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Savage wants more dogs euthanized
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Animal Control director Kim Pettrey found herself on the hot seat again as Commissioner Tommy Savage unleashed a barrage of questions during a Health and Welfare Committee meeting.
Savage had visited Animal Control the day before and, while he was complimentary on the cleanliness of the facility and the condition of the animals, he had several issues to address.
Expressing concern over the high number of pit bulls or pit mixes in the shelter, Savage said, “You wonder why they were abandoned. I’m afraid a lot of times the ones you get have been troubled dogs and probably somebody dropped them.”
Animal Control has a policy of euthanizing dangerous dogs that are not safe to adopt, but the animal must show aggression before being put down. Said Pettrey, “I’m not just going to put a dog to death because it’s a pit bull. I’ve had some excellent pit bull dogs.”
Continuing his line of questioning, Savage asked about a dog considered a biter that was still at the facility, saying, “Why is the biter still at the center? Would he not be considered an aggressive dog?”
Pettrey said the dog was a “protector” and had only bitten in defense of a perceived threat to his owner. The dog has since been adopted.
The conversation then turned to dogs that are allowed to run loose and chase or kill livestock. Savage had been told two of the dogs waiting for adoption were chicken killers and wanted to know why they were still at the shelter.
Pettrey said those dogs could be adopted within the city where there are no chickens. “Just because they’re chicken killers doesn’t mean they’re bad animals. I don’t see putting a dog to sleep because it’s a chicken killer when it can be adopted to a family in town where there are no chickens and will never have the opportunity to kill another chicken.”
Savage said he has friends who attempted to turn in two dogs that were chasing neighbors’ cows but were refused, being told by Animal Control they didn’t have room.
Said Savage, “Being chased by dogs can cause a pregnant cow to miscarry and sometimes the cow dies. Or they can run them through the fence. I really think when somebody’s got dogs that are chasing cows and are willing to give them up, you’re not in any danger of getting hurt or anything, they’re not hostile. They’re wanting you to take those animals.”
He continued, “You can’t hardly break one from chasing cows once they start. I’ve had dogs myself that chased cows. It took three loads of bird shot before I ever stopped them.”
Blaine Wilcher asked if such dogs would need to be euthanized upon being brought in.
Savage felt they should be, saying, “Yes. Those dogs, there’s a very good change they’d have to be put down. Unless you could make sure you adopt them out to a place in town.”
Pettrey disagreed, pointing out dogs that chase cows, like the chicken killers, could be adopted to city residents, solving the problem without having to put the dog down. “When I get a dog I’ve been told is bad with large dogs, or chickens, or other animals, when people come in and ask questions about adopting an animal they are made fully aware of any problems the dog may have. Anything that I know about the dog I’m going to share with people who want to adopt.”
Current numbers are low at Animal Control, with 28 dogs and 39 cats available at the end of November. Pettrey said numbers continue to drop in response to the news coverage by Channel 2 and Channel 5.
Persons interested in adopting a pet may visit Animal Control at 169 Paws Trail or call 931-507-3647. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 to 11 a.m. on Saturday.
Adoption fees are $85 for dogs and $65 for cats, but animals already spayed or neutered can be adopted for $10. Monetary donations, or donations of food and supplies, are appreciated.