By DALE GRAHAM
At the August County Commission meeting, former Cheatham County Animal Control Facility [CCACF] employee Darrel Hooper told commissioners of his concerns about how the facility was being run. Hooper resigned from the facility in June after being charged with assault against the facility’s Director T. J. Jordi. After hearing Hooper’s comments, Cheatham County Mayor David McCullough asked the Nashville Humane Association to conduct an inspection of the facility. That inspection was held on August 21st, (4 days after Hooper’s accusations) over a 4 hour visit by Nashville Humane Association Executive Director Joy Beach.
Beach’s report concludes that the facility is “well run given the limitations”, those limitations being insufficient staffing. In her conclusion Beach states: “I believe the charge of neglect and abuse is unfounded and completely false. Given the limited budget of Cheatham County Animal Control, these animals were well taken care of and appeared to be healthy and happy.”
Beach pointed out that all of the animals were healthy and fed, but found that many of the cages needed cleaning. She was told that, “one of the inmates became ill and had to leave the shelter”, leaving the facility short handed and causing delays in cleaning the cages. Because of the tight budget at the facility inmate labor is relied on, something Beach felt should be changed. “While I understand using inmates to help, they should be used to simply help. They should not be the primary cleaners of the animals”, she explained saying that regular staffers would better understand and adhere to cleaning protocols.
She laid out how many staffers would be needed to adhere to the strict cleaning protocol, more than 3 people, and added that although CCACF does not have the proper staffing to do that, “everyone at the shelter was working very hard”, but more manpower was needed.
She also suggested a change in handling of donations, and developing a foster care program. CCACF has a close working relationship with the Cheatham County Animal Awareness Foundation, but the Nashville Humane Society believes in the benefits of an in house (CCACF) foster program.
Beach concludes: I find Cheatham County Animal Control Facility is well-run given the limitations. The quality of care of the animals was good and the vaccine protocols are within shelter specifications. I found their medical records to accurately reflect proper medical protocols and the animals all appeared to be well-fed, socialized and healthy.
Mayor David McCullough said this week, “I’m proud of what we have been able to accomplish over the last five years. We have totally transformed CCAC with the help of hard working employees and countless valuable volunteers.
“We appreciate the Nashville Humane Society coming into our facility with fresh eyes to review our policies and treatment of animals. We will continue to make improvements to CCAC.”