Another Mass Dog Killing in Memphis

While Memphis Animal Services killed all the dogs on the adoption floor and all the puppies at the shelter on Saturday due to the spread of distemper, they are reportedly killing a large number of strays today:

Some of them would have been euthanized anyway, either because of aggressive behavior or other illness.

But now, even those that would have escaped that fate and eventually been moved to the adoption area will likely be put to sleep.

“All it takes is one dog, and everyone is sick,” said Matt Pepper, head of Memphis Animal Services. “When you take quick action like this, you hope to prevent a bigger problem.”

As many as 100 dogs might be killed today, in addition to the estimated 40 – 50 killed on Saturday.

These shelter webcam snapshots from this morning are offered without comment because at the moment, I am disgusted and incapable of much commentary beyond a string of words that would make a sailor blush.

68 thoughts on “Another Mass Dog Killing in Memphis

  1. “All it takes is one dog, and everyone is sick,” said Matt Pepper, head of Memphis Animal Services. “When you take quick action like this, you hope to prevent a bigger problem.”

    Who are you talking about? Had you taken the proper measures in the first place this wouldn’t be happening. There is no quick action involved here. Just a very sad sad outcome to a neglectful and sorry excuse for “shelter”.

  2. Which EVERYONE would that be, Pepper, since you KILLED them all>?>???????? I suggest a day of rage at Memphis! This needs to get onto the evening news. Aren’t they breaking SOME kind of hold law by doing this?????

  3. Yeah, those dogs look like a real threat to society what with their walking next to people calmly.

    Disgusting. Upper management needs to be replaced, post-haste.


    1. That’s how I feel too db. Can’t somebody with the authority to do it just walk in there and call out “HALT!”? MAS needs to step back and think this through. Just look at how the rescue community has rallied to pull hundreds of dogs at Miami-Dade in recent days due to distemper. Mass killing was avoided because the shelter responded to the public outcry and allowed people to help. I’m sure there are people in TN who could help get at least SOME of these dogs into responsible quarantine. Why does MAS keep tooting the “Killing is the solution” horn?

      And btw, per the webcams, it appears as if they are STILL ACCEPTING INCOMING DOGS. Hullo!

      1. holy shit, what?!
        i mean when we had our outbreak- we didn’t take a single cat for a whole month. We spent a month cleaning the shelter. Why the hell would you continue to take dogs if your shelter is contaminated?

      2. AFAIK, they have never stopped accepting dogs – not after the first wave of killing and not after the second wave. I am so not ready for round 3.

  4. I will TRY to keep this as “family friendly” as possible…but right now I am sick. I want to throw up and do possible damage to Mr. Pepper with a heartstick!!! Where the f are Mr. Pepper’s staunch supporters now?!?!? Where is everyone telling us what a ‘great job’ Pepper is doing at this shelter? What no friggin rally cry for the support of Pepper? That jackass needs to be fired! What about the animals that have been taken in since the outbreak? People’s missing pets? Have they been given a chance to reclaim their lost loved ones or is it just that MAS is in the killing mood and to hell with everything else?

    I apologize in advance Shirley, because I know you want us to keep this family friendly but this sick SOB has known for MONTHS that this has been an on going problem and has done NOTHING to remedy the situation beside KILLING ALL the animals!!! So now he steps up and admits there is a problem and only a “quick response” and stop the outbreak. He’s a MURDERER! He doesn’t deserve to run an animal shelter – let alone to own a pet. Now is the time to circulate a petition to force the resignation of Matthew Pepper from running MAS!!! Put his ass back in his dog suit, stick him in a damn kennnel to get hit with the spray of the high pressure hose (which also soaks their food) and leave him there for a few days – then tie a rope around his neck and drag him to the kill room and inject his ass with some blue juice. Let’s see how he feels about it and maybe then he’ll start thinking about the animals…oh wait, he’ll be dead so it won’t matter.

    ““All it takes is one dog, and everyone is sick,” said Matt Pepper, head of Memphis Animal Services. “When you take quick action like this, you hope to prevent a bigger problem.”

    So has he realized YET that his cleaning protocols and failure to vaccinate ALL play a major part in this ‘problem’? Or are we (but that I mean – HE) still blaming the public for failure to vaccinate? When is this jackk@$$ going to wake up and realize that HE is the problem with this shelter?!?!?!

