This is one of those stories that was too sad to write about immediately after reading. I had to wait a couple of days and come back to it. Like many of you, I especially love old dogs. Thank you to everyone who sent me this story. It deserves to be told.
Manchester, TN – Toby’s owner took him in as a stray 13 years ago when he was about 3. Like most dogs lucky enough to make it to 16, Toby had some of the typical physical problems you’d expect in a Lab: his vision and hearing were compromised and he had arthritis which his owner managed with medicine. One of Toby’s favorite things was laying out in the rain. This is not unusual for a dog bred to retrieve on water. He also liked to visit the home next door. When new neighbors moved into that home recently and saw Toby lying on the sidewalk in the rain, they didn’t realize he lived next door. They thought he might be in need of help so they called animal control to pick him up. This was on Monday. Unable to find his dog, Toby’s owner searched for him all night Monday. The search came to an end the following morning.
When the Coffee Co ACO picked up Toby, he should have taken him to the pound and held him for at least 3 days so his owner could reclaim him, according to county rules. What he apparently did instead was take Toby to the pound, shoot him in the head and toss him in the dumpster along with other pet carcasses. The ACO explained that the dog “looked like it had been hit by a car.” His owner picked up his body and took it to his vet. The vet determined Toby was in good health for a 16 year old dog.
Coffee County Sheriff Steve Graves said a report has been filed and that an investigation has been opened.
Meanwhile The Manchester Times filed FOIA requests and found that AC’s claims that they lack funds for training staff (presumably in following their own laws) or caring for injured pets are both false. The funds are there, designated for training and vet care, but the training funds were spent on a truck motor and a good chunk of the vet care funds are sitting in the bank, along with a reserve fund.
Protesters carried signs and chanted in front of Coffee Co AC today in support of Toby.