GREENSBORO, N.C. — Logan Rustan is working tirelessly to bring new life to what was a troubled organization. Four months ago, he became the new director of the Guilford County Animal Shelter. Actually, he’s the first director of Guilford County’s brand new Animal Services Department.
County commissioners created this department by combining its animal control operation with the shelter. Everything’s now based on shelter property off West Wendover Avenue in Greensboro. For about two years prior to getting his current job, Rustan was the county’s animal control manager.
Of course, all these changes were the result of the previous shelter management, the nonprofit United Animal Coalition, losing its license after the State Department of Agriculture accused it of abuse and other issues.
“Being in the animal field, there’s always a sense you want to be that voice for the voiceless,” Rustan told me during a recent tour of the shelter. “And it’s a good feeling.”
On the day of my visit, there were a little more than 400 animals at the shelter including a rooster and a pig. When I visited the shelter several years ago (when the UAC was running the place), I was told there were 1,000 animals there living in a facility built to house only 500.
So, what’s changed? Well, Rustan’s opened the shelter to area rescue organizations that have saved the lives of hundreds of shelter animals and, in many cases, found them new homes. Many of them would have certainly faced euthanasia had they remained at the shelter.
“I have probably close to 200-plus just pit bull mix breeds that have gone to rescue,” said Rustan. “We’ve had some beautiful Rottweilers to come in here and a couple of Chows, purebred Chows, that have gone to rescue.”
The adoption process has also been streamlined. There’s less paperwork and shelter workers are placing a greater emphasis on interviews with prospective pet owners. The shelter’s hours of operation have been extended. And more than 27,000 people have liked the shelter’s Facebook page which often features animals available for adoption.
Other changes include the hiring of a full-time shelter veterinarian. “[The veterinarian] performs surgeries. She performs the rounds. She monitors the medications the animals are on,” Rustan said.
The veterinarian also helps Rustan decide which animals should be euthanized. And speaking of putting animals down, Rustan’s revamped the shelter’s website in a way that, for the first time, actually lists weekly euthanasia numbers and even why the animals were euthanized.
“That’s part of the transparency,” Rustan said. “We want everyone to know what’s going on here. This is our community’s animal shelter.”
For more information, including directions to the shelter and hours of operation, check out the shelter’s website.