Pigpile on the Irresponsible Public!

In addition to Friends of Memphis Animal Services and shelter vet Rebecca Coleman blaming the public for the needless killing at MAS due to distemper, now shelter director Matthew Pepper, the local paper, and even the Mayor are joining in.

Matthew Pepper:

“We have, unfortunately, a large percentage of our human population maintaining unvaccinated animals, and that is a recipe for disaster when you have animals housed in close proximity in an overcrowded facility that’s just not large enough,” he said.
“If you’re a member of the community and you own an animal, go see your veterinarian and go vaccinate your animal,” he said.

Editorial in The Commercial Appeal:

Critics of the decision [to kill dogs] suggested that the shelter should have shut down and quarantined the dogs they have. But the shelter on Tchulahoma is crowded — partly because of the large number of irresponsible pet owners in Memphis who either abandon their animals or let them run loose.


Memphis is not alone in the battle against irresponsible pet owners.


So much suffering by animals and so many euthanizations could be prevented if people just did the right thing.

Mayor Wharton:

“People who treat animals the way they do here,” said Wharton.  “They’re pet slave masters.  They’re abusers is what they are.”

Wharton’s ire comes in the wake of a devastating distemper outbreak at Memphis Animal Services where empty cages illustrate the drastic euthanization rate that’s been adopted in recent days.


“You can’t build a shelter large enough to absorb the irresponsible actions of people who claim to be pet owners,” said Wharton.

Wow.  Just.  I’m so glad Miami-Dade didn’t try the you’re-all-a-buncha-filthy-rotten-scoundrels approach with the community when faced with a distemper outbreak in recent days:

On Tuesday afternoon, Miami-Dade Animal Services reported they have 18 cats and 12 dogs left to adopt.

Thanks to the community’s generosity, hundreds of dogs and cats have already found new homes. “We had an amazing weekend here at Animal Services,” said Dr. Sara Pizano, Director of the Miami-Dade Animal Services. “Since Thursday, over 500 animals were saved. This community moved like no other, and our rescue partners were amazing saving animals left and right.”

Thank you pet slave masters of Miami-Dade for stepping up and saving pets lives!  I only wish the unwashed masses in Memphis had been given the same opportunity to save pets at their shelter.

43 thoughts on “Pigpile on the Irresponsible Public!

  1. Are you saying that what the mayor said is wrong? I might just have to disagree with you on this one. I think that he is partially correct about the irresponsible public. I feel the south is unfortunately antiquated on their views of animals. I mean up here in the north we don’t really have these problems. I can only assume it has to do with the fact that citizens are more responsible with their animals in having them fixed and vaccinated. I also think it falls in the hand of the shelters to not have an efficient killing machine but to get out there and get these animals north into safety or adopted locally. 100% compliance with spay/neuter before release wouldn’t help either!

    1. No problems up north? Tell that to the animals in the NYC pound. Or Detroit. Or anywhere in the Los Angeles shelter system. I could keep on listing cities, but you get the point. Poor shelter management and animal abuse are not just regional problems. Wish they were because maybe then could be resolved more easily. On a more positive note,
      the no-kill equation applies across the board.

      1. Thanks Jeanne. I meant to speak up and mention that irresponsible people are *everywhere* in this country, and some of them have pets. Mercifully, they are the minority of pet owners. Most of us here in the south are just like the rest of you reading this – we love our pets and we don’t want pets needlessly killed in shelters.

      2. I agree…recently issues with a shelter in PA – Sharon, if I remember correctly, is another smallerish community with the same good ole boys attitude. So the problem is not isolated just in the south… And I am beginning to think that just about ANYONE can be placed in a director position at ANY shelter…so why is it again that I am going to school for a degree? I could just apply to take over a shelter director position and crap…no felony charges on my record, yet…maybe I should go gather a few of those and I would be an ideal candidate.

      3. Here’s one you can apply for. Just arrived in my inbox from a reader. This is the Kill the Kitty shelter:

        Director of Animal Shelter & Control
        Town of Hempstead

        Applicants sought for director of a large municipal Animal Shelter and Control operation responsible for all activities related to the care, control, rescue, and adoption of small animals within the jurisdiction, as well as ensuring compliance with NYS statutes and Town ordinances. Qualified applicants must possess relevant education and experience for consideration. Successful applicant must participate in NYS Civil Service exam scheduled for March 2012. Salary commensurate with qualifications. Please forward resume to William F. Sammon, Jr., Director of HR., 350 Front St., Hempstead, NY 11550 or to Wsammon@tohmail.org by April 15th, 2011.

