there.
All Creatures owner Kim Kappler did not return e-mails to the Indy seeking comment.
Most of the animals have been distributed to county animal shelters and rescue groups for adoption. Fifteen were euthanized because veterinarians determined they were either too ill or too aggressive to be adopted.
"A life sentence without parole isn't a humane alternative to euthanasia," said Daphna Nachminovitch, who has worked to close All Creatures since 1997. "It's been such a tragic place for animals for so many years."
Dr. Lee Hunter of the NCDA's Animal Welfare Division said the animals' behavior immediately improved when the rescue groups began working with them. "One dog spent 10 minutes in his cage tossing his toy and retrieving it."
Nonetheless, Kappler has said publicly she would open another shelter outside the state.
"These people have an animal addiction," Nachminovitch said. "We'll continue to watch."