In 2009 the story of abuse occuring at the Memphis Animal Shelter made national coverage as the shelter was raided and discovered dogs starved to death. This from the very people who were supposed to be ENFORCING the animal abuse laws. They fired the director of MAS and hired Matthew Pepper in his place to fix the problems. Pepper installed webcams so the public could watch what was going on at the shelter.
Webcams to watch:
And for the loyal watchers of the webcams it turns out, it isn't much better for how the animals are treated. Animals still die under thier watch (and I don't mean put to sleep). They say the adoption rate has gone up, though when the math is done the kill rate is still at 77%. The workers still manhandle the animals, and have been seen taking whole litters of puppies to the kill room without ever giving them a chance to find a home by posting them online. The workers do not attempt to even find homes for the majority. No calling of rescues or foster homes. More horrors can be found on this blog run by Shirley Thistlethwaite:
And even with the live webcams recording how workers treat these animals, Memphis refuses to change. They believe not enough people care. So the goal is to get the word out to as many people as possible and prove to them that people all over are watching, and they are horrified by the way animals in a shelter are treated.
If you are in the Memphis area please make an attempt to attend the monthly public meeting for the City of Memphis' Animal Services Advisory Board. The more people, the more they realize people are determined to help these animals. All meetings are held on Wednesday evenings at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library located at 3030 Poplar Avenue, 38111 in meeting room A from 6:00 PM until 8:00 PM.
Info on meeting dates:
I gave the deadline a year. Let's hope change comes alot sooner then that.
Write your own letter (all information below relates to that).
Join the letter writing campaign (http://yesbiscuit.wordpress.com/memphis-animal-services-links/):
"No matter where you live, you can make your concerns about the shelter known to the following individuals:
Mayor Wharton: firstname.lastname@example.org
Janet Hooks, Director, Public Services and Neighborhoods: email@example.com
Matthew Pepper, Director, Memphis Animal Services: firstname.lastname@example.org
MAS Board: MASBoard@memphistn.gov
Bill Boyd Bill.Boyd@memphistn.gov
Bill Morrison email@example.com
Myron Lowery Myron.Lowery@memphistn.gov
Janis Fullilove firstname.lastname@example.org
Barbara Swearengen Ware email@example.com
Harold Collins firstname.lastname@example.org
Wanda Halbert email@example.com
Joe Brown Joe.Brown@memphistn.gov
Shea Flinn firstname.lastname@example.org
Kemp Conrad Kemp.Conrad@memphistn.gov
Edmund Ford Jr. email@example.com
Reid Hedgepeth firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Strickland Jim.Strickland@memphistn.gov
A copy/paste collection of the e-mail addresses:
email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com , MASBoard@memphistn.gov , Bill.Boyd@memphistn.gov , firstname.lastname@example.org , Myron.Lowery@memphistn.gov , email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org , Joe.Brown@memphistn.gov , email@example.com , Kemp.Conrad@memphistn.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com, Jim.Strickland@memphistn.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org ,
email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Keep your letters succinct and respectful. Let the city leaders know that people from all over are condemning what is going on at MAS and refuse to spend their vacation dollars in a city which tries to sweep cruelty under the rug. Remind them there is a viable alternative: make Memphis a no kill community. Include a link to this primer on no kill.
Please use your voice to speak for all the pets at MAS – living and dead. If you’ve already written – thank you. If you have more to say to city leaders – write again. Let them know we are still watching and still horrified. Share this info with the many caring pet owners you know so that they can write letters too. If you need bullet points for possible items to include in a letter, here you go:
Summary of Concerns at Memphis Animal Services
The killing of pets who are not medically hopeless and suffering nor have they been declared a danger to society by a qualified party.
The killing of pets when there are empty cages at the shelter.
The killing of pets who have never been made available to the public for adoption, rescue or foster.
The killing of pets due to disease outbreak without ever making a public plea for help with quarantine to save lives.
Failure of the shelter to vaccinate all incoming pets as per standard disease prevention protocol.
