Tiny Dog Dies at Coffee Co Pound, Mayor Produces a Thermometer

Nicky Bandy wanted to adopt a Chihuahua at the Coffee Co pound in TN.  The pound has indoor/outdoor concrete runs and Ms. Bandy was concerned about the temperature of the concrete floor – the only surface on which the dog could stand or lay.  She says she offered a blanket for the dog’s run but the director refused to accept it.  She was so concerned the dog would freeze to death on the concrete, she returned to the pound daily to check on the pet.  Last Friday, Ms. Bandy was told the dog had died.

Local animal lovers complained to the mayor and he reportedly visited the shelter personally on Monday to determine the temperature of the inside portion of the run in which the dog died.

“At 7:30 this morning I rolled in here, we shot another temperature – the same pen that the little animal was in. It was 62.6 degrees. It was 28 degrees outside,” said county Mayor David Pennington.

I am guessing the mayor checked the temperature of the air while standing in the kennel.  This would not be the same temperature as the concrete on which the short-coated toy breed dog was sleeping.  This should be obvious to someone smart enough to run a county.

Chihuahuas are not farm dogs, sled dogs nor any of the other types of dog who are equipped to survive winter temperatures without protection.  They require human intervention if they are to survive such conditions and any shelter director should know that.  But the director at the Coffee Co pound offered this keen insight:

“I don’t know who made the statement the dog was froze to death, but it was not,” said Coffee County Animal Control Director Kevin Brown. “I really don’t know why it died other than old age.”

Well it’s not impossible, although it seems highly unlikely to me.  The answer could be determined via necropsy, if anyone on the county payroll wanted the truth:

The county says it has no plans to get a necropsy to determine why the dog died.

I guess that answers the question of whether anyone pocketing their paychecks courtesy of county taxpayers wants the truth.

When a pet owner in Coffee Co is accused of allowing a dog to freeze to death, does the mayor whip out his thermometer and decide that no investigation or charges are appropriate based upon the reading?  If not, there appears to be a double standard between what the county requires of citizens and what it requires of itself.

It will be up to local advocates to push the county for reform and demand the pound be held to a higher standard than the mayor’s dog and pony show with the thermometer.

(Thanks to everyone who sent me this story.)

26 thoughts on “Tiny Dog Dies at Coffee Co Pound, Mayor Produces a Thermometer

  1. Oh, the dog was “old”. That’s the excuse? So…you’re telling me you forced a tiny breed, short coated, OLD dog to lie on cold concrete? What a f-ing jackass.

  2. The news story was on our local Channel 4 (WSMV) night before last. There’s a very active group down there trying their best to get these dogs out or even get to them before they ever go into this hell hole! They’ve offered to donate raised beds for each kennel, but are waiting on “approval”. Funny how the shelter director says no offer of help is refused. He lied. Imagine that!


    1. Or that 63F is still pretty cold for a tiny dog with no blankets. My little one has a crate pad that’s meant for a much larger crate, but it works out well because she can fold it over and then burrow in between the layers and make herself into a little burrito, which she does even when the temp is in the low 70s inside. And she needs a sweater to go outside if it’s below 65, or else she’ll start shivering.

      1. Yes, this. I was just writing that it’s one thing to be comfortable at a drafty 62F or so when you’re a fully dressed healthy adult human, another when you’re an elderly little dog with no real coat to speak of. Or, for that matter, a frail person.

  4. We all need the phone number and email address for the pound manager and the mayor to register our protests about this needless death. It is so obvious that they could care less. This makes my blood boil

  5. 62 degrees is still a big difference than what their body temp should be at 101 to 102 degrees, That is a 40 degree difference!!! No autopsy needed to figure that one out!!!

      1. I think her point is that the lower the ambient temperature, the more resources the body needs to keep its core temp where it needs to be. A tiny dog generally doesn’t have the ability to keep its core temp 40 deg above the ambient temp for a prolonged amount of time.

      2. That might be your point, but that’s not what she said.
        What she said was:
        62 degrees is still a big difference than what their body temp should be at 101 to 102 degrees, That is a 40 degree difference!!! No autopsy needed to figure that one out!!!

        You can read this as one of two ways: either she assumed that the dog’s internal temp was 62 degrees, or she is calling for the building to be kept at 101-102 degrees. I’m fairly sure the former is the case.

