Does wearing a uniform give you preferential treatment?
By Sparta Live | July 2, 2018 9:09 am
I’m sure that most people (liberals and conservatives alike) would agree that EPA Director Scott Pruitt’s blatant misuse of his power and position for personal gain (paying just $50.00 a night for a DC condo, $130.00 fountain pens, flying first class, a $43,000 sound proof booth for his office, etc.) is downright disgraceful. Public servants should never feel that they have a right to perks and privileges, simply based on the position they hold. We shake our heads at some of the things that go on in DC, but I’m sad to say, this past week I witnessed something similar right here in White County. Granted, it was on a much smaller scale but it was, nonetheless, an abuse of power and position. I’m not mentioning anyone by name, as this is not an effort to point the finger at any one individual or individuals, but rather to identify a problem.
Approximately one week ago a small dog was brought to the White County Animal Shelter. The person who dropped the dog off said it had been running loose in his neighborhood for several weeks. Despite his best efforts to locate the owner, no one claimed the dog. So as a last resort this Good Samaritan brought the dog to the shelter. Like every dog brought to the shelter this little gal was vaccinated, de-wormed, photographed and treated for fleas and ticks. The shelter manager posted her picture on the shelter’s Facebook page, and also searched several “Lost and Found” websites to see if anyone had reported the dog missing. She also posted the dog on numerous adoption web pages in the hope of finding her a home.
On Wednesday, 27 June, an officer from the Sparta City Police Department called the shelter to say he wished to adopt the dog. He mentioned that he knew the original owner, and wanted to give the dog a home. The Shelter Manager explained the process for adoption, which includes that fact that, in compliance with TN Code Annotated 44-17-502, all shelter dogs must be spayed or neutered prior to being released to an adopter. Apparently this gentleman didn’t feel that he should be required to follow these guidelines…he wished to take the dog immediately, UNFIXED, despite the fact that altering prior to adoption is THE LAW, and that every person that adopts from our shelter is required to abide by this law. (He did say that he would get the dog fixed after adoption.) When he didn’t get the answer he wanted from the Shelter Manager, he proceeded to call an elected government official who sided with him, and in essence ordered the Shelter Manager to release the dog, unaltered, and trust that the dog would eventually be spayed. Rather than standing up for what is right this official chose to side with the person who wanted to be treated “special.” I have several theories as to why this decision was made, but won’t go into it at this point. (But for some reason, the term “good ole boys” keeps popping into my head.)
To add insult to injury the police officer showed up at the shelter around noon IN UNIFORM, in his official government vehicle, accompanied by a White County Sheriff’s Department Deputy…also in uniform and in his government vehicle. I have to wonder why the police officer felt the need to bring a deputy with him. The only thing I can think of is that he wished to show the people at the shelter just how much pull he has in this county. If it was an effort to intimidate, it didn’t work. Then again, perhaps he feared that the two senior citizens (I was one of them) who were volunteering at the shelter that day posed a threat. Who knows…whatever the reason I’m sure the deputy had better things to do to earn his paycheck, than provide “an escort” to someone adopting a dog.
Don’t get me wrong…I love the fact that someone wanted to adopt this little dog. Those of us who volunteer at the shelter rejoice every time one of our precious dogs finds a forever home. But there are rules, and the rules are made for everyone. Would it have been so hard for the gentleman in question to do what everyone else does…wait a few days, and then pick up his new dog after she was spayed? Or would it have been so hard for the elected official to do the right thing, and back up the Shelter Manager…who happens to be one of the hardest working employees in the county?
No one supports law enforcement officers more than me. I’m a retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer, who proudly wore a uniform for 24 years. So when I see someone in uniform disgracing that uniform by demanding special treatment, or attempting to intimidate others with a show of force…well that’s just not right.