Family Blames Maury County Animal Shelter For Pet's Death
by Heather Graf
MAURY COUNTY, Tenn. - A Spring Hill family claims animal control officers in Maury County are responsible for the death of their beloved pet.
Tim Petway and Emily Nesbitt are the first to admit this whole ordeal began because their pet escaped from the yard while they were on vacation and got into a fight with another dog. That dog later died from its injuries.
That's how Polo the pit bull wound up at the Maury County Animal Shelter.
"When we returned home on that Tuesday, we tried to go and see the dogs," said Nesbitt. "We were told no, we could not see them, we could not bring food to them. They wouldn't allow us to do anything. They said they were being held there by the courts."
Thirty-three long days passed before their court date. During that time, Tim and Emily repeatedly tried checking on their two pit bulls.
"I called at least twice a week to check on them, and I was getting an okay, every time I called," said Petway.
When they were finally allowed to pick up their pets, the female pit bull was in good health. The couple was shocked, though, when they saw Polo.
"He came out in horrible condition," said Nesbitt. "He was severely emaciated, he was dehydrated, he couldn't see, he couldn't hear. He had skin conditions. It was a horrifying sight. He had blood coming from his nose and his eyes."
They took Polo to a private veterinarian immediately, who told them that among other things, the dog had contracted an infectious disease called canine distemper, that eventually spread to his brain.
He was suffering so much at that point, his owners made the difficult decision to put him to sleep.
"For your dog to go into the shelter and catch a disease that quickly, they're not doing something right," said Petway.
They've gotten very few answers from the shelter, but chose to tell Polo's story in hopes of sparing another family from this kind of pain.
"We don't want this to happen to anyone else," said Nesbitt. "It's a tragedy, and we just want the right people put in the right place. The people that are employed there are not the people that need to be in place."
The director of the animal shelter referred our questions to her boss, who just happens to be to Maury County Mayor Jim Bailey.
He told NewsChannel 5 they are sorry that Polo got sick inside their shelter, but insist he was not neglected. They do not take any responsibility for his death.
The family is now considering filing a civil lawsuit.