Questions for Matthew Pepper

Matthew Pepper is the director of Memphis Animal Services where 77% of the pets they take in are killed.  I’m hoping he will answer some questions.  If you have a question for Mr. Pepper, please feel welcome to leave it in the comments.  As always, keep your comments succinct and respectful.  I’m going to e-mail him a request for answers.

1.  Why are you allowing healthy/treatable pets to be killed when you have so many empty cages at the shelter?  (For example, the lobby cages and isolation cages are currently empty.)

2.  Why are you allowing so many healthy/treatable pets to be killed without ever offering them for adoption, foster or rescue?

3.  How can you blame the public failing to vaccinate their pets as the cause for the recent distemper outbreak at the shelter when MAS does not vaccinate upon intake across the board or utilize standard disease prevention cleaning practices?

4.  Why is your shelter not utilizing the Chameleon software (or a website such as Petfinder) to share photos and info about every pet in the shelter online?  How can the public be expected to adopt, foster, rescue, sponsor or redeem pets which no one outside the shelter knows are there?  There are vast nationwide networks of compassionate people willing to help shelter pets in need – but they have to know the pets are in need in order to help.

84 thoughts on “Questions for Matthew Pepper

  1. Why are employees apparently untrained in humane handling of animals?

    How long are cats allowed to be left in wire cages on the floor without food or water?

  2. Since marketing is a Huge part of increasing pet adoptions (and cutting the kill rate) how often do you do off site adoption events and send out press releases?

    Have you or any of your employees attended any conferences on how to save more shelter animals, like the no-kill, adoption option, or no more homeless pets conferences?

  3. When you send this to Mr. Pepper, you ought to copy the Mayor, City Council, County Commissioners, and/or other pertinent public officials.

  4. “How can you blame the public failing to vaccinate their pets as the cause for the recent distemper outbreak at the shelter when MAS does not vaccinate upon intake across the board or utilize standard disease prevention cleaning practices?”

    There is a great hypocrisy in the movement. Shelters decry the public’s alleged practices but they themselves do the very same thing. They claim people should spay/neuter their animals, then they adopt out unaltered animals. They say people should vaccinate their pets and they refuse to do so. And the biggest one, they say people should not treat animals as disposable, and then they treat them exactly like that by killing them and then literally disposing of their bodies in landfills.

    P.S. There are other shelter management software solutions besides Chameleon which allow interface with third party websites that promote animals. Some of them are free.

    1. Nathan – I have to ask…has ANYONE connected with MAS contacted YOU at all? Ever e-mail I send to any of the officials include a note to contact you in regards to help for ‘fixing’ the shelter…among other suggestions. So I was just curious if anyone has bothered to actually reach out to the people I am sending them to for real help, not just for them to keep killing the animals. Pepper has stated on numerous occassions that he wants his shelter to become No Kill and IF he s sincere then I would think he’d take a moment to contact those who really can help.


      1. No. But last year, I personally invited him to the No Kill Conference in Washington D.C. and waived the fee for him. I even found someone willing to pay his travel expenses. He came. And he was exposed to workshops from me, Bonney and Mitch in Nevada whose shelters are saving 91% of all animals despite 15,000 intakes a year, and other successful shelter directors. If he did not get what he needed from there, from the most successful shelter directors in the country, I do not know what else to offer. You can lead a horse to water…

      2. Memphis Animal Services is already using Chameleon software. How hard is it to let the program upload all the animals in the shelter to the Internet with their picture? Washoe County says it is easy with Chameleon software. The program updates the Internet every 30 minutes. Matthew Pepper is on the NACA Board of Directors and a tour of Washoe County is on the NACA Conference agenda in May. He will be able to see first hand how they utilize Chameleon software.

      3. Nathan – thank you for all you HAVE done to try and help. Obviously, Pepper is not utilizing all the things he learned and he’s only pulling out bits and pieces of the information to use. And all along my way of thinking…IF he REALLY cared then he would be putting the RIGHT programs in place for the animals. IF he attended the conference – regardless of the year – he KNOWS that more is expected and it is just plain laziness on his part for not implementing all part of the equation to save the animals.

        Time for a replacement!