    For all this staunch supporters that say what a “good job” he has been doing since taking over the shelter – DO YOU GET IT NOW? Do YOU see that the problem doesn’t lie with the ‘irresponsible’ public? Do YOU see that this shelter needs a BIG change NOW? Not later, not ‘another’ chance to kill animals! Matthew Pepper can shove it where the sun don’t shine. It’s time to replace his sorry ass with someone who can do the job and do it RIGHT!

    Do we have access to shelter info – such as how much money Pepper is making for his “job”? He went from explaining away the killing by saying that they face overcrowding…yet I constantly see empty kennels. He got heat from that so now it’s a distemper outbreak that is causing the killings to continue…what will the next excuse be?

    Memphis…it’s time to wake up. Stop defending this joke of a shelter director and DEMAND he resign. Find someone who’s worth a shit and put them in charge. You want to see kill rates decline drastically? Find someone who supports the No Kill Equation and put them in Pepper’s place because he is NOT doing a good job…and dog forbid if you actually defend this guy – puts you on the same level as this psychopath! If the employyees and volunteers think he’s doing such a “great” job – it sure as hell doesn’t show…especially lately! The only thing Peppper does a great job at is killing animals. Do we know if this guy has any mental health issues? Because right about now I put him on the same level as those wackos like Vick who think it fun to kill dogs for the hell of it.

    This shelter…correction – Pepper is making me sick to my stomach. I don’t see how ANYONE can continue to support Pepper and talk about what a great job he’s done in ‘turning’ this shelter around. New stats for 2010 – kill rate 100%. Even PETA can do a better job…and we all know how much I love PETA. But at least with PETA 3% of those animals would have survived.

    Are they testing ANY of the animals prior to killing them? Or have they just decided to go off the deep end and not bother wasting money on testing and just decided that it would be cheaper, quicker, and easier to kill them all and start from scratch. The animals would’ve been better off with a hoarder than placed in MAS!

    This is unexcusable and disgusting. As always Shirley – thanks for updating us on the situation. So where is that petition to have Pepper resign??? I’d like to sign it and then some…

    1. No apologies needed Erica. We all must blow off steam from time to time to keep ourselves from boiling over. To my mind, curse words are better than taking a golf club to your SUV (unless you are married to Tiger Woods perhaps).

      1. You go girl!!!! speak your peace i so agree with you… I live in PA and I am sickened over what a lot of the southern states do in there shelters…All of the U.S. some how needs to b made aware of usage of heartstick and gas chambers…along with mass killings like this. I myself never new that those things exsisted until i lost my lab of 13 yr’s to cancer and started searching where we adopted a little pitty mix that was in foster care. She was originally rescued from a kill shelter in N.C. As i continue to learn more about the HIGH KILL shelters and these gas chamber’s I have become so involved in trying to help foster and find homes upstate for the dogs we can get rescued from the south. I myself now have 4 dogs all rescues, they are the most loving dogs because they finally feel safe and loved… any way i can help I will be glad to do so.. please let me know what can be done w this pepper guy, personally i like your ideas
        LeeAnn from PA

  5. Quick action should be on prevention measures!

    How do shelters get away from the hold time law when they scream disease?

    So at any shelter at any time if they feel they have pets with a spreadable disease they can just kill them all?

    So sad.

    1. it sounds like they are being euthanized after the holding period
      i know that vets can authorize euthanasia prior to a hold period being up if an animal is iredeemably suffering (at least where i live)

      1. Sorry, Anne, but I think we need to start naming it for what it is – this is NOT euthanasia, it is KILLING! These are animals who did not deserve to die simply because they had the bad luck to end up in this facility. These people are KILLING animals – pure and simple!

      2. semantics will not change the outcome.
        And i would argue that those dogs that actually have the disease fit the definition of ‘euthanasia’

  6. Hello all. I am a Memphis animal lover and I am horrified at what is going on at MAS. I just watched some girl in the lobby turn in the cutest yellow dog that will be dragged off to god knows where to be killed. I just don’t understand this mentality. Our “shelter” has been a killing field forever. I swear to god they have killed every single dog at that shelter today. Nobody knows how to stop it. Even the “isolation” area is empty.

    Matthew Pepper does not return phone calls and is apparently not interested in alternate methods to help save the lives of the animals at MAS. FOMAS on FB are wonderful volunteers but unfortunately they don’t have any power over decisions made by the shelter.

    Pepper is being interviewed on camera at the shelter right now. You can see it on their webcams.

    Sorry this is a repeat but I posted in the wrong area.

  7. They have to realize that many of the dogs in the shelter have probably been vaccinated at some point and are likely to have immunity……..

