Here’s Something You Don’t Read Every Day

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

I brought this up from the comments because I think it’s worthy of highlighting.  A reader who appears to be familiar with the Memphis Animal Shelter made this comment on a previous post and she goes on to explain her opinion:

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.

Well blow me down. When animal advocates find themselves longing for the bad old days, I think that should give us all pause. MAS really needs to clean house.

19 thoughts on “Here’s Something You Don’t Read Every Day

  1. So this shelter has gone from horrible to more horrible? So where are the people of Memphis to demand that enough is enough already? Why is Pepper getting paid so well (with your tax money) to do a job worst than the last man? Maybe you need to get rid of whomever hired Mr. Pepper too!

    1. That would be the Mayor. And he takes great pride in his selection of Pepper.
      He feels he is taking MAS from “the worst to the first”.

      The people of Memphis, for the most part, feel they have bigger fish to fry. High crime, a school administration that has surrendered it’s charter, etc.

      Many of the rescues and animal people believe the good press that MAS spews.

      Many of the rescues are scared to say anything for fear of the “Friends”.

      Just a few days ago a “Friend” drove to the workplace of a person who dared to mildly criticize MAS, went to his boss and complained about him.
      This is the action of a bully.
      If the “Friend” is willing to go to that extreme over a mild criticism, the rescues know they will be placed on the “no adopt list” if they speak up.

  2. Whoever wrote that comparison between the old admministrator and the new one (Pepper)has hit the nail on the head. How scary that, when looking at what both have accomplished (or not) – the lesser of two evils was Ernie Alexander…..I wish I knew how to get that whole place cleaned out – start fresh with new employees and new administrator ….If someone has any ideas on this, please share! Brilliant post!

  3. Holy hel…uh, well, you get the point. Anyway, I have NO experience running a shelter (working at them, working on boarding kennels, taking care of a group of my own, sure thing)… and I’m willing to bet that I could do better than this by a HUGE BIG amount!

    And they could probably pay me a whole lot less.

  4. When I tried to share this on my Facebook wall, THIS is what I got:

    “You are trying to post content on Facebook that has been marked as abusive. You may request to have this block lifted from Facebook by contacting us below. Please note that we’re unable to reply to every bug report at this time, but we may contact you for more details about the issue as we investigate the report.”

    I thought, WTF…. and THIS is how I filled out my report:

    Article: Here’s Something You Don’t Read Every Day, April 9, 2011


    The public has a right to know what their tax dollars are doing! Looking at the history of the “shelter” the article is about (MAS), I believe whoever blocked this content probably helps run the place and doesn’t want bad publicity.


    I STILL can’t believe I was blocked from sharing this!! Was there a change to that Freedom of Speech thing that I missed somehow? Hope this helps OTHERS share the article….

      1. i got the same thing when i tried to share. I copied the URL and pasted it as a link.

  5. What infuriates me is that if they put HALF the effort that it takes to spin the PR of this place into actually doing something for the animals, they’d be SAVING LIVES.

    A placating website and a rah-rah FB group does not a shelter make.

  6. @ YesBiscuit: Hmmmm, I wonder who might’ve done that?

    @mikken: What you said!

    This is one sick, sad world….

  7. Half of the crap on here is a pile of lives. Mr. Alexander did charge rescues for the dogs they rescued. Pits were not allowed to be adopted from the shelter under Alexander’s watch. It was Mr. Pepper that got that started but he does require that a background check and home visit be done in order to adopt a pit. Before, under all of the previous directors if a pit or pit mix came into the shelter unless it was reclaimed by it’s owner it had a death sentence.

    Oh, for those that don’t know it, yes, Mr. Pepper has a dog, he adopted it from the shelter.

    I could tell you some real horror stories about dogs our rescue adopted from the shelter under Alexander’s watch. One, including a dog that was brought to an adoption event, wasn’t adopted out so we took it at the end of the day. (yes, we paid the adoption fee) This dog still had stitches from being neutered only problem was, he had not been neutered. Just cut open and restitched by the vet.

    I would like to see the evidence you have that any dog is being starved at the shelter since Mr. Pepper has taken over. He walks the stray area at least 4 times a day. Alexander did good if he did it once a week.

    1. Are you watching the webcam? How can you even believe that these animals are treated humanely? Sorry, but a picture is worth a thousand words and I’ve seen more than enough to see that MAS is clearly not a “shelter” but more of a killing factory!

  8. It seems that if Pepper walked the stray area at least 4 times a day, there would at least be one photo of him doing that.

    So far, I have only seen one photo of him, dragging a dog to the ER area.

    You are unfortunately mistaken in your assertion that Pepper started the adoption of pits. That was Alexander and was stated by him, on the record. In fact, that practice continued post-raid before Pepper was even hired.

    On numerous occasions Alexander gave rescues animals for free.

    The five dogs owned by Mr. Morgan (whose wife committed suicide because all her animals were removed) all left the shelter weighing between 15 – 25 pounds less than the weight they weighed when they were impounded by the shelter. That is available through the Tennessee State open records act and the vet who treated them when they left the shelter.

    I am glad to hear that Pepper has a dog. Funny he has never mentioned it at any meeting of the ones I have attended.

    And I believe your vehement defense of Pepper proves what most on this site have been writing.
    Some of the volunteers are rather brain-washed.

    Also, if Pepper cares so much, why did he not go to the shelter on the Saturday that he ordered the mass euthanasia?

    That act, in and of itself, does not point to a caring person who walks the strays area 4 times a day.

  9. @linda, I guess you meant to type “pile of lies” but
    “pile of LIVES” is the real truth. Funny how reality can pop out like that in a typo. Pepper’s policy changes have cost a pile of lives, for sure.

  10. I live in Memphis. I am sorry, the previous director(Alexander) was horrible. A puppy starved to death, in front of people, not just the director. They DID not allow adoptions of pits, period–I know we tried multiple times. Drugs were stolen,dog food stolen, multiple dogs “disappeared”, money stolen, adoptions were horrible, no on site adoptions, ever. I would be interested to hear also if they had mass euthansia for distemper under his watch and it just never made the news, since no one seemed to care.

    It took that poor puppy on the front page of the paper to get change, is it perfect? no. They still need more education on humane policies, better vaccination polices amoung others.

    Is it better? yes. The have raised adoptions mutiple times, adopt out pitbulls with a home/background and fence check and do on site adoptions. I don’t care if Mr. Pepper has animals at home or if he has a whole houseful. What I care about is how he does his job.

    Mr. Pepper is dealing with an extremely difficult facility, no money, bad staff at times, overcrowding and budget cuts. If Alexander was so wonderful, why did he FLEE town after the raid on facility? The marshals had to bring him back from Arizona to face court. And yes, I will be at the advisory board meeting tonight.

    1. Under Matthew Pepper, 3 out of 4 pets in the shelter’s care are being killed. Regardless of whether the previous guy was a living saint or personally beat every pet in the shelter daily, the current killing is unacceptable.

      1. And if it’s a staff problem, fire them and hire new. In this economy, the man surely has his pick of plenty of applicants!

      2. Yes, it is. I was disagreeing with the Ethel’s post, pepper vs. alexander.

        As for the staff, I also agree, but Memphis has to be one of the oddest places I’ve ever lived, when it comes to some folks work ethic and habits.

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