      1. Memphis uses Chameleon software right now. If Matthew Pepper does not know how to use the software to upload information and pictures of ALL the animals in the shelter, he will have an opportunity to see how it works during the NACA Conference in May. He is on the NACA Board of Directors and a tour of Washoe County Animal Control is on the conference agenda. Washoe County AC uses Chameleon, uploads information on all animals at the shelter, and has a very high return to owner rate. I am amazed that Memphis has this software and is not using it to return animals to their owners. It doesn’t take attending a conference though, just a phone call to Chameleon.

      2. So again a MAJOR FAIL on the Pepper list of failures… Maybe we need to push for the shelter to actually use the aoftware program and be trained to use it correctly! If he fails to do that then he’s no better than the shelter directors who just kill and kill…oh, wait he already is.

  5. Why do you only hold animals for 3 days before killing them? Sometimes it takes that long for people to realize their pets are missing. MAS seems to have a large population of “strays,” as you term them, at any given time, yet these animals aren’t on Petfinder or given any other public exposure that might help their owners find them. What efforts does MAS make to return “stray” animals to their owners? What efforts do you make to assess these animals for adoption if they’re not reclaimed?

    1. I have used the FMAS website – which is part of PetFinder and EVERY time I click the link to show adoptable animals it comes up with “no results found” which makes me wonder….how serious is FMAS at saving these animals?

      And I’m sure that Pepper will find some excuse for why peopel can’t find their pets…more oops killings…or some such other BS. It is what Pepper seems best at.

      1. Go the the Memphis Animal Services website- click on adoptable animals….they are months old – some of have been killed already (woops “euthanized”) and others have been adopted out or rescued….makes you think they really don’t care about the animals (DUH- I know they don’t)

    2. That is state law.
      And MAS elects to follow some of the state laws, this is one.
      Others, they ignore.

      1. @Ethel, do you mean holding the dogs for 3 days is a state law? Isn’t that a mandatory minimum–so the shelter could hold them longer if they chose to?

      2. I dont quite understand this either. Lets say a dog, without a collar, roams free in the neighborhood. Usually a person will take the dog to the pound but what if the rescuer feels like the Humane Society would be the more humane choice. If the people who originally owned the dog want the dog back (lets say the collar slipped off or something, its happened to my dog before, because she is in a weird category where shes too big for the small collars but too small for the big collars. When I took her for a walk, she ran away, but I stopped her and got her back to put it back on. So my point being is that no collar doesnt mean that the owners wanted to “set the pet free”) and they call the pound and the pound has no idea about the dog, because it was taken to the humane society, then it may take longer than 3 days to call around and get the dog back. Any info would be helpful..

      3. Jessica – personally, if it were me that lost an animal I would be contacted every ‘shelter’ and ‘dog pound’ in addition to posting on Criaglist, our county auditor also has a link on their website to post lost & found dogs, and I would call every vet in a 50 mile radius, and use the lost & found sites like: fidofinder, pets911, and found-pets, etc. But that’s just me – putting your eggs all in one basket can, well, end up in the death of your I presonally would reach out to EVERY group that could possibly have my dog, in addition to hanging up fliers and all that fun stuff.

        I know a lot of people don’t know about some of those resources, but your local ‘dog pound’ can and SHOULD direct you to all of them IF they really care about helping locate your lost dog. Plus most dog pounds will take your info and put it on a list, although I also wouldn’t completely rely on that but it’s at least a way to start the search process. Whenever I read any listings of lost dogs I DO contact the person who lost their dog and direct them to all these reources to assist them, many times hearing abck that they DID manage to find their dog – using ALL the tools available sometimes.

    3. Erica— True me, I would do all of that. The reason why I was asking is because where we live is kind of the “outskirts” of the city. I live in Glendale which is a western outskirt of Phoenix, like many other Arizonan cities. All of the pounds and the humane society are pretty far from here, there would be no way that my dog would end up in that neigborhood unless someone picked her up and took her but I doubt anyone would go that far out of their way (its like an hour at least, not with traffic). So mainly Id just be worried about her being at a pound or shelter. Shell be alright though. I was just venting I guess lol

  6. I wonder how much a full-page (or even a half-page) ad in the [Memphis] Commercial Appeal costs? It would be such a great community service to publish these questions so that the general population can start thinking–and talking–about them. If someone sets up a Chip-in, etc., I’m in!

