Lewisburg City Officials Bring The Stupid

Reader Salette Andrews took action in response to the killing of dogs slated for rescue at the Lewisburg pound in TN.  She wrote city leaders to express her views regarding the city blaming volunteers for not being quicker than the ACOs in the kill room and to educate them about no kill.  In response, she heard from Lewisburg City Manager Tommy Engram and Mayor Barb Woods.  I’m posting their responses below, the bolding is mine.

From: Tommy Engram <teengram@bellsouth.net>
Date: Mon, Jul 23, 2012 at 5:20 PM
Subject: Re: Lewisburg’s Image
To: tengram@ctyoflew.com, Salette Ann Andrews
Cc: woodsba2@gmail.com, sthomas@cityoflew.com, hdavis@cityoflew.com, owhitehead@cityoflew.com, rmcrady@cityoflew.com, rminor@cityoflew.com, cforbis@ctyoflew.com, sbroadway@fpunet.com, jbl@marshallcountytn.com, annamay1955@yahoo.com, johnchristmas_108@yahoo.com, john9962@bellsouth.net, ewhill@marshallcountystone.com

Dear Ms. Andrews,

I agree that I am a servant of the people. I do not agree with your other statements.

As a former member of a governing body, you should know how to read a city code. Lewisburg does not now nor has it ever provided a zero kill shelter. That is not in the city ordinances and it is not in the city budget.

I am not a former council member. I have been on this job for three weeks. I have no authority to change either the laws or the budget. In fact, I have changed absolutely nothing relating to animal control and we did not grow this problem during the past three weeks.

Also, you surely realize that volunteers who are spending their time organizing a protest are not spending their volunteer hours finding homes for dogs. That is what will cause more dogs to die. I do not appreciate your effort to twist my words to suit your purpose. You present yourself as a professional. As a professional, you should hold yourself to a higher standard.

Thank you for sharing your opinions.

Tommy Engram, Ph.D.
City Manager
Lewisburg, Tennessee


From: Barb Woods <woodsba2@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Jul 23, 2012 at 2:07 PM
Subject: Re: Lewisburg’s Image
To: Salette Ann Andrews

The city manager had barely been on the job 2 weeks when the “volunteers” called in the tv cameras and held an unannounced camera event. Oddly There had been no crisis worth tv coverage for the 4 months prior when there was no city manager.

You may want to find out why when volunteers knew the vet would be there to euthanize at 10:00a.m. on Wednesday no one came before that time to get the dogs??? Maybe have been an oversight or could it have been planned?


So there you have it folks.  The Lewisburg ACOs who killed dogs knowing rescuers were on the way to save them aren’t to blame.  It’s the volunteers who, instead of spending “hours” of their own time doing the shelter staff’s job for them, are exercising their rights as Americans to petition the government for a redress of grievances.  Plus, the killings were all part of an evil plot by the volunteers to have dogs die so they could be on the tee vee machine.

Let’s suspend logic for a moment and suppose the city pols make some valid points.  If Mr. Engram truly believes that volunteers should stop protesting in order to spend time rescuing dogs from his pound, he should ask himself what motivation any rescuer would have to do so knowing that the dogs they work so hard to save will be killed anyway.  As for the theory posited by Ms. Woods, that the volunteers were allowing dogs to be killed for a television publicity stunt, isn’t it a tad embarrassing that a group of dog lovers can outwit an elected mayor on the media front?  I mean, shouldn’t the mayor be able to manipulate the tv cameras better than ladies who scoop poop and pick ticks off dogs for free?

I hope the volunteers of Lewisburg will continue to speak out for the dogs at the pound and to hold the city accountable for its failure to protect pets from harm.  We are with you.  Let us know if you need help.


Thank you Salette Andrews for writing on behalf of the dogs at the Lewisburg pound and for sharing the responses you received.

30 thoughts on “Lewisburg City Officials Bring The Stupid

  1. Well stupid is as stupid does, the City Manager and Mayor have proved it with their comments. I am one of the volunteers that is dying to get on t.v. For Mayor Woods edification, I have been on t.v. before, it ain’t all that. Dogs being killed senselessly is. We have worked hard again this week. Dogs are getting out of the “holding facility”. We have used our volunteers hours to do so. There is a protest on Saturday, which is being organized by Pitbull Awareness of TN, not the volunteers. We are not media whores, we just want to get the dogs out of that living hell they call a holding facility (formerly shelter).

    1. Y’all do a wonderful job working for the animals down there, Kelly! I do what I can to help from Nashville and it is just infuriating to know what you are up against!

  2. Tommy Engram obviously has the type of PhD my biology professor (himself a PhD) used to joke about – it means ‘piled high and deep!’.

