Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Tennessee is national hotbed of animal rescues

Tennessee relied on the The Humane Society of the United States more than any other state in the last two years to respond to animal rescue missions, Anne Paine of The Tennessean reports. The increased use of the nonprofitgroup stemmed from a lack of facilities and funding in rural communities to respond to animal cruelty, she writes. The Humane Society assisted on nine rescue missions in Tennessee during the period; the No. 2 state had five.

"Tennessee just doesn't have the infrastructure to address animal cruelty," Leighann McCollum, the Tennessee director of the Humane Society, told Paine. Forty of Tennessee's 95 counties have no government-funded animal control program, and many that do only have dogcatchers who have no authority to investigate animal cruelty. On Thanksgiving Day, the group rescued 84 food-deprived horses and mules from a Cannon County farm.

"They have all those resources we don't have," Dickson County Sheriff Tom Wall told Paine. "After they came down here, I went on the Internet and joined, and set up an automatic deduction out of my paycheck for them." The group relies mostly on donations to fund its $2 million annual budget. In the upcoming legislative session, Tennessee lawmakers are expected to attempt to amend several state animal cruelty laws to better protect all animals. (Read more) (Tennessean video)

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