    1. It’s $285 a column inch per
      Without a local sponsor, it would be tough to raise enough to get enough space. But when I was looking up the ad rates, I saw that the Mayor was today trying to bust up the apparently corrupt “Impound Lot” gang (yes, at first I read it as “pound” and got excited.)
      All of Memphis needs rescuing!

      1. Sending this as a letter to the editor might be an alternative, if a local Memphis resident will submit it to the newspaper.

      2. I have personally contacted New Channel 24 and requested that they promote the meeting on 4/13. I gave them tons of info and also directed them to this blog for more information. Hoping they will not only promote the meeting BUT also attend themselves so they cna have on public record (the news) what went down and then stay on top of it to see that changes are implemented. While I haven’t heard back from them – they are the ones who had a story a few days ago about MAS not following their director vet’s advice – and I think they’ve already gotten a bite from the story and HOPEFULLY will use this as an opportunity to gather public support for MAS. (fingers crossed)

  7. How many volunteers participate in ANY way at your facility?
    (Volunteers are non-paid people) What do they do?
    What is your salary?
    What is the weekly/monthly/annual payroll for MAS?

    1. I can answer one question – Pepper makes approximately $92 thousand a year in his position. I have also gone through their records and saw that they are paying out over $1 million a year in salaries.

  8. Why do you stay in a job that carries such a solemn responsibility when you clearly don’t care?

  9. Who is in charge of the foster program at MAS? How does the shelter recruit new fosters? Pregnant dogs close to delivery seem like ideal candidates for foster care, yet the shelter is reputed to kill them on arrival. Why is this, Mr. Pepper?

    Friends of MAS claims there just aren’t enough fosters to take the pregnant and nursing dogs.
    Is that why we saw your staff dragging a mama dog down the corridor to her death on a choke pole while her tiny pups rode in a cardboard box beside her?

    What steps have you taken to address the “foster shortage” at MAS?

  10. I am from Shreveport. Matthew Pepper came here after the firing of Dr. Dale and all of the people who were supporting him. Was a time when we were attempting to break up the old regime who operated pretty much like Pepper is obviously operating in Memphis now. While Dr. Dale was there they had put into place several changes to keep down disease. The shelter didn’t stink like it had before and animals were getting OUT ALIVE. After Matthew came, I transported for an offsite adoption for the Humane Society on Saturday morning. When we went in the stench was so strong it would make you want to vomit. I’ve volunteered lots of times before and I never smelt it so bad as that day. And the amount of waste that was in the kennel runs was NOT just from overnight. It was HORRIBLE. I was never very impressed with him and personally am glad he is gone.

    1. I need clarification – the stench you found while doing the offsite transport was WHILE Pepper was at the shelter? Because he is still there, and having major problems…which he continues to blame on the public, yet we’ve watched the shelter cams and saw them empty rows of animals that were killed and then filled the kennels back up with new dogs without cleaning them first. So I just want to clarify if it was under Pepper that you witnessed this, or was it while Dr. Dale was still there?

  11. My husband and I go to Tenn every year for trail rides. He wants to retire there , from Florida.. I could NEVER move somewhere that seems to be even WORSE than Miami where our problems are horrendous as far as the way those in power treat the needy animals!

    1. Just be thankful that when Miami-Dade had their outbreak they reached out for help and managed to save 500+ animals…that IS something to be proud of! If only MAS had done the same….

  12. I have worked at a no-kill shelter for over 15 yrs. Our adoptions are so successful that we take animals from the south by the truckloads. We do much advertising and get free Public Service advertising from the local TV channel, and two newspapers. Two large pet chain food stores, plus several locally owned, allow us to put up a bulletin board advertising adoptable animals. Some stores even give discount coupons towards food or supplies for animals adopted. Volunteers handle most of that. I could go on and on, but you must get the community involved. One every two months we have an open-house for the public. Of course, all animals are isolated when they come in and given shots as needed. We have a local Vet School that spays and neuters animals for free as they get credits towards their classes. They are all supervised by teachers. So many ways to get help, IF you look for it.

    1. Some really good ideas. I had read in an article that MAS was going to use prisoners to help cut down on costs by having the inmates take over cleaning/walking the dogs. It appears nothing ever came of it though – which is sad because it would cut down on the amount of money they are paying their staff, which comes to over $1M a year.

