Animal Advocates Working for Shelter Reform in TN

This afternoon, concerned citizens will meet with county officials to discuss allegations of wrongdoing by ACOs at the Cumberland Co Animal Shelter in TN.  Allegations include:

  • ACOs picked up a badly injured dog in need of veterinary care and placed him in a kennel, causing him to suffer without treatment for hours until a shelter volunteer found him.
  • Multiple shootings of dogs running away from ACOs or hiding beneath cars.
  • The shooting of a kenneled dog named Brutus who was slated for adoption.

Then there’s this troubling story from a pet owner:

Pat Wilkins says her dog, “Abby,” was picked up by Cumberland County Animal Control after fireworks scared her away from home.

“I went to the animal control office and left a picture of her,” said Wilkins. “By the time I got home, he called me and said he picked her up, took her to the shelter, but I couldn’t pick her up for three days because they were closed.”

Before Wilkins could pick Abby up, she says the dog escaped, and was found dead along the highway.

Area residents wishing to attend the meeting should go to the Large Courtroom at the Cumberland County Courthouse in Crossville today at 4:30pm.


10 thoughts on “Animal Advocates Working for Shelter Reform in TN

  1. While this is yet another issue of a shelter that needs reform…and makes me thnk back to Lyons…at least the public has made it known that they will not tolerate the behavior of ACO’s being trigger happy and not treating these animals the way they should be treated. It is always sad to hear of dogs dying and being denied medical care – thank you for taking the time to look into this and give us a heads up that *hopefully* changes will be made at this shelter after the public hearing today.


  2. These stories are right out of the 1800s. I’ll bet that place doesn’t even know about boom boxes, refrigerators or penicillin yet.

    I wonder if they need some money for textbooks. Do they even have schools there?

    Nice to hear that progress hasn’t interfered with their social group down there.

    1. OK, will admittedly there is much work needed, there is no need to insult the entire population of this and other rural communities. Obviously there are good and bad, just like anywhere else. There are a few strong rescue groups in the area and there USED to be a no-kill shelter there, but the city pulled their funding and put all monies in to the kill shelter and it takes money, lots of it, to run a no kill.

    2. Sure isn’t the way to help when you are belittling those areas that may or may not have the same advantages other places do. And to say “These stories are right out of the 1800s.” – Um, well, actually things like this happen a lot more TODAY then you obviously know about. It is really sad to jump on here and see people acting like that – almost as sad as the crap that is being dealt out at this “shelter”.

      While I am all for first amendment rights and all that stuff – acting like you are right now is ridiculous. Nothing constructive to add to the discussion…most of the time I enjoy reading your opinions – this isn’t one of them.

  3. Does anyone have information about what happened at the meeting? Just curious to find if anyone went and what was discussed/possible changes that may be implemented.

    Thanks for any updates!

  4. I did some of my own digging around about the meeting and wanted to update everyone on what I found out.

    1) The shootings were not discussed as they are “still being investigated” at this time.

    2) There was a motion put on the floor to ban volunteers (sounds like some cover ups are trying to take place here now that I heard THAT) – luckily it was voted down and volunteers will still be used at the shelter.

    3)This shelter has no written policy & procedure manual. It was passed onto the Building & Grounds committee…as of right now the County Attorney has 1 month to write up the manual of policies & procedures for the shelter.

    4) Concerned citizens & volunteers from the shelter are asking that people continue to contact the mayor and the commissioners (via letters & phone calls). You can go to

    5) When the local TV station WATE TV 6 asked about when the next meeting will be held was told that the next meeting would be held “when needed”.

    Here is a link to the video on the TV stations website so everyone can see for yourselves –

    You can also go to the original news article about this and go through the comments to the last page to read some of what those who sat through the meeting have to say – although I did summarize it above – comment #45 through comment #50 (page 3) have the after meeting comments that were made. Here is the link –

    Obviously this is something that we need to stay abreast of.

    1. Thanks for the update Erica. I’m sure the volunteers petitioned for the meeting in order to file a motion to get themselves banned – tuh! What a crock.

  5. I can spend all day cleaning up pee and poop and barf. I can spend every penny I have on kibble, toys and vet work. But I absolutely get the heebee-geebees when I read about these *public* meetings where nobody can talk about an *investigation* and where it seems (to me) that I am watching some sort of orchestrated ballet where officials and people in charge dance around and twist and twirl and the media takes pictures and writes a review, and the audience goes home broke with the realization they paid to see a show, a tragedy!
    Is it just my cynical self?
    I really don’t want to know how those volunteers are going to be *used* in that *shelter* …sigh.

    1. I think part of having them banned from the shelter is because those were the whistleblowers. Nobody would have known about Bruno being left to suffer after being hit by a car or Brutus being shot in his kennel, if not for these dedicated people. I can almost guarantee that those who run the shelter are going to make their lives hell from now on to try and get them to stop volunteering. I just hope that they keep records of every single thing that happens and/or is said…this would be a situation where I would keep lots of pictures and possibly even record what is going on with a video camera, or even an audio recording device would be helpful. Praying that isn’t the case – but too many of us have witness the retaliation that comes along with being a whistleblower.

  6. Keeping good records is a great idea for volunteers at any shelter. Write good notes with dates, times, places, people, etc… Take pictures, video, audio, and keep good notes for these too.

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