Stray Magnet Blog

In the News: Sumner County Animals response to Nashville Animal Control’s high euthanasia rate

In light of The Tennessean’s article “Nashville animal control kills 78% of stray animals” on February 24, 2013. Here’s a thoughtful response by Sumner County Animal’s Darrel Johnston published on March 6, 2013, after he visited the facility.

“METRO (DAVIDSON COUNTY) ANIMAL CONTROL: Accepted an invitation to tour the Metro Animal Control facility this past week. Many of you have read the recent articles in the Tennessean regard their intake of 10,000+ animals annually with a euthanasia rate of 76-78% (in comparison, in the same period Sumner County took in 2,500 animals with a euth rate of 63%).

Unlike our Sumner County facility, the Metro AC facility is fully open to the public (as is Williamson, Rutherford and Cheatham County facilities). I found the Metro facility very clean, spacious, odor free with a friendly professional staff that reports to their County Health Department. Like Sumner, they also have about a 1/3 of the total intake from ‘owner surrenders’.

MAC darrelThey do not adopt out any Pitt Bull or Pitt mixed breeds (which accounts for about 60-65% of their total intake) … these are euthanized if not reclaimed by their owners. All animals in their adoption center have been fully vetted, S/N’d and pass a temperament test, with most also having been quarantined for a 7 day period. Upon intake ALL are vaccinated, dewormed and treated with Pet Armor flea/tick treatment. It is mandatory that all animals that have been picked up as “running at large” be micro chipped before/if being reclaimed by their owners.

They also accept animals from all counties/areas, not just from Davidson County. Davidson County also has a licensing program … $4 annually. All animal feed containers are cleaned & sterilized daily … kennels were very clean (they have a paid cleaning staff) … emphasis is placed on disease prevention and sanitization. Their annual budget is about $1.8 million, compared to Sumner County’s approx $350-500 thousand. I was impressed with the facility and overall operation … nice!!

And “Yes, they do have a volunteer program“. If are interested in volunteering, e-mail us at and I will gladly send you an application. All volunteers are trained, undergo a background check and must sign a liability release.”

Darrel also provides Sumner County results which provides an insightful comparison.


“In February, 190 animals were taken in, of which 60 (32%) were ‘owner surrendered’ and 130 (68%) were ‘strays’. 15 (8%) were reclaimed by their owners*; 51 (27%) were turned over to rescue organizations; 31 (16%) were adopted and the euthanasia rate was 45% (85 animals). Another ‘good month’ compared to past results.

*Regarding ‘strays’ … the vast majority of stray animals do not have any type of owner identification where the owner can be contacted to reclaim their animals. Even though state law requires dogs to wear ‘rabies tags’ which can be used to identify the owner , most strays do not wear them or have never been inoculated.  Unfortunately, too many people treat their animals as a ‘disposable’ commodity … they never follow up with AC or the other shelters on ‘lost animals’. Most of these are eventually euthanized unless rescued or adopted out.  If a stray animal is picked up and is wearing owner ID, AC’s policy is to ‘provide a free ride home’ on first offenses without a citation.”

Photo By: Darrel Johnston