        Contact Information:

        3320 Beltagh Ave.
        Wantagh, NY 11793

        Closing Date: April 15, 2011
        Posted: March 28, 2011

      4. Shirley, you think they’d be willing to pay me the $100k that Pat got? I mean, hell…if all I need for “expertise” is to do a video of myself chanting “Kill the kitty” while a group of ACO’s stand around and mess with a poor little kitty that they are getting ready to kill…don’t know if I could stomach it, but for $100k I could give it a try. I mean, we don’t actually have to kill the kitty – just make it look like we’re going to. I can do the standard “no animals were harmed in the filming of this video” clause at the end. Think that would cover my expertise? (Sorry but for those who don’t know me I am being VERY sarcastic.)

  2. I’m calling bullshit on it ALL!

    Wharton is the SAME mayor that “launched a task force to study best practice procedures and training for shelter staff” according to this link provided in a previous post… http://www.memphisflyer.com/memphis/its-a-shelter-dogs-life/Content?oid=1771940

    Wharton is in CYA mode at the moment…apparently either his task force never materialized or they failed big time.

    Thanks to “Kim” we are seeing articles that show these are problems that have been ongoing for YEARS! With the city management, MAS & FOMAS ALL pointing fingers back at the “irresponsible” public they are failing to admit ANY responsibility for what has been an ongoing problem. And we wonder why MAS is failing….NO ONE accepts responsibility – they just keep pushing the plate around!

    Want to read some ‘good news’ – check out this link about the allegations of abuse at MAS from 2009 and the result….


    1. Shirley – have you read the 2010 Annual Report distributed by the shelter yet? If not here is a link to it – http://memphistn.gov/pdf_forms/MAS_Annual_Report_2010.pdf

      Can anyone say “shit storm”? Because I believe that it just hit the fan for MAS. The deeper you dig, the more cans of worms that get opened – the worse it looks for MAS. Time for a private rescue to take over – to hell with the city…even with a new mayor they are still having the SAME problems. Seems everybody thinks the ‘new’ building will fix all the problems…but they still have felons on their pay roll according to the 2010 report…..

      Before this goes any further I need to get out my wading boots ‘cuz it’s getting deep. Shirley, I bet you never realized what you were doing when you started blogging about MAS! With all the information flowing I hope you are still taking some occasional breaks to spend some time with Charlie…I’ve had to stop and take LONG moments just to hug, cuddle & scratch my sweeties and thank God that they found their way to MY doorstep…we may be overcrowded at the moment – but I’ll take it any day over this crapstorm going on at MAS. Even if it means I miss a meal or two each day I’d rather see my babies fed and loved than turned over to ANY shelter to face this kind of crap!

      RIP all those who have had the misfortune of finding their way into MAS. I think I am going to light a few hundred candles tonight and risk the fire to honor all those dear animals that have been placed in this joke of a shelter….

      1. Yeah I read that malarkey. Let’s play games with numbers!

        Charlie had a rough day yesterday but being online gave me a little distraction while I waited by the phone for the vet to call and kept an eye on him as he slept. Bumped his meds back up and today he is much better. Thank you for thinking of us.

      2. I have been keeping you and Charlie in my prayers…and will continue. I understand what you are going through. My Gracie is getting along in years and having problems wlaking at times. I find myself ‘checking’ on her constantly because at times it appears that she isn’t even breathing. I don’t know if it helps having the distractions…but at least I know that when Grace goes she will be surrounded by those of us who have loved her in her own home. (I love that my vet will make house calls to euthanize animals! Makes it a little easier in the end…)

  3. What a bunch of idiots. How can they expect the public to vaccinate their dogs when these are the same people dropping their dogs off at shelters?


    If the MAS really wanted to step up, they’d vaccinate these dogs the moment they step foot in the shelter.

    1. Amen to that! An ounce of prevention and all that… MAS seems to be a place that NEVER learns from their mistakes and history continues to repeat itself.

  4. @Erica, thanks for that link to the 2010 Annual Report because I needed a good laugh and sure enough–right in the first paragraph–

    “Memphis Animal Services is committed to
    being an organization that represents the values of the citizens.”

