The Manchester Times has learned that a Coffee County Animal Control worker allegedly shot a dog in the head without following proper procedure.
According to Bryan Pennington, his black Labrador retriever, “Toby,” was picked up by Coffee County Animal Control Monday afternoon and shot in the head and killed by worker Charlie Brown – either late Monday or early Tuesday.
“He was 16 years old,” said Pennington. “He was a stray when I took him in when he was about three.
“He had arthritis in his legs that I gave him medicine for and was blind in one eye. He also struggled to hear but he was a good dog. He loved people and was healthy — he had a healthy appetite.”
According to Pennington, Toby was at his neighbors when they called animal control.
“He always went to the neighbors but I got new neighbors recently,” Pennington explalined. “Well, they didn’t know him and he was laying on the sidewalk and they thought something was wrong with him so they called animal control.
“But he loves to lay out in the rain. He likes to get wet. And that is what he was doing.”
Once animal control picked up the dog, according to Pennington, worker Brown took it to the impound and “shot it in the head.”
The Times contacted the number listed for Coffee County Animal Control and left a message for Charlie Brown Tuesday morning but that call was not returned at press time.
The Times also contacted the director of animal control, Kevin Brown, who is not related to Charlie Brown, and he declined comment.
Tuesday morning, the Times found a trash bin near the animal shelter with dead dogs inside.
The Times contacted the county mayor’s office and Mayor David Pennington, who is Bryan Pennington’s father, said that dogs aren’t supposed to be euthanized by gunshot.
“As far as I know they are normally given an injection,” said David Pennington. “Being the mayor I don’t work down there and see everything, but they shouldn’t be shot [with a gun].”
According to County Resolution 95-41, Section 7, paragraphs D and G, the dog shouldn’t have been euthanized in the first place, not without waiting at least three days — if not five.
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Paragraph D reads: “If no one appears to redeem the dog within five days of its being picked up and impounded and the owner is notified then the county may destroy dog.”
Paragraph G reads: “If a dog impounded for any reason is not wearing a tag or a name collar and is not claimed by the owner within three days of its impoundment then the dog may be claimed and redeemed by any responsible person without any liability to the owners, or the dog may be destroyed by the county.”
According to Bryan Pennington, Charlie Brown told him he thought something was wrong with the dog and shot it.
“He was an old man, so when he wanted to lay down he did and he would stay there a while,” said Bryan Pennington, who said he spent all Monday night searching for the missing dog, not knowing it had been picked up and killed.
Bryan Pennington picked the deceased dog up from Coffee County Animal Control Tuesday morning and took it to his veterinarian — Dr. Tom Harbin. Harbin said everything checked out healthy on the dog.
“Dr. Harbin said there was nothing wrong with him,” explained Bryan Pennington. “He said he had thin fur from being old. So basically, they killed my perfectly healthy dog.”
The Coffee County Animal Control falls under the county government’s Health and Welfare Department and is funded by the county.
The Coffee County Animal Control is located at 156 Freedom Dr. in Manchester.
Coffee County Sheriff Steve Graves said a report has been filed and that an investigation has been opened.
“The District Attorney’s office said they want this investigated,” Graves said.
Look for more in this developing Times investigation soon.
Josh Peterson may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.