    Tommy Engram is a useless ‘not-my-job’ kind of guy; that’s what his excuses say to me.

  3. I live a little over an hour from Lewisburg and have been supporting shelter volunteers there for almost 2 years donating money, advocating for the animals, sharing them, writing letters to city officials, etc. And the facts are that Lewisburg has had MANY problems where the shelter is concerned for the entire time I’ve been affiliated with them. The same mentality that exists now has been prevalent from other officials: they don’t care and any blame belongs on the volunteers. But the problem IS with the city, all the way down to the housing they provide for the shelter animals when money has been raised BY VOLUNTEERS to offer something better. There were several news stories last winter on the substandard conditions animals were in during the blustery cold days. They seemed to believe plastic hung up as walls and weak heat lamps provided adequate warmth and protection for the tiniest dogs as they were stacked in mere crates. All the while, volunteers had been locked out of the shelter and the ACOs wouldn’t answer the doors. Yes, there are pictures that document all of this. But the mentality present as evidenced by the responses above will not allow for anything to be changed or for any amount of common sense to be used for the animals’ benefit. It’s life (or death, as the case may be) as usual. Between Lewisburg and MAS, just to mention two “shelters” in Tennessee, I’m ashamed of the state in which I was born and raised.

  4. It’s an obvious case of (indirectly) blaming the victim. Anyone with a half brain will see how ludicrous those statements are. That’s our target market – those with at least half a brain.

  5. Thank you for posting these. I am Ronnie Van Zant, the Founder and President of Pit Bull Awareness and the organizer of the protest and petition. I am grateful for your support in this effort!

    1. Thank you Ronnie for standing up and speaking out! For others that may not know you….I will become involved in this simply because of the integrity you brought to other issues regarding the welfare of animals. I trust your leadership wholeheartedly. Lewisburg should be ashamed. If a city official is reading this…..animal rights advocates are Passionate, Unrelenting, Loud….and MANY. Your comments are nothing short of insulting and truly demonstrate your ignorance in these matters. Change will happen…you can count on it. The only question is..How will your office handle this change? WIll you lead? WIll you admit past problems and resolve to fix them? WIll you embrace those that offer help? Or will you defend your ignorance, offer excuses instead of solutions? These are serious allegations. The public demands serious answers!!

      1. I’d like to think differently; but based on how MAS has doubled down on their killing machine, I’d say Lewisburg will continue to offer excuses and defend their ignorance. They don’t care, they want to ‘reduce’ the animal population, and they don’t mind killing to do it. It will take nothing less than a clean sweep of the government officials, replacing them with people who have a different mindset. That will take the the entire city of Lewisburg getting behind it. Ronnie, your involvement is a great place to start making that happen! Wish I could be with y’all this weekend, but I’ll bet here in spirit.

  6. Ok, so when we combine the ABC coverage (which includes Engram speaking) with the email responses above, the picture becomes pretty clear. At least to me as an outsider. You are dealing with hostile forces who lack all sense of diplomacy and appreciation for the fact that they are paid using taxpayer funds. The elected officials serve at the will of the people and while I’m not sure when municipal elections take place there, it might be worth looking into.

    As someone who deals with cities and counties every day (as in defending them in litigation), here are my two cents as unsolicited as they may be. Door Number 1: seek a calm sit down meeting with the mayor and city attorney (and without Engram) to talk about what happened and where to go from here in a positive way. The bottom line is rescue was coming and they simply said “F you” and killed the dogs needlessly. It’s not like keeping them a few hours longer would have mattered. It may be hard to hold a meeting like this but at least you’re taking the high road and trying to rise above the stupidity. Door Number 2: since true colors have been shown, really take this to the public. Use the TV outlets, use print outlets, get proper permits to protest and then protest visibly and often. I’ve seen pet stores stop selling dogs due to continued and passionate protests. If you keep it up long enough and educate enough folks, they will join forces with you to fight this fight.

    1. Excellent suggestions, but I’m thinking given the mentality of the people in charge, door number 2 is about the only option. Someone there will have to correct me if I’m wrong, but I thing meetings have been tried on more than one occasion to no avail. This place REALLY fights the volunteers…it’s like they have an ‘us against them’ attitude and the animals don’t matter. They prove that every time they have a mass killing like this for no good reason. I’d love to have enough money to test the saying “you can’t sue city hall”. It would be worth it to try.

    2. Trying to talk to the mayor is a joke. I did it once and was blessed out by one of his employees and also was threated while the employee was supposdedly in the mayor’s office. Go to the T.V media, and hopefully you will get better results than I did.