    1. They treat all the dogs there as if they have never been vaccinated. Sadly….a lot of them probably haven’t been. Memphis is a very strange city. You have people that wouldn’t dream of not having their dogs and cats properly vetted and then you have a large group that either doesn’t know, doesn’t care or can’t afford it.

  8. The Memphis rescue groups are so full they are bursting at the seams. I’m not saying they wouldn’t take in more dogs but I know they are all usually full. I have fostered for one for several years and they are always jam packed. I just don’t understand why MAS wouldn’t have come to the community before this happened. I am sure we would have had help from all over. There was no need for this mass killing. I am heartbroken. I am also the proud owner of a dog that was at MAS and he couldn’t be more loyal, loving or wonderful. He’s given me 7 years of unconditional love.

    If you want to see the mentality of some of the citizens in Memphis about companion animals take a visit to the articles the Banana Appeal has on the shelter situation. Read the comments.

  9. The Friends of Memphis AS Facebook page is all pie and candy today. The postings there say that the dogs were being removed in order to be placed in outdoor runs while the place was cleaned and that rescues came and took a “substantial number” of dogs. Not one word about the mass killing as stated in the Commercial Appeal article.

    Did the shelter have a last minute change in plans and decide to change their cleaning protocols and reach out to rescues in lieu of the killing talked about in the article?

    Anyone know any additional info?

    1. Rescues have taken some of the strays…but…the killing went as planned. Was just told by a volunteer…by this weekend MAS will have a whole new population.

      1. I’m sorry to sound pissy here Ethel, especially as I hate to come across as rude to new commenters (I usually wait at least a few comments!), but WTF? The Commercial Appeal article says up to 100 strays were to be killed today. On the Friends of the shelter FB page, there is NOT ONE WORD of a single dog being killed today. Not one word. It’s all “Yay – rescue groups saved a whole bunch” (but they don’t say which rescues or how many dogs) and “The dogs being taken away were taken to the outside kennels”. There are outside kennels? Something is not right here. Very. I’m not angry with you Ethel, just flabbergasted at all this asshattery. As far as a new population goes – and again, I’m not directing this at you personally, they will have a whole new population of dogs they didn’t vaccinate upon intake and then sprayed urine and feces on with a pressure hose. Criminy.

      2. Be pissy…we all should be.
        I am just sorry if I came off as defending their actions. I know EXACTLY what goes on at the shelter and not from gossip.
        What I was saying was meant to sound sarcastic…
        “whole new population” What do they think that the animals are like garbage…whole new population.

        And yes, there are outside kennels. Not many though and they would not go through that doorway, they would use the one to the left.

    1. If the shelter has a bunch of empty, outdoor kennels – why don’t they put dogs out in them every day during cleaning? Why didn’t they use these outdoor kennels as a makeshift isolation area that they kept saying they didn’t have so HAD TO kill to stop the spread of distemper? What the hell is going on at this place?

  10. Looks like several rescue groups have come in to the shelter to get dogs out of there. Others are in outdoor runs.

      1. I wasn’t given that information. I was just reading what FOMAS had on FB about rescue groups.

      1. If anyone in TN wants to file a request for the shelter’s Chameleon records for the past week under the TN open records act, I think we could get a lot of questions answered.

  11. You people are idiots. In order to be an “open door” shelter, all dogs and cats have to be allowed in, and there is no way to tell at admission whether they have been vaccinated, are sick, or have any other behavioral or health issues. Having an “open door” policy prevents hundreds of animals from being left on the street to freeze, starve or worse, or being drowned in the river or thrown out with the trash (anyone kept up with national news lately?).

    If one stupid and cruel pet owner fails to vaccinate his pet, that pet could get distemper, which doesn’t exhibit immediate symptoms. If that same stupid owner decides he is tired of his dog, or “upgrades” and dumps the dog at the shelter (which is better than letting it starve or freeze) then the shelter will take in that dog and begin working on vet care, etc. However – if the dog has distemper, he could infect other dogs, REGARDLESS of the preventions taken by the staff at MAS. Mr. Pepper and the rest of the staff and volunteers are doing a GREAT job running the shelter (see previous staff, that purposefully starved the dogs, while Pepper and his staff have increased adoptions and donations tenfold, and everything at the shelter is now openly displayed to the public). All of you people freaking out and complaining about the shelter and its staff need to get off your lazy rumps and go down there and volunteer. Better yet, donate $ so that more people will spay/neuter and vaccinate their pets. It’s the heartless owners who fail to provide proper vet care to their pets (which includes at $10 distember vaccination) who are responsible for this. I wish they would find the individual who dropped off their sick dog and file criminal charges against them. I bet if that happened the public would think twice next time before deciding not to get their dogs shots.

