Rutherford County Rule Increases Animal Euthanasia Numbers

Posted at 5:29 PM, Oct 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-25 20:40:38-04

Shelters in Rutherford County have been forced to kill a higher number of animals because of a county rule that does not allow cats to roam free.

Rutherford County PAWS euthanized 211 dogs and cats in September alone, a number shelter workers said is higher than desired. The shelter put down 42 dogs, 163 cats and 6 other kinds of animals.

The county has drastically reduced euthanasia numbers over the last ten years. In 2007-2008, 83 percent of cats were euthanized, but for 2015-2016 that number is down to 42 percent.

Shelter workers said a county rule has made it impossible to eliminate euthanasia.

"A reason that euthanasia number is driven up is because of our feral cat population,' said PAWS director Michael Gregory. "They're animals we can't adopt out because of their behavior."

According to that rule, cats are not allowed to roam freely. That means the catch, neuter, and release programs other counties are implementing, are not legal in Rutherford County.

"There are also shelters that have just stopped handling cats at all, they only deal with dogs," Gregory said. "I don't think we'll ever see that here because of the number of complaints we receive."

To combat the problem, the shelter now runs monthly adoptions specials aimed at making it easier for families to give a shelter animal a permanent home. Beginning Wednesday, Oct. 26 you can name your own price for any adoption through the end of October.