Lil Bit Needlessly Killed at Memphis Animal Shelter

The Memphis Animal Shelter has a history of killing dogs who have been adopted by mistake.  When they did it in December 2009 it was a “goof up” and that was shortly after they had killed another adopted dog (that one was “sloppy“).  The latest killing however, was intentional:

A woman claims the Memphis Animal Shelter euthanized the dog she wanted to adopt because it had nasal congestion.

The adopter, Ann Mitchell, went to the shelter after seeing a picture of the dog, called Lil Bit, and wanted to adopt her.  The shelter told her the dog had to be killed but she could still visit with Lil Bit if she wanted.

“I said, ‘When I turn this dog loose, how long will it be before she’s dead?’  [A female shelter staffer] said, ‘probably within five minutes,'” Mitchell said.

Ms. Mitchell wanted to adopt Lil Bit so much she literally begged for the dog’s life.  She offered to sign a release that would hold the shelter blameless if Lil Bit’s nasal congestion worsened or even if she died.   But the shelter vet refused.

MAS issued a statement to the news station with regard to the story.  You can read it for yourself at the link but it basically says we didn’t know if Lil Bit had a mild case of nasal congestion or some deadly disease and we can’t afford to treat pets at our shelter, nor can we isolate sick pets so we have to kill any animal with the sniffles.

The shelter vet also issued a statement (CYA much?) and ramps up the drama saying Lil Bit could have had distemper since we recently had an adopted dog diagnosed with distemper.  So we just have to kill all dogs with the sniffles.

The key issues for me here are:

  • Per both shelter statements, it was unknown if Lil Bit had anything more than a cough.
  • Lil Bit’s adopter was willing to remove her from the shelter so the other shelter dogs would not have been at risk.  MAS may not be able to isolate sick pets or provide veterinary treatment, but Lil Bit’s adopter could have.

How many pets at MAS are lucky enough to have adopters begging for their lives?  Sadly, not all of them.  Lil Bit was one of the lucky ones.  Or should have been.  But Memphis Animal Shelter killed her instead.

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8 Comments

  1. Exact same thing in my community, except cats, a bunch of cats.

    The allegation: Shelter arranged removal of cats from a hoarder. Two vets on site, one in charge. The other vet is a rescuer. The rescuer vet had lined up homes for 25, is a licensed, practicing vet, and they would not let her take 25. These cats [would have] already had homes and a vet who wanted to treat them. Some of them may have allegedly had sniffles, who knows.

    I am so glad the rescuer vet spoke up and wrote about it. The shelter uses a lot of no kill language, opposes BSL, fosters, etc. Will not return my call or letter.

    http://vetrescue.blogspot.com/2010/08/cutting-through-red-tape.html

    What kind of person kills friendly animals out of pure choice?

    Reply
  2. Wow. There’s blackmail (“Buy this magazine or we’ll kill this dog.”) and then there’s sadism (“Buy this magazine and we’ll STILL kill this dog.”)

    If the dog was really sick, WTF were they doing letting a member of the public go in and snuggle with her, period?

    If one was not a sadist, one might tell a “member of the public” who shows up with a picture of Typhoid Fluffy from Petfinder, “Oh, Lil Bit was just adopted.” One would be a liar but not a sadist.

    Reply
    • That’s the part that turned my stomach, apart from the unnecessary killing: We’re going to kill her, but since you drove all the way over here, you can take her out for walkies if ya want.
      And then, when asking how long the dog had left to live, the adopter says a staffer told her “5 minutes”. Geez, don’t sugar coat it, just give it to me straight. Any shelter insistent on needlessly killing dogs could AT LEAST say something like “Don’t worry, she’ll be surrounded by caring hands and blah blah”.
      I wonder how soon that lady will be browsing the MAS pet listings again, looking for a friend. Probably never. But it’s the public’s fault that MAS has to kill pets because there aren’t enough homes… *facepalm*

      Reply
  3. Seventeen years ago, a local cat shelter was delighted to have me adopt, with full disclosure of what they’d been able to do so far, a four-month-old kitten who had daily diarrhea and weighed one and a half pounds.

    I had to convince them that I both could and would put the effort in to try to find out what was wrong, and that I had the means to isolate her temporarily from my two healthy cats. but they were thrilled that she had a home to go to where she’d get the best chance possible.

    Turned out to be little more than that she needed a limited diet, but that was never going to be identified in a shelter setting where they of necessity fed whatever was donated or was cheapest to buy. Once I figured out the problem and what she could eat, she grew and thrived and up until two years ago, the vets would make jokes about my having a picture of Dorian Kitty in my attic, she was so healthy and vigorous. She died this past winter, her kidneys having failed her and cancer having attacked her liver. But she had a great life, because the shelter she came from wanted her to have a home and a life if possible.

    That’s what shelters should be–not places where animals are killed for sniffles of unknown cause.

    Reply
  4. I love too that they have a shelter vet but can’t afford to treat sick pets. So apparently the taxpayers of Memphis pay the MAS shelter vet to break ladies’ hearts who see a cute goggie picture online & come in begging to be allowed to adopt. Good use of vet school.

    Reply
  5. So depravity is a *job qualification* in our animal “sheltering” system. Who knew?

    Reply
  6. mikken

     /  September 9, 2010

    So, we’ve had “goof up” and “sloppy”, what will be the adjective for this one, do you think?

    Apparently, the vet is only there to put animals down – nothing more. I wonder what kind of salary you get for that with your VMD?

    Reply
  7. If they do it to animals, they want to do it to humans.

    Reply

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