Though legal, dead animals in county dump scare some

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Photo from Cody Beard | Facebook

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An image of three dead horses laying in a Shelby County landfill left some people on social media angry, but as it turns out, it’s perfectly legal.

The photo was taken by Cody Beard, who said he was at the North Shelby Landfill last week for work when he saw the three deceased animals: a calf, an adult male and an adult female. He decided to post the photo on Facebook, and the comments became filled with people disgusted with the photo.

“I was upset,” Beard said. “I didn’t think it was legal to dump livestock at the dump like that.”

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Even though the photo may have disgusted some online commenters, a representative from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture said it is perfectly legal to do.

The North Shelby Landfill is a Class 1 landfill, and residents may dump their dead livestock in Class 1 landfills. Class 2 and 3 landfills need written approval for dumping, according to Will Freeman of the Department of Agriculture.

Farmers are also allowed to bury dead livestock on their farms, Freeman said, but there are some stipulations, as listed below.

  • More than 300 feet from any well head,
  • More than 165 feet from a property line or public use area,
  • More than 100 feet from waters of the state or a wet weather conveyance,
  • More than 2 feet above bedrock and the ground water table.

The North Shelby Landfill is managed by Republic Services, Inc. A spokesperson said they were aware of the situation with the horses, and they know it is legal.

All the Class 1 landfills in Tennessee are plotted in the map below. Shelby County has one other Class 1 landfill: the South Shelby Landfill at 5494 Malone Road.

30: South Shelby Landfill. 31: North Shelby Landfill

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