Petition Circulating For Changes To Metro Euthanasia Policies
by Janet Kim
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Thousands of animals are euthanized each year in Nashville, but rescue groups say that doesn't have to be the case. They've started a petition to prompt change at Metro Animal Control.
Petitioners say they aren't asking for much – just some suggestions they say won't cost the city a dime. Officials with Metro Animal Control say there's more to the problem than meets the eye.
The animals' faces tug at the heart strings of animal lovers. Metro Animal Control Officer Billy Biggs will tell you he's no exception.
"They always try to blame us," says Biggs. "We're all animal lovers here, if we weren't we wouldn't be working here."
The blame he believes comes after numbers showed 76 percent of animals in their custody were euthanized last year.
"They're pretty devastating, especially to see numbers in other cities where the budget isn't that much different," said Elizabeth Chauncey, one of the petition authors.
Chauncey says the recommendations for change will go to Mayor Karl Dean.
"The way the country is viewing Nashville, this doesn't match up," she says.
The petition asks Metro Animal Control to work with more rescue groups and volunteers, stop breed-specific policies on euthanization, and raise visibility of impounded animals.
"I don't understand the resistance to look at what we're asking for in the petition. Who would think those are bad ideas?" says Chauncey.
Supporters have more than 4600 signatures, but the goal is 20,000.
"People want to help and want to believe what they're doing is helping," says Chauncey.
Biggs wants to help too but believes it will take more than a petition to do so.
"Are we part of the problem? I'm not sure, but part of the problem is spaying and neutering and irresponsible pet owners of Davidson County," says Biggs.
Petitioners say one of their big concerns is a Metro Policy that won't allow dogs like pit bulls to be adopted out.
Officials with the Metro Health Department, which oversees animal control, says given the history of pit bulls, the policy is in place for the safety of the community.
Metro Animal Control officials say on a positive note, numbers show adoption rates have increased each year since 2009.
For a look at the petition, go to http://www.change.org/petitions/petition-to-reform-nashville-metro-animal-care-and-control-macc-76-kill-rate.