  13. If Matthew Pepper has been to a no kill conference then he must know better, so it must be that he doesn’t care. So how is it that a person that doesn’t care about animals gets a well paying job as a director of an animal shelter that needed improvement? A shelter that was abusing its animals and where the people wanted change. Where is the change for the better?

    1. Yep. I completely agree. I cant help but feel like the No-Kill desire is just to cover up what he actually does; “oh well, he WANTS to believe in no-kill, he just needs a little direction, he will be okay in the future” and in the meantime, keeps right on killing.

      Murderers can be quite manipulative, ya know.

  14. My main question in regards to the animals is WHY? I think all the specifics have been covered. I am disgusted at the mentality of the employees there, especially in this economy when there are plenty of eager, well intended people seeking job opportunities that this attitude and treatment of animals, volunteers and customers is tolerated right in front of you and cameras!!??

  15. I do not know how to contact you to ask permission to post this here. I apologize if it is not appropriate and please delete it at your discretion. But we have formed a No Kill group and are collecting case after case of issues people encounter at MAS that cost the lives or could cost the lives of innocent animals. When we go into future meetings with “the powers that be” we want to be armed with facts, and not just sounds like a bunch of complaining malcontents. So if you would allow this link to be placed here for your readers to document things they’ve experienced and encountered at MAS, I will be very grateful.

    Laura Waldie

    1. Laura,

      Well done for forming a group! As for being “armed with facts” and not sounding like a bunch of crazies, I think that’s KEY.

      Presenting the facts, showing people what’s really going on and offering alternatives – that’s the way to change.

      What I am amazed by is MAS’s website and how it’s all rainbows and butterflies about how wonderful they are and how well they serve the animals. Someone needs to point out the hypocrisy that’s happening there because I think the locals are unaware.

      Would the owner of the mother dog with pups (highly adoptable puppies!) have surrendered them if she knew they’d be taken directly to kill? I think not.

      There are no second chances for so many animals at MAS.

      Let us know how we can support you in your efforts!

    2. THANK YOU for forming the No Kill Memphis group. Actually can’t thank you enough!

      I suggest that you go back through the blog entries (there is a search bar on the right side of the screen where you can type “MAS” and it will bring up each and every blog entry about mAs that is on here. There are MANY screen snapshots that tell a story in and of itself. There are also lots of links to news articles that can help further your cause found within the blog responses. Good luck – we are 100% behind you!!!

  16. Do pet owners who surrender their animals know that the animals they surrender may be taken immediately to the euthanasia room and killed without ever getting a chance for adoption?

    1. Most kill shelters believe that once you surrender an animal, you no longer can control what they do to the animal

      1. Yeah, its not like a pawnshop where you can house the dog until you can afford it again. Once you turn it in, you reliquinsh all control. Its the strays I worry about more so..

      2. No, you can’t. Legally, the animal belongs to the shelter. I just want to know if they inform people that this animal may never be offered for adoption and is very possibly dead before they leave the parking lot?

        Most people who bother to surrender an animal (is there a fee at MAS for surrender?) think that they are giving an animal a second chance. Most people do not think that they are sending that animal directly to the kill room.

        Strays get three days. Surrenders get three minutes?

      3. Good point Mikken. I wonder though that if they get to the point where they are in the shelter willing to give up the dog if they would even give it a second chance though. That was the argument for not having no-kill shelters, that if they and other shelters were full, people would just dump their dogs on the street or worse.

    2. That was my question, too. Are those who surrender their animals made aware of the likelihood of them being killed? Do they have the option of taking the animal back if they do get to the kill-list? Is anything done to try and help people keep their animals in the first place (rather than surrender)?

      1. Around 3-4 months ago, a cat rescue person was in the lobby of MAS. She informed a person dropping off an owner surrender dog just what the result would be.
        I was not there to witness but was told by several people who were, that Mr. Pepper confronted her and in a very loud voice told her to never say anything like that again while in the shelter.

        Funny. After 20 years of fostering kittens to young to survive, she is now no longer allowed to foster.

        The rescues have learned if they speak up and say anything negative or question any of Pepper’s policies, they will be banned.

        No matter what Pepper tries to make people believe, he is not there for the animals. I have seen no true connection between him and MAS except for his $92,000 paycheck.