  7. sounds to me like he is threatening to kill more dogs.”this is what will cause more dogs to die”. what an idiot!!! if he would bother to look back about 1and half years or so he would see that no dogs have died due to lack of places to go! the only other time they have died is at the hands of the local government! who do you know that refuses volunteers to help clean up and care and adopt out their babies? there is a reason they refuse the help. outsiders get to close and then the corruption gets discovered! /CLOSE THAT SHELTER DOWN!!! those babies are better off running the roads and taking their chances if they wont allow volunteers to help them. it is DEFINITELY NOT THE FAULT OF THE VOLUNTEERS that those babies were murdered! that woman coming to get those dogs was told by those so called wonderful ACO’S that it was okay. GOD HELP THOSE MURDERERS!! THEY WILL ANSWER TO GOD ONE DAY FOR HOW THE CARED FOR HIS CREATION! some things have nothing to do with money or budgets and everything to do with morals and character!!!!

    1. I think they need to resign and get a petition going to NOT re-elect these idiots who care only for themselves and their wallets to give a shit about the welfare of innocent animals. How disgusting it is to know the kind of people who are chosen to run a state or country with only their best interest at heart. They could care less about the people that elected them in the positions they are in. Spead the word in your own communities like your doing here to stop these people from being in office for another term. They say they have only been on the job for under a month why don’t they try unemployment. LOSERS!!!!!!!!

  8. Wow. Ignorance at its finest. And sadly, it’s just the animals who lose in these situations.

  9. When are we going to accept that a throw away society does not work. The piles of trash that hit the land fill everyday consists of things we recently couldn’t live without. The puppy or kitten that was so amazingly adorable, grows too large or just gets old. The pregnancy that happens because we are too busy or lazy to avoid it, or maybe it just sounded like a better idea in theory. The meat on the family table was once a living being. Our lives are a glut of “don’t fix what you can replace.” We as a society have become desensitized to the taking of life. Is it any wonder that “the joker” peppers a movie theater full of people with bullets, or that we accept losing our young people to the fortunes of war, we hunt, “to manage over population of wild life.” Really? I thought that was Mother natures job. Our government officials find it within their authority to ban entire breeds of dogs because some damaged idiots took advantage of a dogs love and loyalty teaching them to fight and make them money. The looming troubles we have in the world begins with the simple belief that nothing has basic value. Hug your loved ones tell them you love them, human and animal, hold the hand of an old person to let them know they are valuable, that someone cares. Look at people and animals in your life, remember how you felt about them when you first knew them Repost pictures of the gentle souls that need to be re-homed, and keep as many as we can out of the hands of those narcissistic individuals who believe they have the right to murder. Have a bake sale with your neighbors to help fund a neutering clinic. Feed a stray. Be a positive change. When we decide that it is OK to kill unwanted fetuses, animals, then next it will be the elderly, then what, people who have no visible means of support? the homeless? Those who cannot afford to buy health care? “Those who ignore history is doomed to repeat it” Let 2012 be the change we want to see in the world.

  10. Since I agree with your above comments, about all I can add, is that Engram and Woods should probably not comment at all. All that I can see from their comments, lets me understand how absolutely stupid and uneducated they both are. I do not live in Lewisburg so I have no vested interest, other than a love from dogs and doing what is right. I cannot see that Engram or Woods have a lot of compassion or humane feelings towards animals. Do yourselves a favor and get them out of office.

  11. The latest media report: http://www.marshalltribune.com/story/1874138.html

    “If we were not under duress…we might have a good relationship. No government any place will negotiate under duress.”

    Duress means “compulsion by threat or force.” In what way is Engram being compelled by threat or force to do anything? I realize that he is extremely inexperienced as a city manager, but somewhere on the way to his PhD, he must have learned about freedom of speech. At some point, while interviewing for this job, he must have realized that public servants do their work in public, and that sometimes means answering media inquiries. Citizens exercising their constitutional right to free speech is not duress. Media reports on city actions are not duress. They are part of the job of running a city government, and if Engram does not understand this, he is in the wrong profession.

  12. It is easier to find a home for a spayed or neutered animal. It costs $30 to get this done. The cost for euthanizing is $45. (I recently lost a pet to prolonged illness and am getting a rescue so these facts are fresh in my mind.) Advocates are donating plenty of food, supplies, and money for these animals. If you ask me, better management is needed because $15 LESS PER PET could be spent to help ensure a future home and a decrease in the numbers of strays. If they want to use the green back bill as an issue, the higher ups should know that they wasted about $200 on their genus plans recently. That is $540 wasted if you take in the fact that people were on their way. Volunteers don’t try hard enough though right? Smh

  13. I have to comment here and point out something that seems to have been forgotten or maybe some people were not aware of this. One of the main problems that occurred on Wednesday, July 18th other than the obvious unnecessary killings, is that the ACO Officer whom was supposed to be at the shelter at 8 AM for adoptions did not show up at the shelter until after 10 AM because he was attending a meeting at City Hall. Mr. Engram himself states this so whomever might have been at the shelter that morning to adopt a dog would have found that no one was there! When did this meeting come up?? How can people adopt dogs when no one is there?