    Mr. Pepper is doing any outstanding job. Try to support MAS and the staff and volunteers, rather than lumping blame where it doesn’t belong. They are as heartbroken about this as everyone else, and if you don’t believe it, go down there and check it out for yourselves. And NO, it is NOT the government’s responsibility to ensure a healthy and safe pet population. It is anyone who chooses to own a pet – they need to take personal responsibility, and the community should hold them responsible if they don’t.

  12. Just spoke with a FMAS volunteer…”NOW” the rescue groups are being allowed to take dogs, unneutered strays. I asked why they did not allow that Saturday for the other adoptable dogs and was told those were too sick.
    Then I asked why they took the adoptable dogs to an adoption event on Saturday, unloaded and then after 30 minutes recalled them to the shelter. Oh they discovered “AFTER” they were gone that they were sick.

    She also said that MAS would be adopting out dogs at the Agricenter THIS weekend.
    I questioned this and she stated…well, now we have a whole new population.

  13. According to the layout of the shelter and position of the camera, those dogs are going to the euthanasia room…NOT to rescues. That is done through the front door, not the back which is where the ER is located.

  14. I was there today to see about a dachshund and there were several dogs being released to rescues today, myself included. The picture above that shows dogs going down the corridor were indeed going out to the outside kennels. They use these kennels when the cages are being cleaned in the stray area.

    1. Not that I have ever seen on the webcams. What I have seen, many times, is dogs not being removed from the kennels during cleaning. Now I don’t watch the webcams every day mind you but I have never seen dogs being removed from the stray (or any other) area during cleaning.

      1. they are never removed for cleaning- the workers love spraying them with urine and fece-water…..Pepper admits it’s not the “best practice.”….

  15. This is nothing but bulls#%t! Not only are they killing most all of their animals, but they are doing these things on webcam. Are they stupid or arrogant or what?
    Again, what will it take to stop the killing?

  16. I am disgusted!!! The MAS is supposed to be a shelter not death row! There are so many of us out here that would be more than willing to donate our time to help sanitize and steralize in order to save all of those innocent lives!!! MAS NEVER asks for help, they just see it easier to kill!!! Shame on all who are and were involved in this including Mr. Pepper!!! He killed my brothers Rotweiler a few months ago and now all of these other puppies! There is a special chair in Hell…..being held open just for him!!!!!!!

    1. Trey is a good guy and his dog should not have been made to be neutered at MAS. That went against the running at large and s/n law. MAS is supposed to just issue a citation and let the judge deal with it.

    2. THAT was YOUR brother’s dog? Oh my…please send him my condolenscences. I was very sadden when I read about it, and angry to be honest. That was one of the first times that MAS was brought to my attention. I felt horrible for your brother, such an awful way to lose a cherished pet. Since that time it seems that everywhere I look I see something bad about MAS now. So very sorry for his loss.

  17. So, let me get this straight – all of the sudden “rescue groups” have come to take the dogs away from MAS (saving them?) – yet, there was not ANY posting ANYWHERE that they were enlisting the help of said rescue groups?!I think this is total bull-crap! Normally, Jeanne Chancellor takes pictures and posts dogs with their adoptive parents- but not ONE picture has been posted of any dogs leaving that facility today… You would think MAS would have contacted the media over such an “adoption ” event, in lieu of the fact they just killed massive amount of dogs……Just one more lie!! MAS is a true embarrassment!

    1. The only quotes to the media I’ve seen from the shelter have been about why they “had to” kill the dogs. I didn’t see anything about “C’mon down and adopt a dog into quarantine in order to save a life”. I am skeptical at this point myself. Hoping for some first hand information to emerge.

      1. And you won’t because they will not do that. We could barely get them to allow rescue groups to take sick animals to get them proper vet care instead of just having them put down. That Vet is a disaster.

      2. I think this lies more with a city administration that does not care about animals than the vet. Know for a fact, the city administrators had to approve this mass killing.

      3. The vet, though, is licensed and has to take an oath . . . guess that doesn’t mean a thing, though.
        These people are hell bent in killing and seem to be using any possible excuse to do just that.
        Tennessee/Memphis is off my list for vacationing now.

