Two Dead Pitbulls in TN – What Happened?

From Chattanooga, TN, another complicated story with only partial information and a sad outcome:

One Chattanooga woman wants to know why the McKamey Animal Center killed her two dogs after a judge released them to her.

The backstory: On April 17th, Animal Control seized two Pitbulls after a neighbor complained they were coming under the fence while he was mowing his lawn. The article describes the dogs as being on “chain runners” and it’s unclear to me whether the dogs were on the runners at the time or whether the owner was home. If the owner was home, the neighbor possibly would have contacted her directly, advised her of the situation with the dogs getting under the fence and requested a remedy. Maybe that happened with no result or maybe the neighbor went straight to Animal Control with the complaint, I don’t know. Why the dogs were seized, as opposed to the owner being given a citation for example, is also unclear. But there is mention made by Animal Control of prior complaints on these two dogs so perhaps that was a factor.

The case went to court approximately two weeks later and the judge ordered the dogs released to the owner with a follow up compliance visit to be conducted in 6 months. I don’t know if the owner (or a representative) was present at the hearing or advised of the court order. Animal Control says that a judge’s order to release the dogs to the owner requires the owner to pick the dogs up within 24 hours. Again, was the owner made aware of this small window in which she had to pick up her dogs? After the 24 hours went by and the dogs remained unclaimed, the shelter deemed them abandoned and aggressive and killed them.

The owner was apparently not informed of the killings until she came to the shelter last week to pick up the dogs. She asked why and when the dogs had been killed but says she received no answers from Animal Control.

You Can’t Fix Stupid has a February 2009 post on this shelter and it gives a sense of troubled waters. It’s a shame that these dogs got caught up in what sounds like a multi-faceted failure in animal sheltering. At the very least, I would expect the shelter to make certain the owner was aware she had 24 hours to redeem her dogs. It doesn’t sound as if they did that. And I would hope that a rescue or other potential adopter would be given access to the dogs once they were deemed abandoned. If the shelter truly felt the dogs were too dangerous to adopt out (based on what, exactly?) to the public, that’s what rescue is for. Did the shelter reach out to the network of rescues they (presumably) normally work with in trying to get these dogs out of the shelter? It doesn’t sound like it. In fact, from the article cited, it doesn’t sound like any effort whatsoever was made to help these dogs. Rather, I get the impression that Animal Control was counting down the minutes on a 24 hour clock with blue needles in hand, waiting to kill these unevaluated dogs. Animal Shelter Fail.

Every dog deserves a fair evaluation.

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