On September 29, Gene Cranick of Obion County, Tennessee called 911 to report that his home was on fire and his pets, three dogs and one cat, were trapped inside. Instead of responding, firefighters from the fire department from the nearby city of South Fulton informed him his home "wasn't on their list" and he was on his own.
The county does not have a county-wide firefighting service, but South Fulton offers fire coverage to rural residents for a fee. Mr Cranick had forgotten to pay the $75 yearly fee.
Though he told the fire department he would pay whatever was required to have the fire put out, his pleas went unanswered. According to MSNBC news (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39516346/ns/us_news-life), South Fulton's mayor said that the fire department "can't let homeowners pay the fee on the spot, because the only people who would pay would be those whose homes are on fire."
Mr Cranik's pets should not have to pay the price for his owner's forgetfulness or the local government's policies. Tell Obion County Sherrif Danny Jowers, the main contact person for Obion County Office of Emergency Management, that letting pets burn to death over $75 is unacceptable.
Though we find Obion County's "pay to spray" policy morally reprehensible, as it sounds like a "nice house you got there, would be a shame if...something...happened to it" protection scam, we recognize that Obion County residents have the right to create local policy as they see fit.
However, innocent animals should not have to die a horrible death due to their owner's forgetfulness or their area's emergency management procedures. We urge you to use your influence in local government to create a second-chance option, perhaps a higher fee which is assessed after services are rendered, which could help cover the costs of firefighter time and equipment. After all, next time it might be a person who is trapped inside a burning home.