      3. There’s another way to read it, which is the way I read it. She’s saying that there is almost a 40 degree difference between what a dog’s temp should be and what the ambient temp was. I believe her *implication* is that a tiny dog’s body cannot do the work to keep the internal body temp 40 degrees above ambient temp.Their bodies just can’t produce that amount of heat. It was implied rather than explicit but giving her just a tiny bit of credit, that’s what I infer. And to me, the further implication of that is not that the building needs to be kept at 101, but that it should be kept as close as possible to the range we call “room temp” (right around 70F) and blankets should be provided.

        It’s certainly possible that she misread badly enough to think the temp was the dog’s body temp, but that’s not how I’m reading it. In any case, the point stands that this run was obviously too cold for a tiny dog to survive (and for almost any dog to be comfortable.) The obviousness of that is the real issue here. There is no mystery as to why this tiny dog died, and anyone who claims that there is (or that the dog died of “old age”) is being disingenuous.

  6. This has been an ongoing battle with the Coffee County Animal Control for a very long time. I attended a protest over a year ago where a dog was shot because the pound worker thought the dog was “suffering” and no vet was on duty at the time. It’s a barbaric place, run by people only looking to collect a paycheck. I am so glad the story is finally getting the attention it deserved. I am so sorry Star had to give her life to make it happen. (RIP, 12-12-13)

  7. Hi! Please sign the petition. Less than 36 hours ago there were only 1406 signatures, there are now “2,961” signatures now. Only “2,039” needed to make more of a difference. http://www.change.org/petitions/governor-bill-haslam-hold-coffee-county-animal-control-officers-accountable-for-the-neglect-abuse-and-killing-of-healthy-adoptable-companion-dogs-in-their-care?utm_campaign=new_petition_recruit&utm_medium=email&utm_source=notification

  8. That shelter and its manager should be prosecuted for felony animal abuse. People go to prison for 6 months for injuring or neglecting a dog. This is far worse. Shelters shouldn’t be exempt from their crimes either!!! And the kundra beds that were donated to the shelter will not keep a chihuahua from cold and hypothermia!!! I wrote an email to the Mayor and said all of this to him.

  9. It was was really appalling to watch this story on our local news. That poor little Chihuahua did not have to suffer and die like that when there was someone who wanted to give it a home. This place is a disgrace and the county and its residents should be ashamed. The mayor looked like such a low life redneck. Who in their right mind would believe that concrete floor was even close to that temperature? There have been local rescue groups that have tried tirelessly to help change this place. The progress has been slow at best. Its sad that it took this to get the attention that is needed to expedite change.

  10. why didn’t u take special precaution for smaller dogs or puppies, that’s just common sense for people who love and care for animals, its a shame!!

  11. Welcome to TN folks. I’ve posted on the Governor’s Facebook page. This is SO common in the TN shelters. And this is actually NOTHING compared to what goes on in some. The state won’t even do anything. They did a necropsy on Mila from Warren County and determined she was allowed to starve while in their care and then was killed by another dog. Did the state file charges? No. It doesn’t violate any TN state laws. Shelters are allowed to let dogs here freeze to death, starve and fight to the death. No one cares. These battles have been going on in our state for YEARS. We can’t get anyone anywhere to do a thing. Not on a local level, not on a state level, not on a federal level. All we have is voting power and sadly in many of the very rural counties (Warren, Jackson, Coffee, etc) we don’t have enough people here that think this is wrong. Unfortunately many people that grew up in this area were raised to believe they’re ‘just animals’ and have no feelings. So they continue to vote in the ignorant and the corrupt politicians. The local businesses have joined in so they get kick backs. The local hoarders and puppy mills are lauded by the counties are being upstanding citizens that are huge animal lovers. The Warren County shelter allows their local small breed puppy mill and large breed hoarder to SELL their puppies at shelter adoption events! Until we have more people from other areas of the country moving in to give us a voting majority, we can’t do a thing. It’s sad, but it’s just how it is.

    1. I keep posting this. If you really want to know about how animals in this state are cared for, this is an excellent example. Warning: It’s VERY difficult to watch. I’ve been in animal welfare / rescue / shelter management for over 20 years. I had to pause this twice and walk away to catch my breath before I could finish it.

  12. The treatment and mindset described by Ronni would have been said about African American citizens treatment in the South- back when. And nothing – absolutely nothing changed until the Feds stepped in and Federal laws were enacted to force them to change. Maybe we should start pushing for National Shelter Laws that force the hands of the States.

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