How Are Pets Killed at MAS?

This is a copy of the e-mail I sent to shelter director Matthew Pepper earlier today:

While listening to Mr. Cox speak at the meeting last night, I noticed he said he had saved some of his pets from being killed at the shelter.  He referred to them as being tied to the wall in the kill room.  I have noticed that when workers appear to be rounding up pets for the kill list, they do so speedily – far more quickly than I would think it possible to sedate, humanely euthanize, dispose of and clean up the table before the next pet arrives.  I had figured that there was some sort of holding area inside the kill room where pets were kept.  After hearing Mr. Cox mention dogs being tied to the wall, I’m wondering if you can clarify for me:
Is the kill room divided so that dogs tied to the wall awaiting the needle are prevented from seeing other pets being killed?
Do pets being killed see a wheelbarrow containing bodies of those pets who have been killed before them (or a pile on the floor or however MAS does it)?
I haven’t received a reply at the time of this posting but after reading this comment from reader Ethel, it sounds as if the worst case scenario may be true:

Then the question came up about the fact they have sedatives but don’t use them on every animal, just those that have already gone insane from watching the others killed and left in the room with the dead bodies (I am adding this part because that is what happens, it is all one room).

If accurate, this is completely unacceptable and inhumane.  The shelter killed about 12,000 pets last year under Mr. Pepper’s leadership.  When I think of 12,000 pets watching other pets be killed as they wait their turn to die, I get very angry.  12,000 pets whose last visual in this life is of a pile of dead bodies.

And no one had better raise the specter of “the new shelter”.  I don’t care if the new shelter is going to have a solid gold kill room with a sparkly table and candy-coated floors.  I want to know how 12,000 pets were killed at MAS under Mr. Pepper’s leadership last year.  I want to know how pets are being killed today at MAS.  Because if this is true that they round up the pets on the kill list all at once and leave them tied to the wall in the kill room to watch all the pets ahead of them being killed, there is no excuse.

There is no excuse.

I don’t care if you are running a shelter out of a chicken shack, if you are going to end the life of a pet, you must do it humanely and with compassion.

Please, someone – anyone with knowledge – chime in here and say this isn’t (or is) how it’s done at MAS.  You can make up a name or use the name Anonymous, I don’t care.  Just please verify for us the truth of the situation.  Because if Mr. Pepper has allowed this practice to go on month after month for thousands of pets, I think the public needs to know the truth.  Procedures could have been changed to avoid pets watching other pets being killed.  And to my way of thinking, if the leadership at the shelter had an ounce of compassion in them, those procedures would have been changed.  I’m talking day one, hour one.  No excuses.

Talk about “revealing character”.

34 thoughts on “How Are Pets Killed at MAS?

    1. Considering he didn’t even show up for the first mass kill day because it was his ‘day off’…maybe that would be a fitting punishment! Tie him to the wall for the dog…hell put him in his famous dog suit even! Make him stay there and watch as they kill animal after animal.

  1. Dear God, please let this not be the case. Bad enough that these animals are being killed, but to die like that is beyond comprehension. At least kill them with an ounce of dignity and compassion.

    I’ll be watching very closely for the answer to this one.

    Just when I think it can’t get any worse, it gets worse . . .

    1. Since I haven’t received a response from Mr. Pepper, I went ahead and sent the inquiry to the other folks on the letter campaign list. Hopefully one of them will respond.

    2. How do I post pictures from the webcams- I have a few from today that will break your heart- never once are these dogs treated with any sensitivity, compassion, or kindness…..

      1. when I send the pics to you- my full name won’t appear on this site- correct?

  2. I wonder if he also kill the pets this way when he was the director at the animal shelter in Shreveport, Louisiana. Maybe someone from that shelter would like to add some info here.

      1. COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE! The kill rate…and now method…have BOTH followed Pepper from shelter to shelter. Maybe he is suffering from ‘compassion fatigue’ and needs to take a break – get a job in the private sector for a while…like the rest of his life! Might save a few lives in the process.

        I am NOT impressed with Pepper – and my disgust grows more with each passing day. More layers are revealed and I just don’t ‘like’ him very much…at all.

  3. I’ve considered enough times just going into the shelter, ranting and raving, kicking and screaming, photographing everything and shoving it all in Pepper’s face and ask him why he let my rescue’s cat “accidentally” get killed. And how. And when. And WHERE.

    Would the man know?
    Likely not.
    He’ll probably just “appreciate” my concern. Then I’ll have a few words for his “appreciation”.

