Advocates Allege Animal Neglect and Death at Montgomery Co Pound

The Leaf Chronicle reports on a couple of incidents which happened in May at the Montgomery Co pound in Clarksville, TN:

A litter of kittens was found rolling around one of their dead siblings, which had been there for hours if not days. The full litter and their mother had to be put down.

Also in May, a litter of “four puppies were found sitting in the drain covered in fecal matter.”  One of the puppies died.

Local advocates say these are not isolated incidents but part of a pattern of neglect at the pound.  The director, Tim Clifton, defends the pound’s care of pets:

“This is not a 5-star doggy hotel,” Clifton said. “We’re an animal control facility.”

Montgomery County Mayor Carolyn Bowers has indicated that she would investigate claims of neglect but stands by Clifton, on the job for the past year, and says he’s improved things greatly.  She specifically notes that the kill rate is down 25% and all 9 full time staffers are now certified to kill animals. Both contend the care provided at the pound is more than adequate.

Volunteers and advocates claim otherwise.  They say that staff hoses down kennels with dogs inside as well as numerous other violations of the county’s animal shelter manual.

One advocate e-mailed Clifton about the dead kitten incident which happened in May.  His response, in its entirety:

“I will not dignify that absurd slanderous lie with a response. If you would like to come down, we will talk about it, or better yet come take some animals,” Clifton wrote[.]

But in fact Clifton acknowledges the kitten did die and the entire family was killed after discovery.  At issue is what volunteers claim they saw:

Shawna Lund, Wendy McKay and Raven Gutierrez, three volunteers, found the dead kitten.

“Raven got Shawna because she noticed there was a really weird smell in the cat room,” McKay said.

The volunteers say the kitten had been dead long enough to go into rigor mortis and expose the other kittens to infection, giving the full litter of kittens a green eye excrement.

“When she pulled it out, the cat was stuck to the edge of the bed, and we literally had to pull him out,” McKay said.

The volunteers tried to clean the eye excrement off of the other kittens, in one case to horrible effect.

“We were putting warm compresses on it,” McKay said. “Shawna kind of rubbed too hard, one of the eyes just exploded out.”

The full litter and its mother had to be put to sleep because of exposure to the dead kitten, which the volunteers say lasted many hours and possibly days, a time span Clifton denies.

Clifton denies the dead kitten was stiff or stuck to the bedding.  He says he watched an employee clean the cage that morning and that cages are cleaned several times throughout the day as well.  And:

“A kitten did die, but it was a brand new litter of kittens,” Clifton said. “Brand new kittens can die.”

No one seems to be advocating for the fact that the surviving kittens and mother had a right to live, which is troubling to me.

The Animal Control Committee has been hearing concerns from local advocates but doesn’t plan to address them in any meaningful way until the October 24 meeting.  Until then, kittens can die, I guess.  Oh and yay for 9 people killing animals at the Not 5 Star Doggy Hotel.

On a side note, I was horrified to see a Facebook posting from the pound in Lee County, SC indicating they were sending 27 dogs to Clarksville, TN.  Rescues there clearly have their hands full already.  How can Clarksville rescue groups justify importing dogs from out of state while pets are suffering and dying at their own pound?

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

16 thoughts on “Advocates Allege Animal Neglect and Death at Montgomery Co Pound

  1. they will send dogs to Clarksville ( Take The Last Train to Clarksville come to my macabre mind) probably because they are small and saleable.. while the big black “pot bulls”
    go out in body bags..

  2. Nobody should be sending any live animals TO Tennessee . . .

    As far as dead kittens, moms, puppies – and they’re doing a swell job? Not in a million years! Sounds like the same old $hit, different day. Damn them all!

  3. Did they say who they were sending the 27 dogs to? There are several small rescue groups here. Unfortunately, the local Humane Society (that easily brings in over $100k in donations a year PLUS grants) does not house one animal in their facility … the director doesn’t want to get back in the ‘animal’ business again, they want to just stick to their mission. IMO, their mission over the last 10+ years is to attack MCAC … so instead of banning together to work toward saving animals there appears to be these constant accusations. And yes, some groups are known for going out of state to pull animals instead of helping in their own back yard.

