Local News

Wilson County Residents Speak Out About Hungry Dogs

Posted November 15, 2006

— The case of 38 Walker Hounds has angered many Wilson County residents. On Tuesday night, a roomful of concerned citizens told animal control officials that the treatment of those dogs was inhumane.

Last month, Wilson County Animal Control director Carl Utley said most of the dogs found by officials were fine and healthy. The Wilson Humane Society was outraged by his reaction.

"This is neglect and abuse in the worst sense," said Wilson Humane Society volunteer Sandy Norris.

"(The dogs) were attacking a downed dog that could not get up on her own, dragging her around the pen, trying to claim her as food," said Wilson Humane Society president Holly Carmichael.

The Humane Society and others confronted the county commissioners' Animal Control Committee. Some residents called for Utley's firing. He sat silently during the meeting.

"I do not want to see these animals suffer anymore," resident Gail Barrett said. "It is not right, and we should be ashamed of ourselves."

In response to people's concerns, County Manager Ellis Willford recommended construction of a better shelter and hiring more animal control officers. Right now, animal control officers euthanize about 60 cats and dogs a week.

"The public is saying that something needs to be done, that this needs to be looked at," Carmichael said.

When asked if he is sympathetic to the residents' concerns, committee Chairman Sid Boyette said, "Yes, sir, very much so. And we're going to do something about it. We're going to put animal control at the top of the list."

In fact, the committee is now investigating this case. However, Boyette said that he couldn't say yet whether Utley made an error in judgment. But the people in attendance said it's past time for changes to animal control, and said the dogs' condition was a vivid and horrifying illustration.

The owner of the dogs has not been charged, and the dogs have been sold to hunters. The committee that's investigating the case will report back in one month.


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