In January 2013 stories in the national media have praised Nashville as the new "it" town. There is much to be proud of in our city; however, we are not proud of our Metro Animal Care & Control (MACC) and do not believe that its practices reflect our compassion or aspirations as a city. MACC policies do not align with Mayor Karl Dean’s vision and consistent messages of Nashville being a progressive and vibrant place to live, visit, and work. We ask you to join us in this petition to reform some of its (MACC) practices.
The January 13, 2013 story in the City Paper presented facts from MACC Director, Judy Lauderbache. MACC operates at a 76% kill rate and Director Lauderbache states this is an “improvement” over past years. That we must be “thankful.” When concerned citizens wrote Mayor Karl Dean regarding these facts, one of the responses from The Health Department stated “Irresponsible pet ownership and owners letting their animal run at large (RAL) is a major factor in creating unwanted animals. We are asking for additional field staff to help enforce the leash law.” Yes, we know there are irresponsible pet owners; what we want to know is how will the animals be treated once they are in your care?
The facts below are from the article “ByThe Numbers: Metro Animal Care and Control in 2012” (City Paper, Jan 13, 2013), which can be read in full here: http://nashvillecitypaper.com/content/city-news/numbers-metro-animal-care-and-control-2012
• Animals MACC officers picked up in the field: 3,378
• Animals delivered to MACC: 5,999
• Total: 9,377 - "Of 9377 total intakes, only 440 were animals considered to be difficult to place upon arrival. (367 were the direct result of a bite, and 73 came from situations characterized by cruelty.)"
• Adoptions: 1,211 (12%)
• Euthanizations: 7,179 (76%)
• Relocations back to the wild: 96 (1%)
• Returns to owner: 553 (6%)
• Transfers: 95 (5%) (this number represents those animals that were not adopted and that MACC later sent to the Nashville Humane Association shelter)
As voting citizens, we find these statistics unacceptable. With a budget of 1.7 million dollars, and a new facility, MACC should be a bright spot in our community as well as an inspirational model to other Tennessee counties and to the entire country! We propose the following immediate changes to lower the high kill rate an immediate cultural change at MACC. We have prepared statistics on these procedures, as well as policies, which have a proven track record of positive results.
• Establish a Rescue Program: Create an active and inclusive partnership with the many reputable rescues in our area. Not just a few; as many as possible that are 501c3. Dr. Brent Hager stated that these rescues are mostly always “full” – however, local rescues will focus on rescuing animals from our local MACC if they are given a chance.
• Establish a Volunteer Program: Presently, It is unclear whether there is or is not an active volunteer program at MACC. As citizens we want to know the specifics of our volunteer program. Screening process? The hours? The tasks? Many citizens have filled out MACC’s lengthy pages of paperwork to volunteer as recently as January 2013. When checking back on their Volunteer Applications they are told there is nothing for them.
• Stop Breed-Specific Policies and Euthanizations: Although not a law, certain breeds are not photographed or offered for adoption regardless of temperament or age. They are most times euthanized within three days. This independent internal agenda at MACC is unfounded, must stop. Cities that adopt out Pit Bull Type Dogs are Atlanta, Charlotte, Knoxville, Las Vegas, Memphis, Chattanooga, Tampa, and Birmingham; and just next door: Clarksville, Williamson County and Cheatham County. Most of Michael Vicks dogs were saved and are now pets! Two are national therapy dogs: Hector & Johnny Justice. According the American Temperament Test Society, Inc. American Pit Bull Terrier’s got an 86.8% temperament score (out of 100). That is better than a Beagle, Basset Hound, Australian Sheppard, Border Collie, Cocker Spaniel, Chihuahua, and more http://atts.org/breed-statistics/statistics-page1/
• Raise Visibility of Impounded Animals: All animals to be posted on Pet Finder and Pet Harbor with a clear/attractive photo, an accurate breed description and enticing bio. Plus, launch a Facebook page and Twitter account. In addition, MACC should have its own professional web site, like most animal control departments around the country.
These requests are only a beginning. We propose a sit down meeting with Mayor Karl Dean, Metro Board of Health and MACC leadership where positive ideas and facts are exchanged to create a partnership for permanent change. Metro citizens want leadership with intention and determination to make MACC part of our compassionate and progressive Nashville Community.
Join us to reform Metro Animal Care and Control and eliminate this outdated ineffective culture.
It can be accomplished, but only if we demand it.
We need at least 20,000 signatures from Nashville citizens – and yours is important.