Benton County citizens protest and call for mayor's resignationLast Friday after 12 dead dogs and many more sick and hungry dogs were found at the Benton County Animal Shelter, many Benton County citizens got angry and placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of its mayor, Jimmy Wiseman.

The police received a call from a concerned citizen about shelter conditions on Friday afternoon. when they arrived at the shelter, bags of unopened dog food and a dead dog were found outside the building. Inside the building was even worse. A total of 12 dead dogs were found, 25 puppies had to be euthanized due to parvo and malnutrition, there was no food or water available for any of the animals and they were living in filth, feces and urine.

Benton County Mayor Jimmy Wiseman is ultimately responsible for the county’s animalBenton County Mayor, Jummy Wiseman shelter and many of Benton County’s citizen want him to face the music for the deplorable conditions and deaths at the Benton County Animal Shelter. They want his resignation.

The say he’s been dishonest about the conditions of the local animal shelter and the character of the employee he hired to run it. On Monday during an interview, Wiseman said that he stopped by the shelter on a weekly basis and never saw any problems there.

Protesters gathers Monday outside the Benton County Courthouse carrying signs and circulating a petition calling for Wiseman’s resignation.

“Our complaint is that he, through his inaction, incompetence and or criminal intent is wholly responsible for the unlawful conditions at the Benton County Animal Shelter. … We would ask to have him immediately removed from office,” the petition states.

A few Benton County commissioners were hoping to get a quorum at committee meetings Monday night in order to discuss the shelter and Wiseman’s future.

“We may be able to request his (Wiseman’s) resignation,” Commissioner Randall Clark said. In order to do so, Clark said the commission would have to seek the opinion of the district attorney’s office.

Smith said he has asked for help in his investigation because Wiseman has accused the Camden Police Department of attacking him personally in response to the investigation at the shelter.

“It’s nothing like that,” Smith said. “(On Monday) I spoke briefly with the district attorney, and I will be getting back with him on Thursday.”

Last year, the commission passed a resolution to allow the West Tennessee Animal Rescue to operate the shelter, one commissioner said.

“But somehow Mayor Wiseman vetoed that, because they never took over,” Commissioner Don Patton said.

On Friday afternoon the shelter came under investigation for its handling of the animals after the 12 dead animals were discovered.

The animal control officer, Jacqueline Boyett, was fired for her job performance, Wiseman said Monday.

Boyett has been previously in trouble with the law during her employment with the county. She was arrested Oct. 19 on charges of simple possession after police said they found marijuana seeds in a plastic bag with marijuana residue in her vehicle on shelter premises and a burnt marijuana cigarette in the shelter’s office.

Boyett will appear in Benton County General Sessions Court on Jan. 23 to answer the charge.

The Benton County Animal Shelter is funded jointly by Benton County and the cities of Big Sandy and Camden.

Benton County contributes $38,328 annually, Big Sandy pays $500 annually and Camden gives $8,400 annually, according to Wiseman.

The facility, which is located on Eva Road, has one full-time position and one part-time.

During an interview Monday with The Sun, Wiseman said the shelter was not equipped with an animal control officer who had been adequately trained and the shelter was not capable of holding a large number of animals.

The county has donated land near the landfill that is the anticipated site for a new shelter, but officials are lacking the funds to get it built.

Joe Kyle, who is with Citizens for Honest Government, said the group does not intend to let this issue drop.

“We feel like he (Wiseman) needs to be held accountable,” Kyle said. (Jackson Sun)

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