TENNESSEE -- An animal control officer cited a Johnson City man after the officer said he found a 12-year-old dog wasting away in a filthy outbuilding.
But by the time Washington County Animal Control Officer Wayne Thomas was notified about the dog, she was too far gone to save.
Tanny, a chow-shepherd mix, was taken by animal control Dec. 29 after officials were called to a Cherokee Road residence about a howling and whining dog.
Thomas said he found Tanny lying in a corner of an old metal outbuilding that had a kennel area fenced off in the front.
“I could smell the stench of rot and feces. It was a mess,” Thomas said, describing the scene, which included trash, a pile of empty dog food cans and other debris.
“There was food there, it was fresh. It was right outside the building and there was water inside the building. Unfortunately, the dog could not reach either of them because it couldn't get up,” Thomas said. “The dog was laying in the corner of the building. It could not stand.”
Thomas said he was called out on the 911 call around 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 29.
He thought the animal would likely have to be humanely euthanized, but that decision was up to a veterinarian. Thomas used a tarp to drag Tanny to his truck and took her to a vet that provides services to the animal shelter.
A residence at the property, 4371 Cherokee Road, was unoccupied so Thomas left a notice that he had taken possession of Tanny.
The vet report indicated “the dog was in a state of collapse, the hair was in a saddlebag mat across the entire body, there was urine and feces on the coat, she was very thin, very dehydrated,” Thomas said.
An X-ray also showed the presence of buckshot, indicating Tanny had been shot at some point in her life.
Due to her condition, Tanny was euthanized, but she didn’t die alone: “She was put to sleep because of the best interest of the dog,” Thomas said.
Thomas said Elbert Lockner, 77, of 1212 East Lakeview Drive, said Tanny had been in that condition about two months. He said Lockner told him he’d owned Tanny from the time she was a stray puppy he found.
There was evidence he cared for her — she was spayed and there were empty dog food cans around — but in her decline, she was apparently left without proper care.
“Just feeding your dog doesn't make you a good owner. When it comes times to put them down, you don't let them lay there and waste away,” Thomas said. “It was a bad situation for the dog, and he made it worse by not doing anything for the dog. When it comes time to do something, you need to do it and not let the dog die away. That's not the thing to do when an animal is in that shape. You cannot leave an animal laying there until it dies on its own.
“He tried to say he wasn't cruel to his dog and I couldn't make him understand what he did was wrong,” Thomas said. Euthanasia was “the only humane thing to do for her.”
Lockner was cited with aggravated animal cruelty and has a Jan. 17 court date in Washington County General Sessions Court.
(Johnson City Press - Jan 5, 2017)