Local News

Sheriff Takes Control of Wilson Animal Shelter

Posted February 8, 2007 8:20 p.m. EST

— Major changes are under way at the Wilson County Animal Control Office after the county's Board of Commissioners put Sheriff Wayne Gay in charge.

The change in management comes after questions surrounding the office's decisions on animal cases, including the number of animals euthanized.

In November, the Wilson County Humane Society complained about the way animal officers handled an investigation into dozens of Walker hounds discovered in a large pen.

That's when citizens like Gail Barrett called for a change.

"They dragged their feet somewhat, but I think the pressure was so great they decided they had to do something," Barrett said.

"The primary thing we've got to do is to get it back on track, have it to where people respect what we're trying to do," Gay said.

Gay brought in off-duty deputies and inmates to help cut down limbs and clean up the outside of the shelter. He changed the name to Wilson County Animal Enforcement.

Gay says the inside of the building is old and run-down and that he hopes to raise money for a new shelter.

"It's not conducive, in my opinion, to have people come in and try to adopt animals," he said.

He also organized a 10-member committee to help oversee animal control and says more input from the local humane society will be key.

"This is my first experience with it, and they have a lot of good ideas," Gay said. "There are a lot of things I feel we can do to make the situation better."

"It makes me very hopeful that by the time he gets everything like he wants it, we should have a first-rate shelter here," Barrett said.

The local humane society is also pleased with the new organization.

Gay says current animal control employees, including the former director will stay on as employees. Deputies will also help respond to some animal calls. He says they are looking at ways to restructure, so it does not affect other law-enforcement duties.