    That would be the filthy, merciless slave owners, wouldn’t it? Well, YES! Finally a statement I can agree with! The shelter director, vet, and staff refuse to clean the place properly and kill practically every living creature they get their hands on. Just like the mayor says about those citizens, “They’re abusers is what they are.”

    Mayor Wharton, time for another pre-dawn visit to Memphis Animal Services. Only this time, please do it right and hire a director who is committed to SAVING LIVES. Then and only then will your shelter truly reflect the values of the community. The problem lies with the shelter, not the community.

    1. My thing is: Why not go to the media and make pleas to the public (in addition to rescues)to get dogs out of there? It doesn’t cost anything so why not try it? And they could always wag their fingers at the badbad people afterward if nobody stepped up. It’s a double whammy – We won’t give the public the chance to save them by putting out word before we kill AND we’ll blame THEM for the killing.

      1. I don’t get it either. I believe people would step up. They have everywhere else–I’ve never heard of a shelter asking the public to help in a crisis and not getting a response. People want to help SAVE LIVES. And I don’t mean just the chosen few who call themselves friends of the shelter and limit their exposure to 40-odd kennels in the approved adoption area.

      2. Heck, even if Mr. Wharton is right and everyone in Memphis is teh eevil, you never know – someone visiting from out of town might hear the plea and save one dog. Wouldn’t that be worth trying, even if only 1 could be saved? You could look at it as one less dose of Fatal-Plus that has to be paid for and one less carcass to dispose of.

      3. Easier to dance in a dog suit than ask the good people of Memphis to come and adopt?
        Easier to do something dumb than save lives by doing something smart?

        Mayor Wharton got elected by 60% of the voters of Memphis. So, are they really teh evil?

      4. As per a comment made by the FMAS:

        “Dogs are being released to Pet Placement Partners today. Public adoptions have not resumed.”

        “Pet Placement Partners is the program at the shelter for rescue groups that want to help the shelter with taking animals into their rescues.”

        Better than nothing, I guess..

      5. Yet they will not reveal who these mythical “pet placement partners” are!!!

      6. The thing I find truly interesting is when going through the links to news articles – if you read through the readers comments there are plenty of people in the Memphis area that DO care. So IF MAS did ‘go public’ and ask for help I am SURE they would get it. To be perfectly honest – I don’t think they want the bad bad public to step up and help. I think they like using this distemper outbreak to make excuses for the killings. Gives them the perfect excuse to kill animals without making themselves look bad. Kill the animals, blame the public, and don’t ask for help, keep telling people that ‘rescues’ are stepping up and removing dogs – but a major failure in revealing just who those rescues are….sounds like a cover up is going on. IF it were MY rescue I would want people to know that I was helping – besides the exposure they would get – I KNOW there are plenty of people that want to make donations to those rescues to help with costs involved in pulling the animals from MAS.

        It’s like I always tell my kids – if you tell a lie, you’re just going to have to tell another lie to cover that one up and then another to cover and another…before you know it you can never distinguish between who is lying and what the lies are, as opposed to what is the truth and who to believe.

  5. The blame game is not helping the animals getting killed. Studies show that most people already spay and neuter their pets and care for them right and the ones that don’t – well for most of them it is because they don’t have the money, not because they don’t want to.

    Help and service is what our leaders should be hired to do, not blame. True leaders work on helping people be become better, not tear them down for their failures.

    Most shelters and cites need better leaders.

    1. All I was trying saying was I just couldn’t believe the number of dogs and cats that were coming in to MAS after this distemper fiasco has been all over the news and in our newspaper. Maybe I should have been more clear in my statement but I was at work and hammered it out while watching the seemingly endless stream of owner surrenders.

      I do stand by my statement that I don’t know how people can dump their pets. I do think there may be some legitimate reasons but here in Memphis those are few and far between. I am not judging anyone but I wouldn’t EVER turn my dog in to MAS. I don’t care what the circumstances were. I would do anything to keep him out of there or any other kill shelter.

  6. I know this pretty much goes without saying but when I watch these people on the web cam dump their dogs at MAS I just can’t understand how in the hell they could do that. You could not separate me from my dog for ANYTHING. I would go hungry before he would. It just devastates me that people are so heartless.

    1. you have no idea what the reasons are that these people are using the services MAS offers.
      Are some of them crappy reasons? probably. But a lot of them are probably caring owners that are in a bad situation and believe they are doing a GOOD THING by bringing their pet to a shelter where it will be cared for and find a new home.
      I can promise you that probably 90% of people that surrender to kill shelters believe that their pet is a good pet and will be able to be rehomed with no problem- it’s OTHER people’s pets that will be euthanized.

