Grundy County Sheriff Clint Shrum is fed up with people abusing their pets.

He says handing out fines is no longer working when it comes to preventing animal cruelty.

Shrum is seeing an increase in the number of people who leave cats and dogs to fend for themselves, and he says that needs to stop.

“It's a crime, and we are going to start putting people in jail that's the only answer I know at this point,” said Clint Shrum.

Wednesday a Sheriff Deputy found a starving dog on Third Street in Tracy City.

In the video, you can see the dog's backbone and rib cage.

“When you can count the vertebrae on this pups back that is starved to death, and it belongs to somebody for sure,” said Shrum.

Shrum says pet owners are required to provide food, water, and shelter for the animal. If someone can't do that, then put it up for adoption.

The sheriff says because the county does not have a pound, pet owners need to be held accountable.

“We have to depend on our neighbors and family,” said Shrum. “We have to depend on out of county resources for help, and sometimes that can take days.”

Typically, Grundy County sees many stray animals, and now it is seeing more abuse.

If you abuse or neglect an animal, Shrum says his deputies will arrest you and then you can answer to a judge.

“It's a class A misdemeanor on the first offense,” said Shrum. “On the second offense, it's a class E felony. The punishment is up to 11 months and 29 days in jail, and a $2500 fine.”

Shrum is also calling on the help of community members to be an advocate for these animals.

He hopes to be able to provide more services for the county.

“I don't know anything about animal grants for housing animals, but somebody does,” said Shrum. “It's going to take somebody with a heart, and someone who is committed.”

The dog in this video is in Tracy City and is available for adoption.

If you would like to adopt the dog or help Sheriff Shrum with his efforts to get animal services in Grundy County, call the Sheriff's Office.