Questions in Hamilton County about what was done with the bodies of pets or other animals that were euthanized raised questions about how Cleveland’s Animal Control handled them.
According to Chattanooga reports, a contract with veterinarians and McKamey Animal Center indicated bodies of euthanized pets were to be picked up from the offices and were supposed to be cremated.
Instead, reports indicated they were taken to the county landfill there, which was reportedly a city government decision to save money.
Veterinarians reportedly paid for the service for those pet owners who couldn’t take care of the disposal of their pets’ bodies.
Evie West, information officer for Cleveland Police Department, the agency that Cleveland Animal Control is under, explained their disposal policy.
It is essentially up to the owners of pets to handle the disposal.
“The animals are given back to the owners,” said West. “Animals that are euthanized because of not being claimed are then taken by an Animal Control officer to Santek [Waste Services] where the remains are disposed of.
“All veterinarian animals that are euthanized are picked up once a week by Animal Control and also taken to Santek for proper disposal.”
Beth Foster, spokesman for the SPCA of Bradley County, also commented on the procedure. The organization will begin handling animal control services for Bradley County residents who live outside Cleveland city limits beginning in March.
“Those of us who work to improve the conditions for companion animals know our real work is changing culture. We want to create a culture in which dogs and cats aren’t property to be disposed of when their care becomes inconvenient, but beloved family members. When the public sees government agencies dumping the bodies of deceased pets into the landfill like just another piece of garbage, it makes efforts to create a more compassionate culture that much harder,” said Foster.
She also said an area pet crematory offers mass cremation services for a nominal charge, which may be an alternative to burial or other types of disposal.