    “You may want to find out why when volunteers knew the vet would be there to euthanize at 10:00a.m. on Wednesday no one came before that time to get the dogs??? Maybe have been an oversight or could it have been planned?”

    1. Heather, that seems to be one of the biggest failures among many at this shelter. I understand that they are only open weekdays (although I can’t find this information anywhere), but that even then, it’s likely that no one is around to let someone in to search for a lost pet or to adopt a new one. I hope that the folks who are demonstrating tomorrow will demand that the city keep regular hours at the shelter, preferably including nights and weekends so that people who work weekdays can still redeem or adopt pets.

  14. This is kinda long but this whole fiasco got me thinking about something Nathan blogged about some time back. I saved this text because I knew I would refer to it again and again.

    True Accountability

    (taken from Nathan J. Winograd’s November 7, 2009, Blog entry,
    entitled, “While Rome Burns, Emperor Pacelle Strums His Lyre”)

    The issue [of true accountability] was brought into stark relief for me at a recent city council meeting I attended on a matter related to the local shelter. Before the issue I was there to discuss came up on the agenda, the fire chief spoke to the city council. He talked about the goals for his agency during the coming fiscal year. He spoke of his agency’s response times compared to the best performing departments in the country. He admitted that his Fire District lagged behind the very best. He spoke of how he was going to close the gap, by implementing a series of short, medium, and long term goals with measurable results. He was aspiring for his department to be the best, he admitted they fell short, and he had a plan to correct that. It was the mark of the true professional.

    In sheltering, we have the exact opposite: animal control “professionals” denying reality, shunning accountability, aspiring to mediocrity and failure, all while betraying the animals (and the citizens) they are pledged to serve.

    As I was listening to the fire chief, I was struck by the contrast between how staff in his department approached their responsibilities by being accountable to results, and how shelter staff continues to avoid accountability at all costs, even in the face of rampant neglect and abuse. It is this very attitude that is at the heart of why our nation’s sheltering system is so tragically broken: How can you fix a problem you refuse to admit exists? How can animal control officers reform their practices when they refuse to have standards and benchmarks that would hold them accountable to the best performing shelters in the nation? How can they be expected to be taken seriously, to be respected, when they refuse to acknowledge failures and refuse to correct even the worst of their deficiencies? How can an agency dare to demand respect when they not only refuse to keep pace with the dynamic and innovative changes in their field as a result of the No Kill movement, but actually fight those changes? And how can they do a good job when they are staffed by those who have no skills, training, or desire to do a good job even as they are entrusted to do so by an animal loving public which pays their salaries?

    They can’t.

  15. Thought I would update the current status at the Lewisburg, TN holding facility (formerly shelter). No dogs have been posted to Petfinder in over one week. They claim their computer is not working. We volunteers get our info to market the dogs from the Petfinder posts because we are not allowed access to the shelter to take pictures or gather information as to what dogs are there. So next Wednesday, another “overcrowding” situation will exist, and more dogs will die. I imagine that the computer became broken about the time they learned that the Pitbull Awareness Petition has gotten over 6,000 signatures and over 500 people have indicated that they will attend the protest tommorrow at Noon. Mr. Engram indicated that media involvement would lead to more dogs dying.

    1. Update to the update, somehow, the computer got fixed, just after we posted on the page that people needed to go to the shelter and look at the dogs due to the fact that we were not receiving info to market them.

      1. Hmm. I wonder what else might get fixed after you post about it. Perhaps you should post that the city pols need to pull their heads out their asses and see what happens.

    2. sounds like engram is bullying the media and volunteers – and using threats like “more dead dogs because people care” enough to question what’s happening is bullying and blackmail

      SHAME ON YOU mr engram!

  16. Lewisburg is as back woodsy as the movie Deliverance. Most of the politicians, judges and attornies cover each other’s butts. It is like you scratch by butt and I’ll scratch yours. It is just a money racket for them where each gets a cutback from each other. Money talks and the poor man walks. If you have enough money, you can get anything you want, whereas if the poor man doesn’t have money to slip into any County employee or official’s hand, the poor man is out of luck.

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