NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Metro Animal Care and Control is patrolling Nashville neighborhoods and responding to calls of animals left out in the cold without proper shelter, food or water.
A Metro Nashville ordinance requires that animals left outside have a shelter consisting of at least three walls, a roof and floor. The animal must be able to walk into the shelter, stand up, turn around and lay down.
The animal must also have access to food and water. The water must not be frozen. If the animal is chained or tethered, they must have at least 15 feet mobility.
Last winter, Animal Control responded to 451 animal cruelty complaints. Since Dec. 1, they have had 171 complaints.
Officer J.J. Wagner is one of six field officers and patrolled east Nashville on Wednesday.
“We just educate them and let them know,” she said. “Most people are very receptive when we stop by.”
Within minutes of getting to the neighborhood, Roderick Qualls flagged her down to tell her about a dog chained in a yard next to his home.
“We kept hearing the dog bark,” he said. “We looked over the fence and saw him there with no shelter, no food and no water.”
Qualls contacted the property owner who told him the dog was being taken care of by his son.
Qualls then told the owner he was going to give the dog a dog house, food, water and some hay to stay warm.
“I was so glad to see them out patrolling and looking for animals,” he said. “Animals can’t help themselves.”
Officer Wagner contacted the property owner as well and told him she would be following up to make sure the dog had everything it needed.
“[Qualls knows] the owner of this property and he knew they were coming onto this property,” she said. “We don’t suggest you go on property that’s not yours. Please call us because we can do it in a way that is legal and safe.”
A few streets away, another home without a fence had three adult dogs and two puppies outside.
The homeowner was not home, but a neighbor called him for Wagner.
“Even though there was not a fence the adult dogs are wearing an invisible fence collar that is keeping them in the yard and there are three dog houses,” she said, which means the dogs are in compliance with Metro ordinances.
Owners who are found in violation of the ordinances related to housing animals outside face a range of penalties. They can be fined in environmental court or in some cases lose their pets altogether.
If there is an animal you have concerns about call Metro Animal Care and Control at 615-862-7928.