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Animal cruelty, dog attacks going unaddressed in Nashville

Dogs in animal control (Photo: Montgomery County Animal Control)
Dogs in animal control (Photo: Montgomery County Animal Control)
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When animal lovers start complaining about vicious dogs and dogs at large, it's time to take notice.

If you look at social media, you can get a glimpse of what is going on in our community.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long to find complaints about dangerous dogs on the loose, like these two huskies.

“They aren't lost. They are out every day. The owner lets them roam. MACC is aware and have asked people to document with photos and video and report it. They have attacked dogs and killed cats,” reads one of many Facebook posts.

“If you have two brown pit bulls with white on their faces missing they have been wandering up and down may drive. They also were aggressive with my neighbors,” reads another post from Madison.

“Dog Attack. I was attacked and bitten by 3 dogs near William Howard Place while out for a walk this morning ," warns this woman on next door White Bridge neighborhood.

The list of complaints go on and on.

Denice Heatherly is the co-founder of Music City Animal Advocates and has been monitoring the situation for more than a year.

“Terrible complaints about dogs running at large, people being afraid for themselves, their dogs, their children, people being bitten, chased, scary things, things you don’t want to happen when you get out in the neighborhood on a walk with your dog,” said Heatherly.

Part of the reason things are so bad is Metro Nashville Animal Control does not respond quickly to dogs running at large, if it responds at all.

“They will not go out and answer a call for a dog running at large, they will not go out and find the dog and pick it up, the policy right now is that if you have the dog contained at your house they will come and get it,” said Heatherly.

Did you hear that? Metro Nashville Animal Control would prefer that you capture the dog, then feed it and hold it until they have time to come get it.

Jane Whitesides runs Nine Lives Nashville Cat Rescue and she thinks asking people to hold dogs is reckless.

“Absurd, absolutely absurd, to ask people who have an aggressive dog come at them to manage and take care of the pup while they are waiting on animal control to come and get it they run away the last thing you need to do is put a lead on a dog you know nothing about,” said Whitesides.

FOX 17 News asked animal control if it is true you don’t always respond to dogs at large calls even if they are dangerous. They admitted if they don’t have room at the shelter, they aren’t coming for the dog.

Ashley Harrington is the Director of Metro Nashville Animal Control.

“That comes back to our capacity and our capacity for care here at the shelter, if we don’t have the capacity we can’t take that dog in,” said Harringotn.

“To say we are at capacity, it makes sense, but then again it doesn’t because we have to care of this animal issue?” asked reporter Ferrier.

“We do but we have to have a physical space to put that dog. We have to have staff in place to meet our capacity for right now and we don’t have it,” said Harrington.

And as far as asking people to hold dogs, no apology there either.

“There are some people willing to do that, it's not something that we require from the community if they do. We take the dog when we are able,” said Harrington.

The price of that policy can easily be calculated by one look at Kirby, 15-year-old half-blind Bichon Frise, that was mauled by a loose Bullmastiff.

Both Kirby and her owner Laura Morgan had injuries. The owner of the attacking dog didn’t even get a ticket.

“I really had hoped I would have something of a fair process here and I really don’t think I had any kind of process at all. It was just really, really horrible,” said Morgan.

Our investigation continues next Monday where we look at vicious dog bites and how that is being handled by Metro Nashville Animal Control. Wait till you hear the rest of Laura Morgan’s story.

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