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Memphis Animal Shelter Reality Check

Things are looking up for the Memphis Animal Shelter according to an article in The Commercial Appeal this week:  A new $7.6 million facility is being built, employees are happy, the monthly kill rate is down and adoptions are up.

While that all sounds good, the article fails to cite any numbers so it’s hard to gauge how many more pets are actually being saved at the shelter.  Furthermore, ACOs were about 800 calls behind on roaming dogs, homeless pets and cruelty/neglect cases at the time Matthew Pepper stepped in as director in February.  Today, they are still 800 calls behind.  And the director needs to fill nine vacant positions including the veterinary medical director for the shelter.

The unemployment rate in Memphis is more than 10% which makes me wonder why the shelter has nine vacancies, including a key veterinary position.   I also can’t help wondering, with no hard numbers to examine, what the actual save rate would be at the shelter if they had a full staff and were responding to community calls to help pets in need.  How many pets have died in the community due to Memphis ACOs’ failure to respond to calls?  We have no way of knowing but clearly those numbers are not being counted in the current data.

I really want Memphis to succeed and I am happy to hear that things are improving at the shelter.  But in order to overcome my skepticism based on their past performance, I need to see something more than “everybody’s happy”.

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