    Since removing myself from the money hungry Humane Society I have worked with MCAC over the last several years pulling dogs when I could, they always contact me immediately if they get a breed that I work with. And the letter that Tim would not dignify with a response … I have received those letters from that same person and where I cannot stand behind anything else said I can stand behind his statement on that, this individual is immature and would not lift one finger to help an animal unless getting paid for it, one incident involved a kitten that was dropped off at their building … the HS director charged mileage to drive from her home to the HS building to take the kitten to MCAC … I saw the reimbursement slip with my own eyes. If they were so ‘humane’ maybe a trip to the vet to ensure the kitten was healthy or maybe find a foster home … but their solution, take it to Animal Control where kittens and puppies have a hard time surviving.

    MCAC has gone from killing every Pit bull, Rottweiler, Sharpei, Chow Chow to now giving all dogs a chance at a home, no breed prejudice, they are improving but as we all agree absolutely have room for improvement. Animals are now taken to adoption events, something unheard of in the past. And while I do not really know Tim personally, they had a Rottweiler there at Christmas who was very ill with kennel cough, I was out of state but assured him as soon as I got back I would get her. He took her to the vet and treated her until I got home a week later; if they were just about killing the animals she would had been dead.

  4. Rigor generally isn’t contagious – why is being in with a dead litter mate cause for “exposure”? It sounds like the kittens had URI…and no, a ruptured eyeball is not a death sentence, dammit.

    This guy’s responses – I know you’re all feeling it, too. So, so, so TYPICAL of these slaughterhouse facilities for the person in charge to respond The wording and tone is EXACTLY what you see in places where the responder clearly does not give a shit and clearly has zero empathy for those in his charge. It’s enough to raise my hackles, reading his words because now I know precisely what kind of person he is.

    On importing animals to TN…WTH??? TN is killing with both hands seven days a week and even if you have a TN rescue group who will happily take your dogs and get them into homes, how can you rationalize sending them? In what part of your brain do you decide that that’s somehow okay?

    1. I too got a definite sense of the self-righteous “How dare you ask me about a dead baby animal? Why don’t you come down here and do my job?!” indignation that we see all too often from directors of killing facilities.

      1. Right. Volunteer to fall in love with animals who may be killed any time the director chooses to do so. Feel that you have committed the ultimate form of betrayal against pets again and again. Have your soul eaten out. piece by piece, until you are a shell of a human being. Fabulous prizes to be won!

    2. The exposure was to the bodily fluids that were excreted from the body after rigor and bloat had occurred. The fluids that leave the body are toxic. Kittens were fine prior to the ones death. No one claimed they killed the kitten, death does happen, (though the director acted if someone did) but it is in their regulations that ALL animals are to be checked every 2 hours which does not happen by staff. Had that been done, this would not have happened. Photographs prove the kitten situation and are available for public viewing. The kittens were not newborn, they had newly opened eyes and were getting around on their own. The staff was asked if the cats could be seen at a vet to see if they could be saved, the response was “kill them”. Not euthanize them, kill them! Why anyone would take an animal there is beyond me. Volunteering there is like having a part of your soul stripped seeing those kinds of things! TN should not be intaking anymore animals, too many TN shelters are guilty of this stuff!

  5. Come down here and do my job. I would be more then willing to go down and do their job, once they all get fired. My friend and I are in Bowling Green KY looking into funding to start a no-kill shelter. Anyone know where we would start. We have been advocating for quite a long time but we want to do more. Anyone know how to write a grant proposal?

    1. April, in my area, there is a group of business people who volunteer their time to help others who want to start a small business or need help/advice to run their small business from people who have been there, done that – everything from hiring to accounting to organizing. I would contact local small business groups in your area to see if you have something similar that could help you. Find people who know how to put together a plan, how to rent space, how to work to raise funds, etc. You don’t necessarily need “animal” people, you need business people who can help you create the model you’re wanting.

      After that, you talk to animal people for ideas on how to get the most out of your efforts.

      Good luck!

  6. I believe that transports are okay, but that people have to be looking at the kill rates of places their animals are going. I came from Seattle where it was commonplace to import chis and other small dogs from high kill shelters because there is many animal lovers there and due to the rain, there isn’t that many animals out roaming and making babies. It blows me to away to see Dallas importing animals from Louisiana when their live release rate stayed about 30%. They rate is improving but I still wouldn’t want to send to animals there. Same with Tennessee, for anything. Frankly, it scares me that people in send Pitbulls to Houston because it is my understanding that Pitbulls are not adopted out by policy and with their low kill rate shelters at >50%, it just seems like a bad idea.

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