      2. $92,000!?! Oh my God, that makes me sick to know he makes that much to kill those poor dogs! I figured he didnt make much at all and he was taking his crappy life out on the dogs (not that its an excuse by any means). I just want to slap him and I dont even know him personally.

    3. This has just been a recent change in their policy. Up until the distemper outbreak and deaths that occurred daily – and quite possibly still are occurring – an owner surrender had 24 hours to change their mind. Pepper implemented a change in policy so that they now no longer have that option. I have written him, as well as the mayor, director of public services & neighborhoods, and a member of the Advisory Board that MAS needs to have a pet retention counselor on staff to handle cases of owner surrenders, which can actually cut down on owner relinquishments by giving owners additional tools that they can use to actually keep their pets at home. Still haven’t heard back from them…but hopefully it put a bug in their eaers!

      1. The Advisory Board has suggested having a counselor many times.

        The Board also pushed for an owner surrender form that states clearly what would happen to the animals when left there.

        The Board has also begged them to post on petfinder and requested a list of the employees on OJI that are free to take the photos and post them. The Board even offered to purchase a camera.

        The Board is never listened to, and the City Administration makes it quite clear through their lack of action that the Board is a bother and is only “advisory”.

  17. Why are the animals handled mainly with choke poles? Does the “staff” get any training at all in the humane handling of animals? If not, why not? If so, why are they not expected to handle them humanely at all times?

    1. No one makes any MAS employee do anything correctly. There are always vague threats about write-ups but no real action.

  18. Strays are kept 3 days in case an owner is found. Surrenders are not given any time. I know in a shelter near me, the owners are told they can not find out about their pet after surrender. There is a family that surrendered a dog and the very next day changed their mind and went back for the dog and it had already been killed. The reason was there was no room. Of course why didn’t they tell this family first and maybe the dog would not have been surrendered. This was all over the local papers. The dog was surrendered simply bcause 2 kids went off to college, and the family didn’t feel they had time. It was a well behaved dog. They thought it would find a new home, not be destroyed immediately.

  19. 1. Why are you allowing healthy/treatable pets to be killed when you have so many empty cages at the shelter? (For example, the lobby cages and isolation cages are currently empty.)
    I think it’s because he simply doesnt care enough about the precious souls (shelter pets) to do what it takes to save them. Mr Pepper can, of course, feel free to prove me wrong anytime he wishes, by making his “shelter” a real shelter…a No Kill shelter.

    2. Why are you allowing so many healthy/treatable pets to be killed without ever offering them for adoption, foster or rescue?
    Again, I think it’s because Mr Pepper doesnt care whether the pets live or die. Again, he is free to prove me wrong by making the “shelter” a No Kill shelter. Only then will he prove that he cares about the pets’lives. Dont talk it, walk it.
    3. How can you blame the public failing to vaccinate their pets as the cause for the recent distemper outbreak at the shelter when MAS does not vaccinate upon intake across the board or utilize standard disease prevention cleaning practices?
    Blaming others takes the focus off of ourselves, and our own failures. Ignorance is bliss.It’s easier to blame someone else than it is to look in the mirror and face the horrible truth.
    4. Why is your shelter not utilizing the Chameleon software (or a website such as Petfinder) to share photos and info about every pet in the shelter online? How can the public be expected to adopt, foster, rescue, sponsor or redeem pets which no one outside the shelter knows are there? There are vast nationwide networks of compassionate people willing to help shelter pets in need – but they have to know the pets are in need in order to help.
    Again, in my view, as a typical, narrow minded, status quo “shelter” operator, Mr Pepper has one goal and one goal only…..make the work day pass as fast as possible, collect his check on Friday and go home. No passion for saving lives. No guilt about the savable individuals who were murdered due to laziness, lack of passion and lack of caring. Once again, Mr Pepper can prove me wrong by making his “shelter” a No Kill shelter.

  20. Did you know that a volunteer named Eleanor Gipson from the Memphis Animal Shelter paid a visit to a person at their workplace to complain about a negative Facebook posting? Ms. Gipson was angry that the person had written a negative remark on the Friends of the Memphis Animal Shelter Facebook wall about another volunteer. Very strange how Ms. Gipson was able to find out where this person worked and then went to his workplace acting very “insane” and “erratic”.

