Sampson County Animal Shelter in North Carolina was found to have unlawfully euthanized 15 dogs and cats before the state-mandated 3-day hold period, with most of them being put down within just one hour of intake.

The Veterinary Division of the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has issued the shelter a $4,800 civil penalty for the wrongful deaths, after learning of this during a state inspection.

During the inspection, they also found that the shelter was keeping their animals in very poor conditions. According to a report of the inspection findings, a Doberman-mix was discovered “to be in extremely thin body condition and to have large open sores on both front legs.”

Another dog there was a Great Dane who was severely emaciated, weighing just 56 pounds, and had intestinal parasites. The shelter failed to get him the vital veterinary care that he needed.

In addition to the absence of vet care, the animals were also kept in poor lighting, given no social interaction or toys, and were left with little to no food and water.

The shelter was given 60 days to either pay the fine or file a petition to appeal the case.

The board of Commissioners held a meeting to speak on the findings and to give solutions. County manager Edwin Causey expressed his hope that the civil penalty can be used toward improving the shelter.

Causey said there are adjustments being made in the way adoptable animals are identified, saying “those animals will be posted to social media as soon as possible after impound and made available for a ‘local adoption only’ period of two days following the required three-day hold (for lost animals to be reclaimed).”