Petition Closed
Petitioning North Carolina State House and 10 others

Immediate Dismissal of Mr. Rossie Hayes, Columbus County Animal Control Shelter Manager (FIFTEEN DOGS ARE DEAD AT THE HANDS OF ROSSIE HAYES for no justifiable reason)


*Please also see October 20, 2013 update following original note...

Starting on October 16, 2013, tragedy began to occur in Columbus County, NC at The Columbus County Animal Control Shelter by the hands of Mr. Rossie Hayes! Fifteen(15) Dogs died tragically by his hands for no reason whatsoever... Mr. Hayes violated the counties own ordinaces found in PDF format here Columbus County Animal Control, NC - Ordinace 

Mr. Rossie Hayes Violated Section III: Cruelty to Animals & Section XV: Impoundement.

On October 16, 2013, Mr. Hayes went beyond commiting the act of Animal Cruelty when he killed the 13 Dogs that were surrendered after the owners death and most if not all were completely up to date on shots and yet to be evaluated by the Staff of Columbus County Animal Control. There were 11 open dog pens at this time. As if that was not enough, he then proceeded to commit a second Act of Animal Cruelty when he killed the 2 dogs on the morning of October 17, 2013, that he had just brought into the shelter. Once again no one assessed these animals. These acts were committed in Secrecy and he needs to be held accountable for his actions. Mr. Rossie Hayes commited a 3rd act when he violated the Impoundment Act as he killed the 2 strays he brought in the morning of October 17, 2013. Required by County Law all strays are to be held for (72) hours and posted on the shelters board. Neither of which occurred.

WE DEMAND IMMEDIATE REMOVAL of Mr. Rossie Hayes, Manager of Columbus County Animal Control Shelter and he be charged for Animal Cruelty by the fullest extent of the law.

*Update* It was initially thought he got all 15 of the dogs from the single owner and killed them. We later found out he missed 2... So the actual number is now 15 dead...

The following was posted on Urgent Dogs of Columbus County Animal Shelter, NC Facebook Page by Lynn Rotanz Criswell, Volunteer for the shelter. The following is tragic, not to mention against the current Laws/Ordinances currently in place in Columbus County, NC.

Tragedy has been created at Columbus County Animal Control, NC

I will preface this by saying that we have made great strides in working with the shelter management, due mostly in part to Loretta's constant advocacy for these animals. Unfortunately, today we must publicize two incidents that we cannot understand, defend or justify.

Yesterday, with eleven open kennels (at the time), the shelter took in 15 dogs from one owner who had passed away. These dogs were beautiful collie mixes and were all up to date on their rabies vaccinations (which is incredibly rare for this county). The shelter manager put them in the rear quarantine area, presumably to hold them safely while Loretta made space for them on the adoption floor.

Shortly after their intake, Loretta went back to feed them and found that all 15 of the dogs had been euthanized and their bodies piled on the floor. She was given no indication that the manager intended to euthanize these dogs; the fact that this was done quietly and secretively is one of the many concerns we have.

TODAY, with many dogs safely out of the shelter, the manager went out early and picked up two dogs and, without Loretta's knowledge, euthanized them, too. We do not even know if these dogs were strays; if they were, they were not legally allowed to be put down.


There was NO REASON for these 17 dogs to be euthanized. They were not sick. There are no reports of temperament issues; they were said to be friendly and sweet. We have been consistently making space and moving all healthy, adoptable dogs out of the shelter; we have been providing the money for food (since holding many dogs longer increased the shelter's food cost and no extra money was allocated in the budget). These dogs, in my opinion, were deliberately betrayed by the shelter manager whose job it is to protect them.

There are things which occasionally go on at this shelter which we have documented but not stated publicly. We have maintained a good working relationship with the shelter manager (who has, at times, commented that he would stop allowing photos to be posted online if we were too difficult to work with). We are no longer interested in accepting minimal, incremental changes here, not when the lives of 17 dogs were needlessly taken. (While this is not usually an issue with dogs, many cats that none of us ever see are frequently labeled "feral" and routinely euthanized.)

It is time to make our voices heard and to truly protect 100% of the animals in Columbus County. It is time to insure that backyard breeders are investigated, fined and shut down. It is time to insure that the owners of animals which come in emaciated, sick, or showing signs of abuse are charged with animal negligence or cruelty. It is time to advocate for personnel changes, so Loretta can get the help she needs. We have waited for years for the residents and officials in this county to help the animals, and we are tired of waiting for changes which are not coming.

