Three members of the committee to study the animal control issue in Cannon County made a trip to Shelbyville on May 9.
Members Anna Pittman, Mark Vanzant and Bob Stoetzel met with the Mayor of Shelbyville and the director of the Bedford County Animal Control center (BCAC).
Director Brenda Goodrich gave a guided tour of the facility and had a question and answer session with the committee. Goodrich has worked at the center for four years and was recently promoted to the Director position this year when the then director resigned to take the head of Rutherford County’s Animal Control operations.
Goodrich has an assistant director and another paid position; she says that she also has 10 volunteers and wishes she had 10 more.
The shelter was a vacant veterinarian clinic and was upgraded to house 40 steel cages for the dogs and has yet a good amount of smaller cages for the cats. They also have a network of foster parents to take some of the “guests” home to avoid any overcrowding at the shelter.
“We do everything in our power to keep from euthanizing these animals, but sometimes that is unavoidable. When that happens the assistant director has been trained and licensed by the State of Tennessee to administer the serum to humanely put the animal down," Goodrich said.
In the tour, Goodrich showed Cannon committee members two different cages with cats and kittens. Some of the kittens were orphaned from the first or second day after birth and were put in with new mothers. Goodrich said that both mothers took over as surrogates and the kittens are thriving.
Inmate labor is provided by the Sheriff of Bedford County on a daily basis. The inmates walk the dogs and clean the facility along with feeding and bathing these animals.
One inmate said that he was in jail for failing to pay child support and was extremely thankful to have such a job.
The cages were set in such a way that the floors could be sprayed down and they would automatically flow to a trough behind the cages making it easier to keep clean.
Goodrich told the committee that PetCo had grants to help animal controls centers around the country. The BCAC has been a recipient of such grants; the center also has had control trucks under such grants.
The committee went away from the center with a better understanding of what it would take operate a center like the one in Bedford Co. Goodrich invited the committee back and welcomed any other Cannon County person to come see their facility to understand what it would take to have such a department.
The committee will take what they learned and bring it back to the full committee to plan a strategy to make the center a possibility.