Changes sought in Union City’s animal policies

Changes sought in Union City’s animal policies

Posted: Wednesday, July 2, 2008 9:16 pm
By: Donna Ryder Messenger Associate Editor

By DONNA RYDER Messenger Associate Editor Rodger and Wanda Tanner, whose dog was recently euthanized in Union City, want changes with the city’s policies so they will no longer encourage the premature deaths of animals. Rodger Tanner’s brother, Ty Tanner, read a written statement by the Tanner family, which indicated that, although they thought initially their pet’s death was a mistake, they no longer believe it was a one-time accident but a “routine operational procedure of the dog pound by Tim Doyle and others with the motivation being to maximize the profit made on the city contract.” He continued, “The more we looked into the matter, the worse it got. The statements made in the paper by both Doyle and (animal control officer Darrell) Baty portraying themselves as innocent victims and continuing to make false statements about what happened only exacerbates the issue and serves to make us more determined to find out how deep the deception goes.” Baty, who was terminated from his position on Tuesday, told an investigator with the police department that a dispatcher on June 11 informed him that two dogs had been dropped at Formac Stables and since it was “just outside the city limits” and it was going to be a hot day he decided to pick the dogs up. When he arrived at Formac, he said he was told by a woman there that she had “seen a woman in a van drop off the two K-9s.” The Tanners’ dog and a brown dog, which had been dropped off at their home on June 11, were transported to the city’s pound. They were euthanized the next morning, in violation of the city’s policy to wait at least four days. Doyle told the investigator that his records on June 17 did not show the two Formac pickups as destroyed and that it was an “oversight.” “As to why the dogs were put down, I did not look at the impound date and I did not double-check it for the date. I had a lot of business going on and it was very busy and I made an honest mistake.” Doyle has since asked to terminate the contract he has with the city. The city is still using the pound to house animals which have been picked up by the police department. Animals which have been impounded for the four days are then being picked up by the humane society, which is using local residents to house the animals. None are being euthanized by the city at this time, it was noted. “If we thought that this was a series of honest mistakes we would not be here tonight and would not still be seeking answers to a host of unanswered questions,” Ty Tanner read from the prepared statement. “The most telling statement about this made by Baty is when he admits he told Doyle that these were county dogs and could be killed the next day. This tells us three things. “A. They have picked up county dogs and killed them too soon before. “B. All of Baty and Doyle’s claims of honest mistakes are false. “C. This was not a one-time incident but indicative of routine operation by these two men. We submit that they knew exactly what they were doing and did it anyway. Tim Doyle has been in trouble before for not feeding the animals. If you kill them as soon as you get them, you don’t have to feed them and there is no evidence left that they are not being fed. He knew if he didn’t kill them the next day he would have to feed them for a week. … “In conclusion, we have raised some property rights issues, jurisdictional issues, policy and procedures issues and oversight issues that need to be addressed. While we welcome a new facility, if these issues are not corrected there won’t be any fundamental change in its operation.” After Ty Tanner read the prepared statement, Rodger Tanner told the council the way the animal control contract is currently written, it is an “incentive” to kill the animals immediately to save on dog food. Doyle was being paid $1,750, he said, adding the less dog food he had to buy the more money there was for him to pocket. In addition, he said it is also advantageous for the vets office, which is paid per animal that it euthanizes. Rodger Tanner said he would like to see the policy rewritten where the person who runs the shelter receives a set amount as payment per month and extra money for food for the animals. Plus, he’d like for the vet’s office to be paid a set amount per month and not have it based on the number of animals. “I don’t want it to be an incentive for them,” he said. Rodger Tanner added that the same vet who saw his dog on May 16 put him down on June 12. “There’s not that many Australian Sheep dogs running around Union City,” Rodger Tanner said, adding the vet “knew” his dog was not a stray. Councilman Johnny Bacon said, “We hope this is resolved. We know there were some oversights made and the council wants to get to the bottom of this.” Mayor Terry Hailey added that he was on the original council which called for a vet to euthanize the animals. He said the animals were being euthanized using a vehicle and a hose connected to the exhaust valve. Hailey said he doesn’t think that council thought about whether it would be an incentive to euthanize more aniamals, they were trying to find a more humane way to euthanize them. After the meeting was opened in prayer by city attorney Jim Glasgow Jr., the council: • Agreed to make South Division a one-way street from Harrison to Waddell streets. • Voted on second reading to annex property for Discovery Park of America. • Set a public hearing on Aug. 5 to consider new flood plain maps and to add a BR (business recreation) zone for use by Discovery Park. • Approved the placement of traffic cameras at certain traffic lights in the city but decided to wait until the city has an acceptable contract in hand before agreeing to use Traffipax for the camera service. Both Hailey and Bacon voted against the placement of traffic cameras. • Agreed to pay Revell Construction $219,105 for work completed on the water rehabilitation project. • Approved using J.R. Wauford for engineering services on a new well at the cost of $27,000. The well by Central Fire Station cannot be repaired, it was noted. • Took no action on a request by Ford Construction Co. for the city to lock into a one-year contract with the company for asphalt concrete surface material. The company wanted a commitment from the city but was not offering to lock in a price. • Reappointed Jim Rippy Jr. to the Obion County Industrial Development Corp. board of directors, Steve Sedberry to the Electric Power Board and Margie Smith to City Beautiful Commission. Ellarine Moses was appointed to fill the position of Nina Pierce on the Obion County Library Board. An at-large position on the City Beautiful Commission, which had been held by Reginald Turner, still has to be filled. • Asked for a contract with a man who wants to take down the Logan Hill water tank and keep the scrap metal as payment. • Granted a request to close a portion of Nash Street from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. Saturday for a family reunion. • Learned from public works director Steve Ladd that Barker Brothers picked up 18 loads of limbs on Monday and is continuing to pick up limbs in the city. There was at least one complaint of limbs which have been piled in the Sherwood Hills subdivision for at least a month. • Asked about the possibility of getting the co-op to fix up its old building. Councilman Danny Leggett said there are broken windows and the building needs to be painted. Hailey said he would speak to someone about it. • Heard from Leggett there is a home on the corner of First and College streets where it’s hard to tell where the “junk ends and the yard begins.” The council also discussed homes on Glendale Street which are in need of repair or demolition. Councilman Dianne Eskew said she checked with the planning office and the earliest any action can be taken by the city is Sept. 28. • Learned the water tank on Nailling Drive is being painted. • Discussed insurance for special events, specifically asking about the Obion County Fair and CornFest. A representative from the Tennessee Municipal League is to appear at the city’s next orientation session to discuss the city’s options. TML is no longer covering special events under the umbrella of the city’s policy and is charging for special events. Kathy Dillion, who is acting as city manager during the medical absence of Don Thornton, told the council members they need to decide where “the line in the sand is, as far as risk” — what they are willing to pay extra for, if they will require proof of insurance before permits will be granted for special events or if they’ll take out no insurance on some events and hope the risk is low for any claims. A list of regular special events held in the city will be presented to the council at the orientation session. • Asked about the progress of the budget. A new fiscal year began Monday. Ms. Dillion said it is almost complete, with figures from the state already received. Councilman Judy Robinson was absent. Published in The Messenger 7.2.08

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