Nashville Animal Advocacy Message Board › This incident is a repost from Big Fluffy Dog rescue. Your signature is needed!
Re: Big Fluffy Dog Rescue...
Ok fans, I am asking for you to scream this to the heavens far and wide. This is very lengthy but it is very important and I want you all to pass this on as far as possible. I do not ask for this kind of help lightly, but this must end and I can't help these people without your help.
Many of you will recall that last year we took in fifteen dogs or so from the Warren County Animal Shelter that were starved while in the care of the government-run shelter. We turned this matter over to the authorities who did nothing. The law in Tennessee gives jurisdiction over matters like this to the District Attorney in the same county. I cannot say I was surprised that the only call I received from an investigator for the County was asking for information about the person who blew the whistle. The County wasn't interested in investigating the starvation issue at all. They were on a witch hunt to shut up the local Humane Society and it was crystal clear to me. And so I chalked it up to another thing outside my control having done all that I could do.
Last week, one of the founders of the Warren County Humane Society (a private rescue and NOT the same organization as the people who ran the government run shelter) got a call about a boxer had been abandoned on a property by previous renters some weeks ago and they asked the Humane Society to come get them. Clay Lerch of the Humane Society called the local sheriff to ask them to respond and the sheriff informed him that he needed permission from the property owner. Mr. Lerch got permission from the landowner and he got the dog. The dog was an elderly boxer chained up in deplorable conditions. The dog had a bullet wound in the hip, a cancerous tumor on his penis, he was emaciated and parasite-riddled, he had a broken leg and shoulder injuries and he was covered in dried blood. This dog went straight to the vet where he remains.
The next day, Mr. Lerch received a phone call from a man claiming the dog was his. Mr. Lerch asked for proof in the form of pictures or vet records which the man was unable to provide. Mr. Lerch suggested that they discuss the dog and whether it was his dog as the man claimed the dog had been stolen weeks before and the dog lived a long way from where the man stated the dog had been stolen from. Instead, the man went to the police and claimed that the Humane Society stole his dog. The police arrested Clay Lerch on Friday.
Fans, this is not OK. I am not a close partisan of the Humane Society by any stretch as I am on friendly terms but not Christmas card friendly. However, it does not take a rocket scientist to see that this city and this county have a problem they want swept under the rug. The fact that the police were willing to arrest Clay Lerch for rescuing a dog on property where it had been abandoned and when his help was requested and not even taking the most minimal steps to investigate the alleged owner’s claims is unacceptable. I can only conclude that Warren County, Tennessee, enjoys its reputation as a haven for animal abuse and the government does not care. Every time the Humane Society brings anything to the government’s attention, they ignore it or worse. McMinville Tennessee and Warren County, Tennessee, are synonymous in the minds of many people who work in the area with animal cruelty. This must end.
Apparently, the local governments in Warren County, Tennessee, and the City of McMinnville, Tennessee, do not feel the law applies to them. The local district attorney has refused to prosecute abuse cases and I can personally speak to the one I had brought to her attention. That same district attorney has been alleged to openly mock the Humane Society in private gatherings when she is not aware that people are watching and listening. I haven’t seen it, but I have no reason to doubt the word of those who have told me what occurs in this county. These same government people apparently are spreading the tale that all these injured and sick animals in Warren County are being made sick for profit by the Humane Society. Again, I have no reason to doubt the word of the people telling me these things. I generally do not give a lot of credence to the chatter of rescue people who dislike the failure of governments to act because I am a former government lawyer. I get that there is a limit to what can be done as the law is not always helpful. That said, the actions of this county and this city are absolutely shameful.
The arraignment of Clay Lerch is tomorrow in McMinnville, Tennessee. Every rescue in Tennessee and nationwide should shudder a little because any one of us could be sitting where he is as a Defendant in a ridiculous case which is being perpetuated with the help of local government in Warren County. A bigger question is why has the alleged owner of this dog not been charged with animal cruelty? This dog did not just suffer all these injuries and illnesses over the span of a few weeks. No, I think there needs to be a gigantic spotlight on full beam on McMinnville and Warren County Tennessee. This is not OK.
So who can you contact to express your opinion? Kindly be respectful and don’t be rude. It is counterproductive.