The mayor of Mt. Juliet wants several changes to be made to the city's animal shelter which opened nearly four years ago.
Animal shelter volunteer Jon Gray told Nashville's News 2 he is proud of what the shelter has become since opening in 2008.
“The animal shelter is the jewel of the city,” he said.
According to Gray, the shelter has more than 150 volunteers who spend countless hours helping the shelter find homes for abandoned animals.
Gray said he often encourages members of the community to stop by the shelter to see the work that is happening.
“I say to people, 'Stop by and visit us [and] then you be the judge.' Are we a service to the community? Is this something you are proud of? Are we doing it right?”
Despite Gray's strong feelings about the shelter, Mayor Ed Hagerty said he does not think the facility is severing the city properly.
“Unfortunately the mission has turned and they no longer do animal control. They do animal rescue only, so we need to get back to basics,” Hagerty told Nashville's News 2.
Mayor Hagerty also added the shelter is not doing enough to keep city residents safe.
He also believes animal control officers should spend more time enforcing existing city leash laws and picking up stray animals.
“I've called in calls before, I have had neighbors who have called in calls before, I have had constituents who have made phone calls and typically when they show up the animal is gone and the animal control officer leaves and that's the end of it,” Hagerty said.
While Hagerty believes major improvements could be made, shelter volunteer Sidney Payne said animal control officers have responded quickly to calls of stray dogs in and around her neighborhood.
“We called them earlier this year when we had three stray dogs in our construction area and they were out here immediately, they set traps and we managed to catch all three dogs,” she told Nashville's News 2.
Currently the shelter employs five full time staff members with an annual budget of $430,000.
Gray said the shelter has the support of great volunteers who have donated over 7,000 work hours last year which saved the city more than $300,000.
Gray also added the city does not pay for food or medical expenses for the animals because of the efforts of volunteers and that the city has received a lot of recognition for how it is running the shelter.
For more information on the Mt. Juliet shelter, visit their Web site.