Here is what we are imploring you to do:

1. Please do NOT call the shelter today! The manager will not be in the office, so calling the shelter will only stop Loretta from getting her work done for the animals and may prevent rescues and adopters from getting through. If you wish to speak directly to the manager, Rossie Hayes, please wait until Monday.

2. Please DO consider contacting either Mr. Bill Clark, County Manager, or Mr. Rossie Hayes, Shelter Manager, to tell them what you think of the senseless killing of these dogs yesterday. Tell them that we have given them all of the tools for this county to be recognized as a leadership example in the south and that, for some reason, they have chosen to make few significant changes. (The mandatory spay/neuter law has been in effect over a year; why are we seeing as many or more animals in the shelter monthly? Ask them about enforcement.)

-- Mr. Hayes' email is

-- Mr. Clark's email is and his telephone number is 910-640-6600.

3. If you do contact either or both of these officials, PLEASE communicate professionally. Be calm and controlled, be honest and forthright. Please do not use profanity, yell, or be demeaning. We must represent our concerns with facts and clear reasoning if we want to be heard.

There are over 4000 people on this page; there are many others we can reach with a share. We have stood together for these animals for a long time, and it is time for us to increase our advocacy.

For the dogs who were lost today and for the many who will come in tomorrow, please help us take a stand.

Thank you,

October 20, 2013 - Updates:

First off let me begin by saying THANK YOU!!!! Thank you everyone for your support!!

There has been some media attention, online blogging and certainly a lot of outrage shown (rightfully so).

When I first started the petition it was most certainly to get the word out and hopefully open some eyes at the situation of The Columbus County Animal Shelter, Rossie Hayes’s, mismanagement and abuse of power. I had no idea how much it really needed to be heard as the events unfolded. It seems Rossie has a track record of doing these things in the past and nothing has been done about it to date. He seems to be a member of the “Good Ol Boys Club” that is taking place in this county. Hopefully that is about to change.

There has been a lot going on in the last few days. Mr. Rossie Hayes stated to WECT his excuse was "The dogs we had in the animal shelter are already on Facebook, and I'm sure the rescue groups are out there raising money to get them adopted, and vets to come pick them up".  All I have to say is this is the most ridiculous reason I have ever heard in my life. This was also reason number 234,506 at this point as he kept changing his story. His initial claim was the dogs were “unhealthy”. The heirs to the owner beg to differ as they were all up to date on shots etc. The paperwork from the shelter (now confirmed) shows that there were actually 14 open kennels at the time (initially thought to be 11) when he decided to euthanize the 13 out of 15 dogs from the single home and not tell any of his staff of his intent. That was beyond plenty of room for dogs that knew each other and could clearly be doubled up if need be. He apparently missed the 2 puppies that were now known to be placed in Kennel 19 because they came on a different truck and he did not realize they were part of the group. (Thank god for small favors) The puppies have since been removed by a Rescue Group and are now in good hands. The Shelter staff has opened the facility this weekend a couple times to ensure animals got out to safety and into rescue groups. I must also state that the paperwork on the two Hounds that were euthanized on October 17, 2013, seems to not exist. Therefore, they do not exist in the eyes of the county. Not the first time dogs brought into this shelter by this man went nonexistent.

WECT has interviewed Mr. Hayes, and not to our surprise the whole story was not told. We have come to find out the lady said to have been the owner whom surrendered and signed over the dogs was neither his wife nor his daughter. The daughter was actually the heir and legal guardian. That being said since an owner never signed over the dogs they were to be considered strays and should have been placed on 72 hour hold. Mr. Hayes is still claiming the animals were not healthy. The news story can be seen here

I have personally spoken with Nicole Cartrette of The News Reporter, Nicole previously ran a story about Mr. Hayes on May 21, 2010 found here Jefferson Weaver a reporter from the same paper seems to have a very different opinion of Mr. Hayes even to the extent of lying and bashing us on his personal Facebook page and bringing it to the Volunteer/Shelter Facebook page Urgent Dogs of Columbus County Animal Shelter, NC. He must belong to the same “Good Ol Boys Club as Mr. Hays. I do find it quite ironic that after one of his “friends” states “Jennifer WitkowskiThere have always been lots of rumors about Columbus animal control. Sigh. Stupidity in mass”,  Mr. Weaver replied by saying “Jefferson WeaverAnd some have, regrettably, been true. But Rossie has always been willing to admit when he was wrong, and willing to work with folks who will work with him. I'm glad we have a good relationship with him now with the USERL.” So apparently, Mr. Hayes has been such an “honest” Law Abiding man in the past that surely he could not have done anything wrong now right?  That being said, I can only pray that Nicole is the one running the story that Mr. Weaver claims his paper is putting out on Monday because if he is the one writing it … sigh.

