A heated exchange at a Loudon, Tennessee city council meeting Monday night ended with the city attorney resigning and the city manager under temporary suspension.
City Attorney Joe Ford resigned and city manager Ty Ross was temporarily suspended pending an investigation by the city on how a feral cat issue was handled, including social media posts.
A city employee took a group of feral cats to the local humane society after they were trapped, according to Loudon residents as well as a letter from the employee. The cats were all killed, despite being spayed/neutered, vaccinated and ear-tipped and having a caregiver.
Rainbow Promise Cat Rescue posted March 16 on their Facebook community page
“For those outside Loudon, the City Manager, Ty Ross, in conjunction with the Humane Society chapter here in Loudon, trapped and euthanized a feral colony that had already been neutered and vaccinated and had caretakers.
Senseless killing of defenseless animals is NOT acceptable.
Angry citizen: “These babies hurt no one. Yet the City Manager of Loudon and his assistant saw fit to have them killed because they’re vindictive. They told the shelter that no one took care of them. But they knew damned good and well that we fed them daily; had them fixed, vaccinated and had promises of homes for them.”
It was a packed meeting and WATE6 News was there. Ty Ross told WATE6 he didn’t know where the cats in question lived but when asked again he told news media at an old building. Prior to the city council meeting, Mayor Jeff Harris said the city manager’s assistant confessed to trapping the cats and taking them to the humane society.
The above communication was made through email and there’s also supposedly a letter where the assistant claims full responsibility and wasn’t instructed by Ross. Mayor Harris says the assistant has been reprimanded for her actions.
Another issue concerns a Facebook post made by Joe Ford where Ford apparently showed bias on the topic of feral cats. Ford resigned over the speakerphone during an unplanned executive session mid-meeting.
City council clarified “The suspension is due to employment practices, not due to animals.” They consider the suspension as temporary until an investigation can be completed. During the paid suspension the city manager will not perform city duties but will still have utility duties.
This is a tragedy. Not only for the cats who lost their lives but for the caregivers left behind to grieve the actions of a government that just doesn’t understand they likely made the feral cat issue worse.
Below are some article on what happens when a colony is removed.