Montgomery County Animal Control denies allegations of abuse

(Photo: WKRN)

Volunteers with the Montgomery County Humane Society voiced concerns at a meeting Thursday night with the Animal Control Board of the Montgomery County Commission.

Serious allegations of abuse and neglect by Animal Control workers came to light.

“Our volunteers are saying there are issues of neglect,” said Humane Society board member Carmen Hunter. “They're have been animals found dead in the shelter. Probably some mistreatment of the staff to the volunteers.”

Other volunteers told the board the animal shelter smelled so bad they were unable to stay in the building for a long amount of time.

Hunter said the problems have been caused by new director Tim Clifton, who hasn't been trained properly to run an animal shelter.

“One of the witnesses found a dead kitten in one of the kennels. We did call Tim to discuss it and we didn't get anywhere with it,” Hunter explained.

Nashville's News 2 went to the Animal Control office to speak with Clifton and Montgomery County spokesperson Elizabeth Black about the allegations.

Responding to complaints of the smell inside the building, Black said, “We clean it in the mornings and afternoons, and there's always animals coming and going. It's like a pet store or anything else from time to time there will be an odor.”

When Nashville's News 2 went inside the building, it smelled fresh and was very clean despite being filled with dogs and cats in nearly every kennel.

When asked about the dead cat found by a volunteer, Black said, “Kittens and puppies, especially when they come into a shelter, can get diseases, and it's unfortunate that it does happen, but it wasn't due to neglect.”

Director Clifton grew passionate in responding to the allegations and angry that anyone would suggest he and the staff aren't caring for the animals.

When asked about the dead kitten, Clifton grew even more passionate about the animals.

“They said it'd been dead for 2 days. We don't let kittens lay in there for 2 days. We clean the kennels every day and check them periodically,” he said.

“There may have been a dead kitten by the afternoon when she got here because newborn kittens die, but they say the kitten had been in there for 2 days, that's preposterous,” Clifton elaborated.

Hunter told Nashville's News 2 that Humane Society volunteers are supposed to assist Animal Control to get animals adopted to good homes before they have to be euthanized, but those volunteers aren't welcomed at the shelter.

“They come in and they're a lot of eye-rolling at them by the staff. That the staff doesn't help them, doesn't lead them through what they should be doing,” she explained.

Black also said that is something that will be addressed.

“There were some good things that came out of yesterday's meeting. We do need a more structured volunteer program,” she said.

“Of course people come down here for a reason and they want to help I don't think it was a negative meeting, I really don't. It's nice to see support, we'd like to get some folks get behind us and not just point fingers and look for solutions,” Black continued.

The Animal Control's manual is being re-written and must be approved by county commissioners.

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