Sheriff's office Pet Expo part of crackdown on animal abuse

CRAVEN COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) -- Many refer to their pets as fur babies, and treat them just like members of their family.

A feeling that Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes shares with fellow pet owners.

"We're wanting to help these animals find good homes, colonial has brought a bunch of animals out here that we're walking and you know, we're hoping that good resposible pet owners will come out here and help these animals find good homes," says Hughes.

Ending animal neglect was a major focus for Hughes during his campaign when running for sheriff last fall, one of the reasons for Saturday's pet expo.

"There's no reason that as many animals are being put down as they are been and we're going to do whatever we can to help with that," says Hughes.

The sheriff's office established an animal protective service division back in July to help animal abuse cases in craven county.

His message for irresponsible pet owners is clear.

He says, "We're not going to tolerate it."

Saturday's expo included pet adoptions, educational opportunities about being responsible pet owners, and micro-chipping for dogs.

Ashley Piccione, who fosters two sibling dogs, came to the pet expo to help them find their forever homes.

"They have been together their entire lives and it's just an amazing thing what the community does for these animals," says Piccione.

After being held at another shelter, Sheriff Hughes fostered Bonnie and Clyde before finding them a home with Piccione.

She says, "We really get to see their personalities as being fosters so it helps them tend to find homes a lot quicker."

With more than 20 dogs up for adoption on Saturday, Piccione says the pet expo is a great way to increase awareness for adopting rather than shopping.

Animal Protective Services says six dogs found permanent homes at Saturday's event.

They also say more than four hundred dollars was raised with the micro-chipping services.

That money will go into an emergency fund at the craven animal hospital.