  18. While doing a search of a link on an earlier blog entry I found this VERY interesting article about a serum that can CURE distemper…..check it out….this can be prevented even after the dogs have contracted it!

    1. I doubt any shelter or vet clinic would be willing to use a ‘serum’ that has not been approved for use by the AVMA.
      I understand it’s only fatal 50% of the time

      1. i should clarify that i understand canine distemper is only fatal 50% of the time (not the serum)

      2. Being a pet at Memphis AS is fatal 77% of the time so I guess I’d rather take my chances with hard pad if I had to choose…

      3. Yeah, Shirley, that was kind of MY thought as well. I mean, shit why not at least TRY it before definitely sentencing them to death? Curious as to cost and all that because I didn’t see anything about it…but, hell if it is reasonable enough I say give it a chance, or at least give PEOPLE a chance to say “Hey we want to pay for you to try this first.” I think the dogs deserved a chance…not what they got though is it?

  19. You have to wonder…why is FOMAS sticking up for MAS? Something VERY stinky is going on here…and it’s not the cat litter sitting next to my PC! Why in the hell is FOMAS sticking up for MAS KILLING all those dogs? Have they been threatened with removal from ‘helping’ save lives IF they speak out? This just doesn’t feel right….

    1. FMAS sticks up for the shelter now that Pepper is there IN EVERY single case.

      Many of the things that the previous director did are happening now and they don’t say one word.

      If you notice…if anyone even hints that MAS is not doing something correctly…they attack and I mean attack.

      FMAS has quite a bit of power at MAS…Matt Pepper seems more like their volunteer instead of the other way around.

      1. Forgive me if I sound crappy/sarcastic/etc but it sounds as if the thought is that FOMAS is using Pepper like a puppet to do their bidding….so what EXACTLY is FOMAS?!?!?! Is it the ‘volunteer’ group that helps at the shelter? I had thought that they took great pride in trying to find homes for the animals.

        Although, personal I found some of the things on their website as tacky – like “Don’t litter – Fix your critter!” And the quote that they have “Saving one pet won’t change the world, but surely, the world will change for that one pet. Author Unknown” kinda struck me as odd – almost as if they save one life they have done their job and to hell with the rest of ’em. I know (hope) that is not what is meant by it, but given the situation it’s almost like a quote to keep them from feeling guilty for the killing that is done to the animals at MAS.

  20. Just posting a call for anyone with first hand info:

    Which rescue groups pulled dogs today?

    How many dogs were pulled?

    How many dogs were killed?

    NOTE: This blog accepts anonymous comments so you don’t have to worry about your name being attached to your comment. Just write your name as Anonymous or whatever. I just want the facts.


  22. That’s DISGUSTING, DISGRACEFUL AND HEARTBREAKING. It nauseats me to think the scumb that did the horrible thing are fellow humans, although I use that term VERY LOOSELY >:{

  23. So sad! The photo that gets me is the second to last. Look at the way she is carrying that dog holding the head, as if he/she knows its fate and was trying to fight back! Brings tears to my eyes!

  24. I sent an email to Nathan Winograd – don’t know what he can do, but I thought it was worth a try.

  25. There are things happening at the shelter that are unacceptable.

    Until Matt Pepper took over, ALL the animals except for the very ill/injured/aggressive were available for adoption. Within months he changed the policy to have only animals hand selected available for adoption. The “strays” are kept behind closed and locked doors not to be viewed by the public unless someone is looking for a lost dog. 300+ euthanized because they are not selected for adoption. 30-40 selected for adoption.

    FMAS supports this policy change.

    They do a great volunteer job of helping animals to be adopted but it should be about ALL the animals not just 30-40 out of 400.

    1. Ok, now I am completely confused. I ‘thought’ the kill rate went DOWN when Pepper took over? It sounds like that is not the case… How in the hell could ANYONE hand pick which animals to save and which to kill? How could that person sleep at night? But, that also shed a light on the lack of caring in the cleaning protocols and failure to vaccinate…they are the “unchosen” sentenced to die anyways so why bother doing right by them? Dear Lord…WHY is Pepper at MAS?!?!? Why in the HELL is FOMAS “ok” with such a decision?

      Ethel – I thank YOU for sharing all the information with us that you have. Some of this stuff we would have no clue about, if not for you coming forward. Thank you. Now that there is a No Kill Memphis FB page – when are we going to pass around the petition to get Pepper fired? I think MAS needs a NEW director – one that is strong enough to make decisions…the right ones this time, please!

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