      1. You know what – that comment pissed me off so much I clicked on the link and the entire article is a pisser. What a crock!

      2. Of course the dogs aren’t wagging their tails. Many sense that something is happening and they are scared. I saw the pics of dogs being dragged to the euthansia room, with the box of puppies. Mother dogs are very protective of their pups and don’t like to be away from them. They act on instinct. Carrying them by their legs like a sack of potatoes is painful and frightening to them. I would be scared if that were happening to me.

      3. Yes, FMAS is so ready and willing to help the anmals that they delete ANY post that gives them info on how to save them ALL not just one or two hand picked dogs! I should’ve put on my boot prior to reading that article. FMAS does such a ‘great job’ that over 100 animals have lost their lives in the past week! Way to go FMAS! Yeah – you managed to save & treat 1 dog out of hundreds…many of which didn’t need medical care. But continue to toot your philosophical horn..because your balloon is about to get burst!

        As for Ms. Gipson and her actions – I DARE her to come confront ME. She thinks she cares about animals…yep and I’m a troll living under a bridge!

  21. Mr. Pepper:

    A dose of DHLPP vaccine costs about $3. I’m sure it is significantly less when bought in mass quantities.

    How much does a dose of euthasol cost?

    1. I couldnt agree more with all of that. I dont know if you are familiar with Eldad Hager’s experiences with how he gets some dogs out of shelters that are going to be euthanized or off the streets in Los Angeles. He videotapes the whole experience. I have seen practically all of them. It’s amazing the transformation. Of course a dog is going to get timid and scared in a shelter but that doesnt mean they need to be euthanized. You will see that once he calms them down and takes them home, they are like a new dog running away and tail wagging. Pepper would just say “kill them all”. Ive had my dog for 9 years, since she was 8 weeks old, and would never lay a finger on her but she can get timid sometimes, just like any other dog. They are animals!! He not knowing this makes me think that he does not understand animals at all and probably does not have one…so why is he the director?? Just a paycheck??

      1. Oops I meant to say running AROUND, not away, that would be a completely different scenario LOL

      2. I know the MAS has serious problems, and I have seen some of them at work there, but I have to say that I have adopted 2 dogs from there recently. One day when I was in there, volunteers were holding scared puppies and working with a very scared pair of sorta-scotties to socialize them. I found out later that one was adopted and the other went to a rescue group for heartworm treatment. On that day, the intake tech was vaccinating owner-surrendered dogs as they came in. Not everyone who works or vounteers there is uncaring or off-balance. Maybe there’s hope.

      3. Thank you for adopting! I am sure you are right that some of the staff are caring people. Unfortunately, the staff doesn’t make policy at the shelter. That’s why a strong leader committed to no kill is so important at any shelter.

    1. No one at MAS has the qualifications to evaluate anything.
      Pepper states over and over, if an animal is timid, it is euthanized.

      1. This is sadly something I hear too often about shelters. Scared=dead. This hits close to home for me since were were brought (by neighbors) an unsocialized puppy who was terribly scared last Thanksgiving. It has taken her months to improve to the point where she will no longer hide on the stoop by the door if I am not with her. She still has a ways to go but she has come a long way already. The thing is, we are trying to reduce the number of dogs we have by letting our old dogs die off naturally. We did not want to add another pet and most definitely not a puppy. But I couldn’t find a no kill shelter with space available and of course could not even consider taking her to a kill shelter. She was not only scared but, like many scared dogs, she snaps. I knew this would be a likely death sentence for her. With no viable alternative, we kept her and she has been a blessing and brought us a lot of happiness. I can’t imagine going through Charlie’s cancer right now without this naughty puppy under foot. And to think that shelter directors like Matthew Pepper would decide she was not even worthy of living just breaks my heart. There are, no doubt, countless dogs just like Mulder in kill shelters all over this country. They deserve to live.

