Whose job is it to remove dead animals on the side of the road?
This has been an ongoing controversy in Warren County for years.
The Highway Department thinks Animal Control should dispose of dogs, whereas Animal Control believes road “maintenance” should be done by the Highway Department.
The Warren County Health and Welfare Committee hopes to have reached an agreement between the two departments by assigning the job of disposing of dogs and cats that are on county roads to Animal Control. The Highway Department is in charge of disposing of any other animals such as cows, deer, opossums, skunks, squirrels, etc.
Warren County Animal Control director Tammy Webb says she will do whatever the board tells her to do to the best of her ability.
“However, we do not have the tools or anything else to handle these dead animals,” Webb said. She went on to say, “TDOT services and maintains state highways. Part of the sanitation of the highway department is maintenance of the highways. It is unnecessary for us to have to go to the roadways and ditches and pick these dogs up.”
Commissioner Teddy Boyd said, “I agree as far as it being in the roadway. That is road maintenance.”
Webb and County Executive John Pelham picked up a dead dog on Spring Valley Road last week. An elderly woman called the Highway Department to pick up the dog. The Highway Department told her to call Animal Control. Animal Control in turn told the woman to call the Highway Department.
The woman finally called Pelham, who told her he would come and remove the dog. “I told the woman, ‘Ma’am I’ll just come out and get the dog myself,’” Pelham said. “Something needed to be done. The lady was very nice about it. I asked Tammy to meet me over there because it was a big dog and I didn’t want Tammy trying to lift it. There’s a difference in a 100-pound dog that’s alive and 100 pounds of dead weight in a scoop. We wanted to do right by the citizen. I asked Tammy to help knowing we didn’t have a clear policy on who should be responsible,” said Pelham.
“It didn’t bother me a bit in the world to go out and help do that. I’ll do whatever I need to do to help the department out and help the citizens out,” said Pelham. “It puts us in a bad situation when people call and we don’t know who should take care of it,” he said.
Webb appreciated Pelham’s help. “It made me feel good to know he wouldn’t ask me to do something he wouldn’t do himself. Like I said, I don’t have a problem doing it, I just need you all to tell me what I need to do,” said Webb.
Pelham recommended purchasing a small trailer to use for the purpose of hauling dead dogs and cats.
Commissioner Billy Earl Jones said he has a trailer he doesn’t use and he would be happy to donate it. “It’s one I made. It doesn’t have any springs on it and it will need new tires. It’s got a wood floor in it and wood sides on it,” said Jones. Pelham thanked Jones for his generous donation.
“We sure don’t need to put it in something that we will be putting live dogs in. That’s my biggest concern,” said Boyd. “You know, the dog could have been rabid or something, you never know. I don’t want a live dog put back in where the dead dog has been.”
“I think it might be a good idea to buy a large tote, like a Rubbermaid, one we can put the dead animals in. We can buy one cheap,” said Boyd.
“I think if we are going to do this as far as sanitation goes we need them in something other than something we put live dogs in. The reason is because when you go out and get one of these animals in this heat, it already has maggots and it just breaks apart. I’m sorry. I know that’s gross,” said Pelham.
A motion was made to take advantage of Commissioner Jones’ generosity and acquire the donated trailer, fix the tires on the trailer, and purchase a large plastic tote to be used to pick up and dispose of dogs and cats only on the county’s roadways.
Webb also informed the committee of a generous donation Animal Control received from the family of Jewel Dean Reed, who recently passed away. Reed had asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Warren County Animal Control. Webb received four, 40-pound bags and one 25-pound bag of Pedigree dog food, two 30-pound bags of cat food, and two packs of animal toys from the Reed family. Webb estimated the food will probably last three months.
Webb said Reed was a very nice lady who visited the shelter and loved to look at the animals. “She loved animals. She was a wonderful person. I wasn’t expecting this. I certainly do appreciate it,” said Webb.
Members of the Health and Welfare Committee are commissioners Sally Brock, Boyd, Jones, Diane Starkey, and Blaine Wilcher.