Coffee County Animal Control Protocol and Budget Discussed

Outside Animal Control in Manchester... By Barry West

Emotions were high during the Coffee County Health, Welfare and Recreation committee meeting on Monday (June 18, 2012) afternoon. The meeting was held to discuss the handling of a recent Coffee County Animal Control dog euthanization of Bryan Pennington’s dog, “Toby” .
Many people of the near 100 in attendance questioned Charlie Brown, the officer who euthanized the animal by gunshot last week. Brown said he did what he thought was best for the dog. Brown said he received a call from Coffee County Communications that a dog had been run over. He added he looked for the dog’s owner by going door to door. Brown said he believed the animal was suffering and that’s why he did what he did. The animal control officer was asked about the three day waiting period before an animal can be put down, and Brown said he felt this was an emergency. County Attorney Bob Huskey disagreed with this being an emergency under a county resolution. Brown said the dog’s breathing was very shallow after a sedative was given and reiterated that he did what he thought was best and told the Pennington family that he was very sorry for what had happened.
A lack of funding was brought up; Funding to animal control in Coffee County for 2011-2012 was $97,916, and they are asking for $102,067 in the upcoming budget. The big question was money for training, which was $1,000 in the 2011-12 budget, and the same proposed in the upcoming budget. Committee Chairman Jackie Duncan said the county tries to give as much as they can to departments, but sometimes the money is just not there.
Bryan Pennington told the committee that he does not want to see Brown lose his job. His hope is that Coffee County Animal Control will reconsider the way they euthanize. Pennington requested that animal control officers sign a letter of understanding of policies set by the county.
Commissioner Barry West made a motion for the county to form a study committee to plan out new protocol for animal control to follow, and that was approved.
At the end of the meeting, Brown and Pennington shook hands and agreed to move forward.