The Campbell Co pound in TN has been at the center of a hot mess this month. On April 2, I posted the following on Facebook in response to the e-mails I had been receiving about the pound:
Several people have e-mailed me links to a video and petition about the pound in Campbell Co, TN. I watched the video. While the allegations may be accurate (I don’t know), there is nothing in the video to substantiate the allegations. There is no one named as a source to provide eyewitness testimony. The only records shown are from 2011 and in fact show the correct amount of Fatal Plus being used for each dog, contrary to the allegations in the video.
I am the last person to defend cruelty and killing in an animal shelter and I am not defending those practices, if they exist, in Campbell Co. What I am saying is that it’s irresponsible to throw anonymous allegations around on the internet. If someone with first hand knowledge and/or other evidence of wrongdoing at Campbell Co would like to contact me, my e-mail is email@example.com If the evidence exists, I will help you bring it to light in a responsible manner.
On April 5, the local NBC affiliate WBIR ran a story titled “Knoxville veterinarian: spaying & neutering are keys to reducing animal euthanasia rates” which mentions the Campbell Co pound but does not focus on it. Since then, WBIR has been linking back to this piece in other articles about Campbell Co, characterizing the piece as as their own “investigation” of practices at Campbell Co:
A 10News investigation found the shelter was not using the recommended procedures or dosage of euthanasia drugs.
I find this claim to be a mischaracterization of the article’s text. I am unable to watch the videos on the website but unless they contain information which is entirely different from the printed articles, I don’t think the claim can be validated.
On April 4, WBIR posted a piece saying they had been allowed inside the pound for a tour and an interview with the director, Betty Crumley:
Inside, we found a clean, sterile environment; dogs and cats that are well-fed, and heated floors. The center was not at full capacity. There were less than 10 adult dogs, five puppies, two adult cats, and five kittens being held in kennels or cages. All had water, and or food.
Ms. Crumley offered this disturbing account of how Campbell Co kills dogs:
“When a dog comes in to be euthanized, you guess the poundage. Usually on the big dogs, it takes both of the technicians. They get the juice out and give them a shot. It’s called an “IP”. Then within minutes they die. At that point when there’s no heartbeat, then they are put in the freezer.”
I guess I should pause here so you can finish recoiling.
The deputy mayor threatens that whoever posted the video online will face criminal charges and claims Ms. Crumley is under police protection due to death threats in the comments sections of some websites. Ms. Crumley reiterates the police protection claim to the news crew.
10News did not see any law enforcement officers or vehicles at the center during the two hours we were there.
Maybe they were like, stealth units.
On April 9, a pound employee went to the media to report that there is true animal abuse occurring there. (Warning: details may be too disturbing for sensitive readers.)
The Campbell Co mayor closed the pound last week, despite an internal investigation involving the mayor’s office, the sheriff’s office and the district attorney general’s office which resulted in no substantiated claims of wrongdoing. The staff has been placed on administrative leave and the animals have apparently been placed with outside agencies while the state conducts its own investigation.
At least one of the groups caring for the Campbell Co animals says that all the animals they took had to be carried and describes pets in a very different state than what the news crew observed:
[T]he Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley, who took in 20 of their animals, says the animals they rescued weren’t properly taken care of.
A nursing dam is described as having been locked in a cage with her pups, covered in fleas and ticks.
The Campbell Co pound remains closed at this time. It’s hard for me to make sense of this case where there seems to be no shortage of unsubstantiated and contradictory claims from all sides. I can’t imagine that it was any animal advocate’s hope to create mass confusion and doubt about the pound. That’s usually a tactic employed by those trying to hide wrongdoing. I guess we’ll see what comes out in the wash.
In the meantime, put me down in the “massively relieved” column regarding the closing of a facility where dogs have their dosage of kill “juice” guessed before they are stuck in the gut and left to suffer for some unknown number of “minutes” before being carted off to the freezer.