We want more transparency in regards to the facility. We want to be able to volunteer. We want to make sure the facility is taken care of and managed properly with the donations that have been given to the facility. There have been several large donations given, ie HVAC system, pet beds, heat lamps, volunteers, all of which have not been used and sit idle on a daily basis, all while the dogs in the facility sit by needing these to be used with them. They sit cold, damp, and usually in their own feces and urine, all while they are regularly put down, and sometimes in large numbers, all while the facility either cant provide any reason, or cant provide any proof behind their decision. Being a local government run facility being paid for by taxpayers, there is law that requires transparency in decisions.
The shelter walls are not enclosed. The exterior wall has fallen out of the building, and never been repaired. So all the animals inside are constantly exposed to the cold and heat year round. All day and all night long. This makes dogs lose their body core temperature and they can die from hypothermia. Even big dogs, if they don’t have thick coats, like Pit Bulls, Boxers, and some hound-type dogs, can die from hypothermia in 20 degree weather.
These conditions constitute Animal Cruelty according to Tennessee Law. Confining an animal in life threatening conditions such as extreme temperatures that could create hypothermia and consequently death, is inhumane and punishable by law. The shelter is in violation of the very laws it is charged to enforce.
Even though there have been funds for capital improvements, repairs and maintenance for the shelter allocated in the City Shelter budget for several years, they have gone unused, and certainly not used to repair the shelter to make it simply humane.
Additionally, the volunteers’ success re-homing shelter dogs put about $13,000 in the City coffers last year that could be used for repairs and improvements.
Nonetheless, last summer, the City Council placed the responsibility of making repairs and capital improvements to their facility in the hands of a volunteer group, PAWS.
While PAWS is a wonderful group and has great plans, it has not actually been able to fix the back wall of the shelter, as evidenced by those photographs. The group says it will eventually fix the back area, and has intentions to do so, but it will be a very long time before any volunteer group can beg enough funds from money-strapped Marshall County citizens to actually get it done. Promises and plans don’t keep dogs warm.
It’s not their fault, nor should it be their responsibility to fund and make repairs and capital improvements to a city-owned facility.
Bottom line: the City needs to enclose the back wall of the shelter immediately so the dogs are not exposed to extreme temperatures.
The other problem is that the Animal Control Officers (ACOs), specifically the county officer, Jason Williams, has banned several shelter volunteers from the shelter.
This is in violation of the volunteers’ Federal Civil Rights, and shelters have been successfully sued to reverse these actions. (Federal statute, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, best known simply as, “Section 1983”.)
We want changes in the way the shelter is run all in all! The dogs are not healthy, they are euthanized regularly, even without over population, and the ACO's deny anyone from viewing dogs in the shelter, or seeing the areas where they are kept.
I have personally been there, and seen the deplorable conditions these dogs are kept in, sitting in their feces and urine, being packed into crates and kennels where they have very little maneuverability, and they are open to all elements of the weather.
This needs to change!
Thank you from all animal lovers out there, especially Pit Bull Awareness of Tennessee