An emergency meeting of the Coffee County Health, Welfare and Recreation Committee at the Coffee County Administrative Plaza Monday to discuss the recent shooting of a pet by the Coffee County Animal Control yielded little headway in any direction.
Photo provided - Pictured is Toby, who was allegedly killed by a Coffee County Animal Control worker by being shot in the head after he was picked up last Monday.
In a room full of animal rights advocates, several in attendance took the opportunity to question animal control officer Charlie Brown, who shot the animal. Meanwhile, others called for more county oversight and policy changes within the department.
After an hour-long meeting, all the committee did was make a motion to form a study group to examine Resolution 95-41 – which governs the department. Barry West made the motion and Warren Walker seconded it.
“We don’t intend for this situation to happen again,” said District 19 Commissioner Jackie Duncan, who chairs the committee.
The controversy comes a week after Brown shot and killed Bryan Pennington’s black Labrador “Toby” after saying the dog was “in bad shape.” Pennington says the dog was old, (16-years-old) but otherwise healthy. Brown said he thought the dog had been hit by a car and needed to be euthanized and proceeded to kill it by gunshot.
“I gave Toby a sedative a few moments after I got there,” said Brown, who was dispatched by the Coffee County communications center.
Staff photo by Josh Peterson - Animal rights activists hold up signs and chant at passing cars on Oakdale St. Friday.
After giving Toby a sedative that Brown said the department administers every dog before euthanasia, Brown said he searched for the owner.
“I searched every house for the owner,” said Brown, even though Pennington has argued that some neighbors said they did not receive a knock at the door. “I had to do what I had to do … what was best for the animal. It was suffering to me.”
Brown says he shot the dog because it was an emergency, in accordance with Tennessee state law (Tenn. Code Annotated 44-17-303, paragraph G), which reads, “Whenever an emergency situation exists in the field that requires the immediate euthanasia of an injured, dangerous or severely diseased non-livestock animal, a law enforcement officer, a veterinarian, or agent of a local animal control unit or the designee of such an agent may humanely destroy the non-livestock animal.”
What should happen with the Coffee County animal control department?
Both (52%, 60 Votes)
Complete policy overhaul (31%, 36 Votes)
Employees removed (8%, 9 Votes)
Nothing at all (9%, 9 Votes)
Total Voters: 115
Coffee County attorney Bob Huskey spoke up and said he doesn’t believe this situation falls under the emergency definition.
“I do not think that applied [in this situation],” said Huskey. “I think that applies more in a situation where the dog is vicious or an immediate emergency.”
Read the rest of this story in this week’s (June 20) print edition of the Manchester Times.