A social media post alleging “inhumane” treatment of animals at the Anderson County Animal Shelter that began making the rounds last month has now resulted in an investigation and elicited official responses from both Animal Care & Control Director Brian Porter and his boss, County Mayor Terry Frank.
The allegations were contained in a post shared on Facebook on April 21st by an employee of the Animal Shelter and say that Porter has performed euthanasias illegally and that he has violated euthanasia protocols, including by using a method described as inhumane and “extremely painful.”
The post says that Porter’s license through the state to perform euthanasia expired at the end of February 2021, but that he continued to euthanize animals up until late last year when he reportedly took a medical leave that ended very recently.
The social media post contains allegations that Porter commonly uses a method of euthanasia known as a “heart stick.” In this method, a needle containing heart-stopping medicines is jabbed into the heart and is described by several veterinary organizations as a measure of last resort that is only to be performed if the animal is comatose or completely sedated as it is said to be extremely painful. The practice has come under fire across the country in recent years.
In a statement emailed to WYSH, Porter writes that the “statements and others written in the social media post are inaccurate, and have placed me in a false light,” and indicates that he intends to vigorously defend what he calls his “lifetime of compassionate, humane treatment of animals, including humane euthanasia in accordance with humane euthanasia principles, procedures, and guidance required by the State of Tennessee.”
Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank said in a statement also emailed to WYSH that an HR investigation into any and all alleged violations of policy is underway, and writes that “On-premise euthanasia has not occurred at the Anderson County Animal Shelter since mid-December of 2021, and any humane euthanasia required would occur on-site at a licensed veterinarian’s office.”
As the investigation into the allegations is ongoing, the Mayor says that no further comments will be made until that probe is completed and that when it is, the findings will be made public.
You can read the statements from Mayor Frank and Director Porter below.
We also have a link to the original Facebook post on our website as well.
Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank offers the following statement:
“Regarding a very widely shared social media post alleging inhumane actions by the Director of Anderson County Animal Care and Control, there is currently a Human Resources active investigation of alleged violations underway. The social media post widely shared is by one employee against another employee, and touches numerous areas of county policy. On-premise euthanasia has not occurred at the Anderson County Animal Shelter since mid-December of 2021, and any humane euthanasia required would occur on-site at a licensed veterinarian’s office. Director Porter strongly denies the allegations made against him. As there is an ongoing, active investigation, no further comments will be made until the findings are presented. A review of findings will be released.”
In response to a widely distributed social media post, Brian Porter, director of Anderson County Animal Care & Control and the Anderson County Animal Shelter, issues the following statement:
“A recent social media post by a co-worker has alleged that I am violating euthanasia procedures by euthanizing with “heart stick” as the first step in euthanasia. These statements and others written in the social media post are inaccurate and have placed me in a false light. Using all legal means available to me, I intend to fully defend my lifetime of compassionate, humane treatment of animals, including humane euthanasia in accordance with humane euthanasia principles, procedures, and guidance required by the State of Tennessee.
I have a lifetime of experience in animal welfare and through my leadership efforts, working with mayors and commissioners over the last 15 years in Anderson County Government, we have built a shelter, developed partnerships with numerous rescues, and successfully and constantly facilitate placement of cats, dogs, kittens, puppies, and sometimes pigs, rabbits, guinea pigs and more, into adoptive, loving homes. I have been working with animals since I was 16 years old, including work in veterinary and emergency pet clinics, and the University of Tennessee.
My entire life has involved working with and caring for animals. My work today is motivated by my love of animals and my desire to provide compassionate and humane treatment to every animal we encounter. Every animal that suffers causes me to suffer, and every animal that dies is a death I mourn. I have never done anything to harm an animal and I never will.
“My training and experience is vast and includes, but is not limited to, completion of the University of Missouri-Columbia National Cruelty Investigations School Training Academy, Law Enforcement Training Institute and School of Law and University Extension in conjunction with the American Humane Association; University of Missouri-Columbia National Animal Control Association Training Academy, Law Enforcement Training Institute and School of Law and University Extension in conjunction with NACO; Animal Control Officer Basic Training; Credentialing Training for First Responders to Agricultural Disasters by the University of Tennessee, College of Veterinary Medicine, Tennessee Department of Agriculture, and Knox County; as well as training in Animal Euthanasia by the Humane Society of the United States, Knoxville-Knox County Animal Shelter and the University of Tennessee School of Veterinary Medicine.”