      I would encourage you to find an opportunity to spend some time in an incoming lobby of a local shelter to hear why people are actually surrendering- it’s a lot harder to judge that way, especially when you see the grief first hand.

      1. I agree–a lot of people don’t have a clue what really goes on in kill shelters. They
        bring their dogs and cats in with bowls, toys and blankets–all ready to go to the pet’s new home. They have no idea their pet may be already dead before they pull out of the parking lot.

      2. I’m not talking about people in difficult situations. I am referring to the people that dump their pets. They are too old, tired of dealing with them, etc. Those are the people I am referring to.

      3. Kim I understand EXACTLY what you are talking about…my future sister-in-law (whom I do NOT get along with) seems to have a ‘new’ pet everytime I see her. She’ll keep it for a few weeks but once the newness has wore off she’s on to the next animal. I have never been able to stomach asking what she does with them when she’s ready to toss them out…and needless to say my fiance (her brother) and I have a very estranged relationship with her due to other issues and I haven’t seen or talked to her in almost 2 years. But she is one who has that ‘throw away’ mentality when it comes to animals. I find it strange because my fiance & I have never been like that…and even her 2 other sisters have dogs that they have had for years. So I just don’t get why she is that way…and quite frankly I don’t want to know why now.

      4. I disagree with the statement that a lot of people dumping off their animals are caring owners.

        JMHO, but there are very few GOOD reasons why anyone should be dumping off their pet. And before you suggest that I gain more experience, I work in animal rescue. I see the stupidity every day.

      5. i work in a shelter as well, and see it every day too- we take in about 33,000 animals a year and i’ve worked here 6 years. So i’ve seen and heard a large range of reasons to surrender.
        as i said above, there are some people that do have crap reasons to drop off animals.
        But i don’t hold it against people who choose to use the services we offer.

        The original comment stated that while watching the web cam, she couldn’t understand how people could dump animals.
        I argue that there is no way to determine if an animal is ‘being dumped’ based on web cam photos

      6. All I was trying saying was I just couldn’t believe the number of dogs and cats that were coming in to MAS after this distemper fiasco has been all over the news and in our newspaper. Maybe I should have been more clear in my statement but I was at work and hammered it out while watching the seemingly endless stream of owner surrenders.

        I do stand by my statement that I don’t know how people can dump their pets. I do think there may be some legitimate reasons but here in Memphis those are few and far between. I am not judging anyone but I wouldn’t EVER turn my dog in to MAS. I don’t care what the circumstances were. I would do anything to keep him out of there or any other kill shelter.

  7. OMG people need to think before they say stuff like that. I will never get the picture of the dog being carried out to die just by simply ending up at the shelter on that day, the look on his face. How do the workers sleep at night? For love of God DO NOT BLAME the public!!!! You are a shelter !!!! Hello look it up in the dictionary people-i don’t think it says shelter=death.

  8. Random question.. does it make sense to house several dogs together who are under rabies observation? I’m just watching the MAS webcams and they’re doing just that..

    1. Nope doesn’t make a bit of sense…but then again that’s how they’ve ALWAYS done it, so why change now?

      1. I asked them why they would house them together:

        “They both came in together, are best friends so they are housed together as there is plenty of room in the cage.”


  9. Which camera are you watching? I can’t see into any cages in rabies. Just the doors.
    It is against state law to house bite/rabies observation together.

    1. Camera 8, Rabies Observation 2.

      The dogs are at the bottom right of the screen, second last cage. Give it a few minutes and you’ll see a little Boston Terrier with a pink collar. She’s sitting by the door right now. Got some lovely screenshots of them hosing down the kennel while the dogs were in there. Ugh.

      Looks like a second BT in there as well.

  10. Mel, Just saw your comment on FB. Nice. If this is a bite case then wth are they together? Best friends or not that makes no sense.

    1. Yeah, they did:

      Friends of Memphis Animal Services
      This is a bite case dog and will only be released to the owner at the end of the rabies observation period.

      1. Wait – it is a dog bite case…yet both dogs came in together? WTH? Did they both bite? Or was the owner forced to turn them both in for quarantine?

        Which leads me to the next question…how in the hell can they be quarantining dogs for bite cases while they are having a major distemper outbreak? Take your dogs in for a bite case and it ends up dead from distemper….how lovely is that!

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