  22. Mr. Pepper, why do I feel like I’m in a time warp when I watch the MAS webcams? All of a sudden we’re back in the 70s in the heyday of shelter killing. That was the shining hour of mass executioners like Ingrid Newkirk. But this is 2011–so where is the adoption coordinator? The rescue coordinator? The weekly transports to no-kill shelters like Northshore and Popcorn that can take large numbers of dogs at a time? Where are the volunteers helping to calm down and socialize those “strays” who don’t even get a chance to catch their breath between getting thrown onto the ACO’s truck and dragged down the aisle 3 days later to their death? You should have rescue groups picking up dogs daily–where are they? I’m not referring to those regressives who call themselves Friends of MAS–let them take care of the cherry-picking which they seem to be handling well enough. I’m talking about real rescue groups moving large numbers of dogs to safety. This is 2011, Mr. Pepper. WAKE UP. Your save rate could be over 90%.

    1. I’m sure you’ll have the same results that many of us are having and he’ll conveniently ‘misplace’ the e-mail and forget to respond…or he’ll just tell you what he thinks you want to hear. Either way do let us know IF/when you hear back from him. I am really curious at to what he has to say, or if he’ll just continue to spout off more BS. I’ve noticed that people who e-mail that tend to have a clue about shelters seem to never hear back from him. Best of luck! And thanks again for sticking with sad as this is if we don’t stick with it I fear what would happen, just when we think it couldn’t get any worse there is always the possibility that it can.

      1. You are correct. It can always get worse.

        I consider the previous MAS Administrator to be better than Pepper. And the previous one was indicted.

        Yes, they both have bad staffs and do nothing to correct them.

        Yes, they both have high kill rates.

        Yes, animals have lost sig. amts. of weight while housed at MAS under both.


        Alexander (who is indicted) stopped the policy of automatically killing all pits. He allowed them to be adopted.

        Most pits under Pepper are deemed timid or aggressive and rarely see the light of day.

        Under Alexander ALL the animals except for the extremely sick/injured or extremely aggressive were allowed to be adopted. They public could walk the entire stray area and place holds on dogs.

        Pepper stopped that and places only 30 or so animals for adoption. THe rest are killed.

        Alexander started the policy to hold owner surrenders for 24 hours to allow the owner time to change his mind.

        Pepper stopped this policy.

        Alexander would give animals to rescues, free of charge.

        Pepper, well we know that he did not allow rescues to save any of the dogs on the initial day of euthanasia.

        Alexander would not allow an animal to be adopted without being neutered unless health was a factor.

        Pepper routinely lets animals go out intact, the owners never to return.

        Alexander tried to limit the power of and impose rules on the Friends volunteers.

        Pepper allows them to do what they want.

        Alexander brought his dog to work with him.

        Pepper, well I have never heard him speak of having a companion animal. I don’t know if he does or not. That says quite a bit.

        So, yes. Things can get worse.
        Pepper – worse than Alexander.

        Just better at hiding it.

  23. And to EVERYONE.

    It is not going to change one thing if only Pepper is removed.

    Pepper is only the head of the snake.
    The body (staff) needs to go also.

    Please call for the removal of Pepper and most of the staff.

    1. @Ethel, I think your comparison of the ousted indicted director with Pepper is very compelling. Pepper’s only selling point was “I’m not the other guy.” Nobody has told him that the public deserves more than just someone who doesn’t get caught. And Pepper wouldn’t be the first director/president who actually didn’t much care for animals and only used them as props–the animal welfare world is more populated by those kind of alleged “leaders” than we would like to think.

      1. @ Susan,
        You have hit the nail on the head.


        Pepper is always at MAS when there is a photo op. He will dress in a dog suit, sit in a dunk tank, go to a baseball game with the adoptable animals.

        But when it is something real, something that can and should be criticized, he is “off” that day.
        Making the calls from his sofa and blaming the Vet. (the very vet who demanded that the employees be forced to do their jobs and help prevent the outbreak)

  24. I hope you don’t mind if I add my two cents as this is my first posting, but I doubt you’ll hear from Mr. Pepper. Your questions are excellent and so is Ethel’s info. My suggestion is to send it all to Channel 24 reporter, Jeni DiPrizio, Email: If she isn’t interested, contact the investigative journalist at each media outlet on TV, the newspaper, and online. Push them to give weekly updates on the status of operations at MAS. Pressure is the only way to make real changes…

  25. “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”
    -Mahatma Gandhi

  26. I have another question for Matthew Pepper, if I may.

    Sir, when new staff is hired, how much training do they receive in the safe and humane handling of animals? Also, what kind of ongoing training do you provide in the safe and humane handling of animals annually?

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