The Memphis Animal Shelter raided by law enforcement this week has been returned to the city’s control. Whistleblowers have reportedly been complaining about cruelty at the shelter for a long time:
Cindy Marx-Sanders, who was appointed to the shelter’s advisory board by then-Mayor Pro Tem Myron Lowery, spent a year before her appointment and the two months after telling shelter administrator Ernie Alexander and his director about problems at the shelter located at 3456 Tchulahoma.
“Nothing was ever done,” Marx-Sanders said. “I’ve brought in complaints, numerous complaints with specific employees, cage numbers; everything they needed, and still nothing was done.”
She wasn’t the only one complaining. Volunteers and other citizens have called and written City Hall about problems at the shelter for years. One of the tips led to the search warrant executed Tuesday by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office to investigate charges of animal abuse and cruelty, something the shelter is supposed to police for the city. [emphasis added]
That’s about the crux of it. The people paid to provide care for pets in need and prevent cruelty in the community are cashing their paychecks while abusing animals themselves. Shelter pets are a special brand of vulnerability – they have no chance, no choice and no hope beyond what their caretakers give them. And when those caretakers are abusers, shelter pets have no owner, no neighbor, no good Samaritan or Vet to speak for them. They are pets who must rely completely on the mercy of shelter staff which is why it’s so tragic when the shelter fails them.
193 dogs and cats fell over dead in their cages at the Memphis Animal Shelter in 2008. Who will stand up for them so that the abuse is ended and the shelter reformed? I will be watching with interest.