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Wilson sheriff defends response to animal cruelty calls

Posted November 7, 2011
Updated November 8, 2011

— The Wilson County Humane Society took its fight for better enforcement of animal control ordinances to county commissioners Monday evening, while Sheriff Calvin Woodard defended his office's track record on animal cruelty and welfare calls.

Last month, authorities seized two horses, a donkey and a goat from the home of Jonathan Whitley on Webb Lake Road after neighbors complained to authorities eight times since January about crowded living conditions, emaciated animals and carcasses on the property. Whitley was charged with animal cruelty and failing to dispose of dead animals.

But Anne Pression with the Humane Society said the arrest is too little, too late.

"We have an ordinance, fairly well-written and easy to understand, and it's not being followed," she said Monday in a presentation at the Board of Commissioners meeting. "The fact that it's not being followed is allowing animals to die a horrible death."

Woodard said the Whitley case was properly investigated and cited each date his officers responded to calls about the property.

"We never dropped the ball," he said. "We checked on the animals."

Wilson sheriff defends response to animal cruelty calls Wilson sheriff defends response to animal cruelty calls

He said that the Humane Society's attack is unfounded and turned down Pression's request to form a committee made up of deputies and local animal rescue groups to save neglected and abused animals in the county.

"This is not a game of back and forth fighting. I don't like to fight," he said. "But I'm not going to stand by and allow somebody to lie (about) me when I have 164 people whose lives and jobs are at stake."

Pression said she won't back down, but she hopes that the Humane Society and sheriff's office can work together in the future.

"It is not acceptable to us, and we will not mind our own business about the inhumane treatment of animals in our county," she said. "There's room for improvement here. There's room for better communication. I think there's room to work together. It's just not happening."

Woodard said he plans to meet with national Humane Society representatives to resolve concerns about animal welfare in the county.


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  • crysmiller26 Nov 8, 2011

    And to think-all this stems from someone tresspassing and finding a few unburied animals.. the animals taken were very fat, healthy and examined by a vet...but you dont see any pictures of them pasted everywhere huh?? he is getting charged with cruelty, why is pression not charged for invasion of privacy, breaking and entering, tresspassing, slander, libel or anything else? This is just a fight for power..sheriff calvin woodard went by the law, yet she broke the law, but he is being slammed? she jumped the gun in this investigation..did an interview..and threw out alot of false accusations (30 dead animals?? great lie..), when she knows not what really happened..you cant just accuse someone of doing something, just because it sounds good.when you raise livestock, dogs or any animal , some die regardless of what you do--and some have to be put down....I have been to this farm many times and the animals were very well taken care of.

  • 12 South Nov 8, 2011

    Brad for animal control

  • 12 South Nov 8, 2011

    Summerlin in 2014

  • 12 South Nov 8, 2011

    Summerlin for Wilson County Sheriff 2014!!!!

  • saywhaaaaat Nov 8, 2011

    amen to that!

  • backwards Nov 8, 2011

    It would be nice if these types of groups cared about human lives (abortions) as they do about animals. I think I'm going hunting tomorrow to fil up the freezer with meat.

  • Supie Nov 8, 2011

    it takes 8 reports of animal cruelty to get action? I give the humane society reps lots of credit for standing up for animals so this doesn't happen again. Its not pleasant to be the messenger of bad news, and the bad news for Wilson county is clearly that the leo's need to be more responsive to law violations concerning animal cruelty.

  • smegma Nov 8, 2011

    sounds like both parties could kiss and make up. a committee would be beneficial

  • mrsmom Nov 8, 2011

    Sherriff Woodard has been cleaning up the department he inherited and is well respected by many people for his job and professionalism. It is too bad the Humane Society could not find a less adversarial way to make a point, but that is typical for that organization in Wilson County.

  • storchheim Nov 8, 2011

    "Actually, it is about doing his job, not that of an animal control officer." - gnewsome1

    Apparently in Wilson Co - you know, where he applied for and accepted the job - the buck stops with him. You sound like the losers who yelp "That's not in my job description!" and then cry about being the first to be laid off.

    "Animal control officers are the norm, not the exception, in other counties."

    This isn't "other counties".