From WECT “Hayes tells us his shelter has one of the lowest kill rates in our area, and that statistic shows he’s dedicated to saving animals.” Well here is some eye opening information on that one found here ... You tell me how that adds up at ALL? The County does NOT pay for the food and medical expenses at all for these dogs. The community of over 4,000 people on this Facebook page does. If the kill rate is down and cost is down that is thanks to all the good people on that page that help and NOTHING at all to do with Mr. Hayes or his management skills.

There is a County Commissioners Meeting being held tomorrow night, Monday, October 21, 2013 Courthouse Annex, 112 W Smith St. Whiteville, NC. I have been informed it was too late to get on the agenda, but there is a public forum that people are going to speak at. If you are in the County or close to it I urge you to please go and show your support to remove this man. The Family did NOT know this was Mr. Hayes’s intent with the dogs. This was posted tonight “Jennifer Delong-White Exciting news about tomorrow evening's Columbus County Council meeting. The owner of the dogs is planning to speak about her outrage that all the dogs were killed. She was told that 2-3 older dogs might have to be "put down" due to their Senior status, but she had no idea that CCAC would kill them all. She will reiterate that the thirteen dogs were healthy and that sadly, they were turned in to animal control because the family could not afford to feed that many dogs. Another sad note: the family learned about the mass killing on the evening news. They were heartbroken and said that they would not have turned them in to animal control had they known the consequences.” Sadly, I have mixed emotions. While I am elated the family feels the way we do, I am saddened by the lack of compassion of Mr. Hayes and it only makes it more important to get this man removed even more.
Some of you have asked where you can send letters too. This is the information I received on who we should write to from Lynn..
Please consider using this contact information to let County officials know we are not giving up on Mr. Hayes' removal. Please be polite and factual in your communication with these officials - let them know what we do, what YOU do personally, and how you feel about their lack of attention to this matter:

Mr. Bill Clark, County Manager,,

Amon E McKenzie, County Commissioner
P.O.Box 1884
Whiteville, NC 28472
(910) 738-6281 Work

James E. Prevatte, County Commissioner
P.O.Box 905
Whiteville, NC 28472
(910) 642-0400

Giles E. (Buddy) Byrd, County Commissioner
1941 Giles Byrd Rd
Hallsboro, NC 28442
910) 646-3365 Voice
(910) 646-3365 Fax

P. Edwin Russ, County Commissioner
1123 South Madison Street
Whiteville, NC 28472
(910) 646-1366 Home
(910) 642-3444 Fax

Trent Burroughs, County Commissioner
209 North Lewis St
Tabor City, NC 28463
(910) 653-2928 Business

Ricky Bullard, County Commisioner
Vice Chairman
215 Bullard Lane
Cerro Gordo, NC 28430
(910) 654-4833

Charles T. McDowell, County Commissioner
P.O. Box 59
7691 Seven Creeks Highway
Nakina, NC 28455
(910) 642-3709 Home

Thank you all! Your support is greatly appreciated. Please continue to spread the word as we are not backing down we implore you to not either. I will continue to update when we have more information.

Thank you ,

Heather Leicht

Letter to
North Carolina State House
Clerk to the Board June B. Hall
County Commissioners for Columbus County - District VII - Chairman Charles T. McDowell
and 8 others
County Commissioners for Columbus County - District V Trent Burroughs
County Commissioners for Columbus County - District IV - Chairman P. Edwin Russ
County Commissioners for Columbus County - District III - Vice Chairman Giles E. (Buddy) Byrd
County Commissioners for Columbus County - District II James E. Prevatte
County Commissioners for Columbus County Amon E McKenzie
North Carolina Governor
North Carolina State Senate
County Manager Bill Clark
Immediate Dismissal of Mr. Rossie Hayes, Columbus County Animal Control Shelter Manager (FIFTEEN DOGS ARE DEAD AT THE HANDS OF ROSSIE HAYES for no justifiable reason)