Shelters are Bad Enough, Deplorable in Tennessee

Not all Tennessee animal shelters are horrendous, but it seems there’s been way more bad than good lately. Case in point. (Three, actually.)

Bad Shelter #1

The first time I heard a stir was last year. I forget which county the shelter was in, but wherever it was it had to be shut down for unsanitary conditions and poor treatment of the animals. I think lack of funding was a major contributor in that case.

Bad Shelter #2

Then back in December the Sumner County Animal Shelter found itself in trouble. One of the local news stations, WSMV, conducted an undercover I-Team investigation where they uncovered very disturbing euthanasia procedures.

Apparently the county’s veterinarian, Dr. William Baber, was using a method called the “heart shot method” to put down the animals. A method the shelter’s policy actually prohibits.

For those who do employ such a method, it’s only supposed to be used once the animal’s sedated. But Dr. Baber was doing it while the animals were fully conscious.

“A trustee who worked at the shelter said the animals would scream and stumble or run until they died.” ~-From WSMV reporter Jeremy Finley’s Dec. 10, 2007 report-~

Dr. Baber didn’t deny what he was doing. In fact, he justified it.

“There’s a difference between shelter medicine and veterinary medicine. It ain’t pretty. ” ~-Dr. William Baber-~


They may be in shelters, but if anything that should warrant more compassion, not less.

Luckily the I-Team’s investigation got Dr. Baber fired and the ball rolling for changes to be made at the shelter.

Bad Shelter #3

But last night they reported about another county’s animal shelter, this time in Camden County. The images they showed were gut-wrenching.

Feces-laden floors. I’m not just talking about a pile here or there. I’m talking feces EVERYWHERE.

But it gets worse. In addition to the feces were dog corpses.

“It was a killing field. I describe it as a holocaust. I watched a mother try to nurse six dead puppies.” ~-Joe Kyle of the Citizens For Honest Government, as reported by WSMV reporter Sara Dorsey-~

Citizens outraged over this latest shelter fiasco are calling for Benton County Mayor Jimmy Wiseman’s head to roll –right out of the mayor’s seat. (The shelter falls under his jurisdiction and responsibilities.)

The mayor explained parvo infested the shelter and some dogs died of that, not because they were starved or lacking water. (As some claimed were reasons for the dead dogs.) When the vet gave all the animals parvo shots, those infected with the disease died. About 20 others were euthanized because the shelter was closed after all this started, the shelter’s one worker was fired, and there was no place to take the animals.

Criminal charges are likely to be filled, but this is a sad case of animals dying that didn’t need to. A case of a small county where lack of funding is once again the culprit. They didn’t have the means to properly staff a shelter or have proper animal control services.

It’s why it’s so important to adopt a dog from a shelter if you possibly can. You truly will save its life.

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