MACC misses another opportunity to do the right thing

How many of you saw this story about an Antioch woman’s journey to finding and retrieving her stolen pet from Metro Animal Care & Control? 

Liz Bradley had been publicly lamenting her Poodle Dabi’s disappearance ever since he was stolen from her home.  She had tirelessly shared Dabi’s story and photos far and wide on social media and via email.  She had even enlisted the help of area rescues and other animal welfare groups.  Many of Nashville’s pet lovers and everyone close to Ms. Bradley had heard about Dabi – they KNEW the pup was missing and that his owner was not the one to blame.  Though we do not know her personally, it seems obvious to us that she is certainly NOT one of Nashville’s irresponsible pet owners.

When Ms. Bradley learned the thief had surrendered Dabi to MACC, of course, she went to MACC to retrieve him.  However, she was not permitted to do so until she paid a fee in the amount of $92 – $92 to retrieve a dog that belongs to her and is a beloved member of her family. 

What was the alternative?  Was there another course of action available to MACC? 

Well, what WSMV Channel 4 failed to report is that (effective June 6th) MACC indeed has the authority to waive fees such as those charged to responsible dog owner Liz Bradley.  The Metro Council recently passed ORDINANCE NO. BL2013-452, an excerpt from which reads: The director of health is given the discretion to waive a portion or all of the fees imposed when the dog has been impounded through no fault of the owner.”  

In recent months, MACC has been publicly criticized for its staggering kill rate, lack of transparency, and irresponsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars.  This government agency has lost the trust of the general public, particularly responsible pet owners such as Liz Bradley. This story, although it depicted a happy family reunion, is evidence of MACC’s complete lack of regard for the responsible pet owners of Nashville and its unwillingness to earn our trust.  Charging Ms. Bradley a $92 fee to retrieve her own dog may seem like small potatoes, but it is so much more – it is a missed opportunity for Metro Animal Care & Control to gain just the smallest bit of redemption in the public’s eyes.

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Did you pick up this week’s City Paper? Here are the highlights.

James Nix of Nashville’s The City Paper recently did some impressive investigative reporting.  Nix details some of Metro Animal Care & Control’s questionable spending of funding intended for animal education and welfare programs in his article “With euthanasia rate high, some seek more spending for pet spay-neuter programs.”

Here are some highlights…

In 2009, Councilman Phil Claiborne and Councilwoman Karen Bennett co-sponsored a bill that increased daily animal boarding fees and set aside $3 of each boarding charged into an “animal education and welfare” fund….

…A breakdown of the items appearing in a MACC expense report shows that of the $27,800 collected in fund so far, the two biggest items include the installation of what officials described as a cat condo listed at $4,050 for the adoption are at the Harding Place facility, as well as a 55-inch television and digital media software server to display pictures of animals up for adoption as well as educational videos on responsible pet ownership, to be viewed by MACC customers in the lobby.

Metro also paid $1,649.77 to Francis Communications Inc. (including $690 for awareness bracelets) and $4,150 for custom printing from C Specialties Inc. for what Paul described as bracelets, leashes and magnets with the MACC contact information printed on them.

Also listed as expenses is a $450 charge from Art Pancakes Party & Wedding, for two costumes – a dog and a cat – worn by MACC employees at community events and when speaking to school children on how to be safe around animals and help take care of them.

We strongly encourage you to read the the article in its entirety.  Do you think Metro Animal Care & Control has demonstrated responsible stewardship of tax payer money?

Follow James Nix on Twitter —> @MistaNix