    Nothing makes me more mad than MAS nowadays.

  4. He was doing the same damn things at Caddo as he’s doing at MAS. That man needs to find another line of work, hopefully nowhere near a living being, fur or skin.

    Makes me even more worried now for the mama pit and her pups.

    1. On the bright side, at least someone got a picture of these dogs so some people can know they are there and need rescuing. They are not on the “Friends” FB page nor are they on Petfinder but at least their photo got attached to an e-mail at some point. So a few people know about them at least. It’s better than nothing at all. Would be great if every pet in the shelter could have their photo taken and posted online so everyone with internet access could see and possibly help them.

  5. Pepper’s mass killing and weasel words would not be tolerated in ANY well-run organization, but it looks to me like he’s seeking out troubled shelters where he can get away with avoiding a real turnaround by just creating an impression of “order” and calm routine. And underneath it all–ruthless, relentless killing. This guy has got to GO. I don’t believe Memphis is less caring than other communities but they have been taken for a ride by this man. That $92,000 or whatever they’re paying him is blood money. They are NOT getting real improvement at MAS.
    Far from.

  6. Ugh. The more I read, the more sickened I am. YesBiscuit, I so appreciate this blog and at the same time wish I didn’t know some of this stuff. ugh.

    My main beef with the shelter, and one that if changed could possibly stop the euth of so many animals, is that you cant see EVERY dog/cat that is there. Why the hell not? Why does Pepper get to play God and decide who is worthy of adoption? You used to be able to see all the animals, I’ve been there and done it pre-Pepper, so it infuriates me that this has been changed. What if I WANT to adopt a raggedy mix breed that is 10 years old, but Pepper doesnt put that dog out because its not “adoptable”. What if I am looking for a mix breed with a specific look that reminds me of a dog I used to have? Again, I might never know because that dog might be back in the part the public doesnt get to see. Its just BS. That mama pit is just as worthy (as are her pups) as any dog of being given a chance, and the “Friends” cant even be bothered to post her on their precious FB page? UGH. I dont want to hear the line about pits not being adoptable, or only the wrong people wanting them, pits are wonderful, smart, loyal dogs if treated properly and while I get there are far too many thugs out there who should be thrown in the euth room themselves forthe way they treat these dogs, it doesnt mean there arent kind loving people who are willing to adopt and love these dogs just as much as any cute poodle.

    Ok, I will stop ranting now. LOL.

    1. Those are all good points Rose. I would add that some people don’t have a specific agenda when looking for a dog. They just want to walk around and say hello to all the dogs and see which one they “click with” or otherwise feel a special something upon meeting. Likewise, even an adopter with an agenda might come across a dog that’s unlike what they had in mind when they walked in but they just feel that’s the dog for them.

      1. VERY true! Thats how I ended up with a hyper rat terrier, which was never on my “Dogs I’d love to own” list LOL, but I fell in love with her and while she is a lot to handle, I love her to pieces. Sometimes a dog just speaks to you. Also as a mom, temperament of the dog is everything… even though my kids might “want” a cute furry pekingese or something, the mixed breed mutt down the way is better suited for children and once I see him with my kids and how they interact, I know that is the dog for me and take it home.
        There are just so many reasons that what is going on there is NOT the best way to do it. sigh.

      2. Hi Ramblin

        I love to hear about people whose dog adopted them and not the other way around. I say that alot to many an potential adopters that I have faith the right one will adopt them….lol.

        As devils advocate on this board though, what is Mom’s temperament (yes she is in protective Mom mode, but do we know who she was before bred, do they have Dad, and how is his temperament) Things to think about. Unfortunately we are seeing backyard breeding that are not oops litters but dogs being bred for their serious aggression towards people. Sadly even the fighter pits that were bred for that awful sport (if you even can call it that) were bred to be people friendly so you could trust the lines even though there dog to dog aggression was a force to be reckoned their people stability was solid.

        Forgive me if I need to look at not only their potential to be nurtured, but their genetics as a factor to be considered for appropriate foster and new owner placement.

  7. @dogedog–even the most hardened dog fighters who breed for gameness would never claim that you can breed reliably for temperament. It’s hit or miss.
    I don’t believe there’s a whole lot of backyard breeding for aggression toward humans. There’s not a “gene” for that, lol. I’m sure these little pups will be fine if they go to responsible pet owners. It takes a LOT of effort and some real sadism to produce a “fighting” pit–and that’s just dog-on-dog aggression. They have to be beaten, starved and brutalized to become “fighting” dogs. And even then many of them are happy to leave the fighting pit and take up a normal life as someone’s pet. Look at the Vick dogs. BTW good pit rescues are used to assessing temp in puppies and adults–and I don’t mean with a fake hand on a stick.

