DAVIDSON COUNTY, NC – Rescues remain an integral part in controlling the animal population in the Davidson County as well as saving lives.

From September of 2016 to January of 2017, rescues accounted for taking over one-third of the animals at the shelter. That number is second only to euthanasia, which sits at 42 percent in the same time-period. Adoptions from the shelter accounted for 18 percent.

It’s why Sue Rogers believes it’s important to stay and continue the work she’s done for almost two decades.

Ruff Love Rescue started 18 years ago, by Rogers, in her 5-acre backyard. Over the years, she’s helped hundreds of four-legged fluff balls that spent their time at her in-house shelter while waiting for adoption.

“In the last year, we’ve prevented 50 animals from going to the Davidson County Animal Shelter and we pulled another 100 from the shelter that were marked to be euthanized,” said Rogers.

The rescue keeps all animals indoors, in separate kennels with plenty of room for exercise on a schedule. The rescue operates under state mandates, with approved cleaning supplies and flooring. Rogers often takes in sick animals and nurses them back to health and ensures the rescues are spayed and neutered. But, recently, Rogers’ non-profit organization was faced with a decision. Stop sheltering animals or leave.

The Davidson County Board of Commissioners reported a neighbor complained about the smell and barking. After an investigation, the board determined the rescue is operating as a commercial kennel in a residential area.

It means, the 5-acre lot the rescue sits on isn’t large enough to meet the county ordinance’s requirements. The ordinance as it stands only allows between one to ten animals per five acres. The ordinance allows four exceptions; household pets, guard animals, show dogs and dogs used for hunting and training.

Rogers previously said, she wasn’t going to relocate. So, she is calling on the commissioners to add shelter animals to a list of exceptions in the county’s ordinance.

Several supporters agreed, calling the current ordinance out dated and hypocritical.

“If the dogs she rescued were show dogs, she could have 71 of them and do whatever she wanted with them. But, she’s going something good and helping the county and taxpayer dollars by keeping euthanasia rates down,” said a friend of Rogers.

When members of the planning and zoning committee asked why she wanted to continue operating the rescue, Rogers told the board, “It’s my life’s work and my passion. And I’m doing good things.”

In a 3-2 vote, the planning and zoning committee approved the motion to add the animal shelter exception. It would allow the rescue to have more than 10 animals, given Rogers added trees or other sound barriers. But, the fight is far from over. The vote now heads to the county commissioners, who will meet to discuss the amendment on April 11th at 6pm.

More than two dozen people turned out in support of the rescue and Rogers. At least two people attending the meeting opposed the idea of adding the exception.

An online petition was also started and was close to 1,000 signatures by the time the meeting started on March 7th.