Letters To The Editor: Roaming Dogs & Animal Control In R.C.
ROBERTSON COUNTY TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – Animals are a big part of Robertson County life, there are many farms in the County and all one has to do is read Smokey’s Lost & Found page to see that there is a love for all animals here in R.C. The love we have for animals as a county along with the close proximity of our rural and city areas can create issues from time to time. Sometimes it’s escaped cows on the road or even a lost mule (as we had last week) but sometimes there are other issues too. Smokey has received numerous letters concerning un-fenced or abandoned dogs in the county over time. Some dogs have even developed into packs and the problem seems to be all over the county in varying degrees, the issue is not just out in the County.
In the last week Smokey received two “Letters To The Editor” on the topic of animals in the county and we have decided to publish both of them. One letter talks about animals that are allowed to roam unleashed and the other pertains to animal control facilities. Below the two letters we have added a video of a recent city of Springfield Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting that was held on February 18, 2014. The meeting goes over the new animal control facility in Springfield that passed with a 4 to 2 vote. (WATCH VIDEO NOW)
Letter ONE from Melissa Armstrong of Cedar Hill
Dear City of Springfield: 3/8/2014
I’m writing to complain about the unenforced dog leash and fence laws in Springfield, Tennessee. It’s bad enough that when I drive to town from Cedar Hill I almost wreck my Honda daily because loose dogs chase after me on narrow country roads. Or that these unleashed and un-fenced animals can breed unrestricted creating an animal overpopulation problem that costs taxpayers thousands of dollars, but when I’m in a city park and the leash laws aren’t recognized, it’s just plain wrong. And it makes our community look bad to both tourists and recent transplants.
I foster animals for a local animal welfare agency. Our organization is a grass roots movement that re-homes the hundreds of homeless animals roaming our small agrarian county. I walk both my dogs and my foster dogs on the Springfield Greenway (normally one of the most picturesque and pleasant destinations in Robertson County) but recently I’ve had numerous incidents when an unleashed dog approached my own pack.
In fact, once last summer a twenty-five-pound brown and black mutt that walks with his owner unleashed attacked one of my foster dogs. I literally had to separate them with my foot or one of those dogs would have gotten hurt. When the incident happened, the owner was fifty yards away with her back turned. I’ve repeatedly asked her to leash him, but she remains defiant. I also know that my walking partner has written to the city several times about this dog and his irresponsible owner. Why is this still allowed to happen?
On both ends of the park the leash laws are posted, but the park’s rules and regulations are in small print, behind glass, and hard to find. I recommend two courses of action. First, the police department needs to assign bicycle patrols to ride the Greenway and enforce the laws, giving tickets to whoever violates it. Secondly, the city should invest in leash law signs that are clearly posted at each end of the park, as well as a few higher spots in between. I say high spots because I know that flooding from the Sulphur Fork Creek is a problem.
If action isn’t take by the city, then I will be forced to drive to Clarksville or White House and use their Greenways, where the leash laws are enforced, which in turn will force me to spend my grocery, gas, and errand money in other cities. Springfield’s businesses will lose every bit of revenue they might have made off of me. I won’t be the only one either. I’ve run into quite a few responsible dog owners that have already stopped coming to the Springfield Greenway because of the amount of unleashed dogs. Please help make our community a better place.
Melissa Armstrong, Cedar Hill
Letter TWO from Donna Wilkins of Springfield
March 7, 2014
Springfield is planning to provide its citizens a new animal control facility with the goal, as stated by Chief Thompson, of it becoming a “no kill” shelter. It takes more than a building to create that environment especially if, according to Chief Thompson, no new staff will be hired. Unless the staffing has changed, there are two full time employees at Springfield Animal Control. Two full time officers seems inadequate staffing to operate a 3000 square foot facility much less do what it takes to get it to the status of being a “no kill” shelter.
According to the televised meeting of the city council, (See video below) the city is counting on the new facility to attract volunteers to round out personnel. Of course, volunteers are great but shouldn’t they be an adjunct to the paid staff instead of responsible for operating the facility while officers are out of the building attending to their “control” duties? Has any thought been given to the liability of depending too much on volunteers who are assisting in an area teeming with possible injuries?
Like Springfield, the facility in Greenbrier and the one on W. County Farm Road operated by the county are minimally staffed, minimally funded, and all three are no more than 10 minutes from each other. What a perfect opportunity this is for the governments of Springfield, Greenbrier, and Robertson County to consider combining the resources and the staffs of these three animal control facilities, find a central location, and build one great facility with an adequate number of paid staff.
Let’s merge these 3 facilities. I believe that would attract volunteers and I know it would have a better chance of making a difference in our community.
Donna Wilkins, Springfield, TN
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