Expired rabies vaccination given to 90 pets at Metro shelter
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Records obtained by WSMV4 Investigates show 90 dogs and cats had to be revaccinated for rabies this year after staff failed to notice that the vaccine given to them was expired.
It’s the latest trouble at Metro Animal Care and Control uncovered by WSMV4 Investigates, including documentation of racist and sexist behavior by a supervisor and a customer who sued after being bitten on the hand and breast by a dog.
In her Feb. 23 resignation letter, former MACC employee Jessica Hoffman wrote, “The incompetence is no longer relegated to the treatment of staff. It is now spilling into the treatment of animals in MACC’s care.”
Hoffman alleged in her resignation letter that the shelter’s former veterinarian, Dr. Staci Cannon, did not alert rescuers, owners or adopters about the expired vaccinations given to pets until a complaint was filed about it with the Metro Department of Public Health.
“Is this shelter in a kind of crisis?” asked WSMV4 Investigates.
“Yes, definitely,” Hoffman said.
Documentation obtained through the state’s Open Records Act show a letter was sent to the pet owners in January stating that from Aug. 10, 2021, to Nov. 6, 2021, the rabies vaccines administered was expired and not considered legally valid.
While that letter states there is no evidence to indicate any expected adverse effects from the expired vaccine, all cats and dogs in that time frame needed to come back in and be revaccinated.
“While rabies in domesticated animals is rare, there’s always the ‘What if?’” Hoffman said.
In Hoffman’s resignation letter, she wrote that the delayed action by Cannon to alert pet owners was the most upsetting.
“Myself and the employee who pointed it out waited some time for (Cannon) to figure out a game plan. That never happened,” Hoffman said.
Cannon resigned this year from MACC to take a job out of state. WSMV’s attempts to reach her at her new employer and cell phone were unsuccessful by our deadline.
The director of the health department wrote in an email that no disciplinary action was taken regarding the expired vaccine.
The documents show after the mistakes were discovered MACC revised its vaccine inventory protocol to require date marking on its shelves.
WSMV4 Investigates requested an interview with Metro Animal Care and Control about how this mistake happened, but a departments spokesman denied that request.
Instead, the health department sent a statement reading, “In consultation with the vaccine manufacturer, there was no evidence that animals who received an expired vaccine faced any adverse effects. MACC reached out to each family who received an expired vaccine and offered to revaccinate the pet free of charge.”
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