    1. I have had to go in on more than one fighting raid, the fighter pits are rarely aggressive towards people.

      Some breeders actually cull their dogs if they are aggressive towards people.

      I unfortunately have seen people breeding for just that, people aggression, taking the most people aggressive male with the most people aggressive female on the block (I am talking about dogs that should have been managed themselves and never bred). These dogs are used outside the ring to protect drugs or weapons.

      We get the court case dogs, fighters are almost always placable,with great care taken in regard to the dog to dog aggression. The dogs bred for aggression are far from ok, and sadly their pups retain many of the same traits. That decision isn’t mine to make on life and death that would be our pittie rescues. The pittie rescues in my area evaluate the parents temperament if the parents are available, if both parents are aggressive towards people they will euthanize the litter.

      1. How does a breeder keep and sell dogs that are aggressive toward people? I don’t know how that would work. Are they like “Yes, bite this guy but no, don’t bite that guy, he’s your owner’s friend”? I don’t see how that could be a realistic breeding program. Don’t buyers complain when the dog bites them?

      2. Hmm. This breeding for people aggression might be self-limited. If you got good at it, wouldn’t you have to put an ad in CL saying, “Puppies avail.–need homes ASAP–we can’t hold them off much longer!”
        LOL, I know what you mean, though. There are nasty people out there who want nasty dogs, especially as guard dogs. But I don’t think shelters release those dogs to the public–probably not even to rescues. Most rescues wouldn’t want a slavering maniac of a dog who was trying to bite through the bars of the kennel–kind of off-putting.

      3. I have rarely, meaning ONLY ONCE, had a pit pup whose parents were unknown that I was raising that became people aggressive and had to be put down. I have dealt with pups who’s parents HAVE been human aggressive and NEVER had any problems with the pups, which have gone to normal family homes with and without kids – no problems. Granted they were put through puppy obedience basic classes, as well as evaluated at 3, 6, 9, 12, and 24 months of age and givien additional instructions, if needed, but it has always been basic stuff – NEVER anything like human aggression though.

  8. I still think RESCUEMOM (RescueMarchOnMemphis) is a good idea…esp. after that rat-trap meeting which imho accomplished exactly DICK.

    1. I don’t think it accomplished dick, Morgana. I think it rattled their world just a little seeing that people care how they do their jobs and are willing to stand up and say so.

      Got to keep chipping away! And prove to them that this isn’t just going to go away with platitudes and niceties. The people of Memphis demand and deserve ACTION.

      1. Mikken: I have been through this in my other hometown…they can string you along forever with promises and niceties etc. You got to rock ’em sock ’em to make them understand that this is not acceptable and nobody will stand for it. But whatever. I live in NY, and cannot force my idea on anyone, in fact would not force it on anyone. When y’all want a demo, let me know.

    2. After watching the videos of the meeting – I am SO not impressed with ANYTHING that came up or happened during that meeting. John Cox, may have had his cage ‘rattled’ and that is why he gave his long winded speech about “Ethics”…which basically amounted to more BS spewed forth from a MAS supporter, who also happens to collect a check from them as well.

      I agree Morgana, and think we shouldn’t stop with just a group of people going to a meeting. NOTHING was REALLY resolved. Maybe, we should give them a month or two to see if they are indeed serious about changing for the better. BUT, if they continue on the path they are on without ANY noticable changes THEN we DO need to be ready to do it!

      If I remember correctly- you don’t FB, right? I’ll post on the NoKill Memphis page and see what the thought is on their end, because if this happens I think THEY need to organize it.

  9. As for this method in the kill room, Pepper should have to EAT every animal who has to be killed this way. Then he too should be…oh, never mind. Angry as hell.

  10. There absolutely has to be a way to stop this, we need undercover video of what is happening in this shelter!

    1. Andrea,

      I get where you are coming from but the facts as to whether or not MAS kills pets humanely should be available to the taxpaying public for the asking. I’ve asked but haven’t received any response. Maybe they think I’m the only one that cares and I don’t live in Memphis so they’re blowing me off, I don’t know. Advocates should not have to resort to undercover video in order to get answers from their public servants. Not in America anyway.

      1. Shirley,
        I know you’ve asked Pepper for information. According to an interview he did right after the meeting he must still be researching for your answer.

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