Failure of the shelter to remove dogs and food from cages during cleaning as per standard disease prevention protocol.
Failure of the shelter to utilize their Chameleon software to interface with PetHarbor so that every pet is viewable online by the public.
Failure of the shelter to properly train and/or enforce humane handling of pets by the staff.
Failure of the shelter to implement a TNR program so that the number of feral cats in the community can be reduced over time.
Failure of the shelter to keep cats separated from the sight, sound and smell of dogs in order to reduce stress and make the population less susceptible to disease.
Failure of the shelter to provide daily aerobic exercise for dogs for social stimulation and in order to reduce stress and make the population less susceptible to disease."
It kills pets who are not medically hopeless and suffering or been declared a danger to society by a qualified party. Such as the amount of bully breeds put to sleep for no reason other then their breed. Animals who are sick do not need to be killed to prevent spreading. A plea to the public for foster homes will find them somewhere to get better while they await adoption. The public is not as irresponsible as some tend to believe. Bartlett Animal Shelter was in danger of flooding and they sent a plea that ALL animals had to be out by the end of a week. EVERY animal found a foster home. The same could be done for illnesses, and fosters can also pay for medical treatments in some cases when lack of money is a problem. This is not a reason to murder.
Not only does MAS not give animals a chance with diseases to find a home by making a plea to the public, they basically ask for diseases to happen and spread by: failing to vaccinate all incoming pets as per standard disease prevention protocol, failing to remove dogs and food from cages during cleaning as per standard disease prevention protocol, failing to keep cats separated from the sight, sound and smell of dogs in order to reduce stress and make the population less susceptible to disease, and failing to provide daily aerobic exercise for dogs for social stimulation and in order to reduce stress and make the population less susceptible to disease.
No dog, cat, etc should ever be put to sleep as long as there are cages available. Killing animals to make room for animals who may or may not come in is unacceptable. Killing those animals before room is ABSOLUTELY needed gives them less time at finding a home, and sparing death. By killing when there is room the kill-rate obviously is going to rise. Not lower. And a high kill-rate is not something to brag about.
More cats could additionally be spared from a sad unneeded death by taking up a "trap, neuter, and release" program. Feral cats obviously cannot be adopted out into the public, nor do they want to be. But that doesn't mean they need to be killed. They just need to be fixed so that more ferals are not produced. Over time the feral population will decrease on its own. As of now by just putting to sleep feral cats, it does nothing to stop the population from growing as long as other reproductive feral cats are still alive. Feral cats can manage to survive on their own and are happier to do that then to die at the hands of someone they fear. And most times, people are willing to feed them as well. By fixing feral cats so they can no longer reproduce, but releasing them back from where they came it WILL diminish the population. AND the added bonus comes up of not having a high kill rate. The money from not euthanizing so many pets and disposing of their bodies can be spent on somehing proactive like this instead.
The killing of pets who have never been made available to the public for adoption, rescue or foster is unfair and wrong. It doesn't give every animal a chance, and destins animals to die who could have been spared if employees had only taken the time. It does not take money to take a picture of an animal and put it on Petfinder. Send it to a rescue who could probably take the animal from the shelter and make room for more pets to come into MAS without killing others, or give potential fosters a chance to realize "hey I could save this dog/cat from death by fostering" if a dog/cat is never made available to the public. MAS also fails to utilize their Chameleon software to interface with PetHarbor so that every pet is viewable online by the public.
As the death rate continues to stay the same the saddest part is at MAS's failure to properly train and/or enforce humane handling of pets by the staff. Cats and puppies are captured ON WEB CAM being picked up by their scruffs and fronts legs. These animals who are basically sentenced to death never experience a moment of kindness at the hands of the employees, and instead their last moments are spent fearing the people meant to shelter them. At the very least find someone who knows how to handle an animal correctly. With an unemployment rate as high as it is, I'm sure some new employees could be found willing to work with animals every day, and in the correct manner. Who knows maybe even for less pay? So more can be spent on the animals.
The Enraged Public