Snapshots from Memphis

“They’re not taking a lot of tail-wagging dogs back to euthanasia.” – quote from a “Friends of MAS” volunteer.

When your shelter is killing thousands of pets a year – 77% of everything that comes through the door – you might want to watch making blanket statements intimating only the sick/sad/bad dogs are killed.  It obviously ain’t so.  And there’s no way it ever could be.  Because most dogs – including those in a shelter – are healthy or have treatable conditions; they’re happy – even if some of them don’t show it inside the scary shelter environment; and they are good.

Don’t all good dogs deserve a chance to live?  I believe that.  I don’t understand why Memphis Animal Services keeps killing and killing without even giving many of these pets a chance.

Although the tail is not visible in this shot, the front half of this pup looks pretty dang chipper.
Never mind the tail wagging - run for it! This dog was recaptured and taken to the kill room.
Tail not wagging, too scared to walk. This dog had to be dragged to the kill room.

Memphis, please – stop the killing.

31 thoughts on “Snapshots from Memphis

  1. Dogs are smart–most don’t wag their tails in the presence of death. A more effective message to the community might be something like “Every day I ‘have to’ kill dozens of dogs who are just like your pet Fido. The only thing these dogs (and cats) lack is a home. Somebody’s potential best friend is getting the blue juice all because the community doesn’t pressure my bosses to find another way. You can pretend that MAS is just humanely disposing of ‘unwanted’ animals but the truth is that 90% of these dogs would make excellent pets–if we just tried harder (or tried at all).”

  2. How can they possibly keep doing this with no accountability?! its insane…and it was so nice of him to take the time to drive the injured animal to Humane Society, and make time for a photo OP?? How many empty cages? at the meeting, he didnt have a clue of any numbers of cages, dogs, etc..who is telling him to do this??? How can he be so uninformed in such a position?

  3. “Don’t all good dogs deserve a chance to live? ”

    Yes, and honestly, almost all the dogs ever are good dogs. My better half says our dogs may not be technically good dogs but they’re good hearted dogs. I hate to imagine others like them being killed for no reason I can see. It’s heartrending.

  4. This is one of the major issues I have with FMAS – the self-delusion that only the bad or the sick or the aggressive animals are being killed.

    Good animals are being killed every day at MAS. Healthy animals. Socialized, vaccinated, spayed/neutered, housetrained animals.

    And it’s happening while cages sit empty. It’s happening while no one bothers to put them up on PetHarbor or advocate for them.

    It’s happening because Matthew Pepper is a weak leader and a poor shelter manager who is not interested in doing anything differently than he’s ever done before.

    77% FMAS. There’s no excuse for that. None.

  5. For the love of mike, dogs in a shelter are under stress – you are expecting them to be peppy and tail-wagging like they’d be in a park?

    What an ignorant, infuriating comment.

  6. What the hell is the media in Memphis – or any other part of Tennessee – doing to spotlight and hold that shit Pepper’s feet to the fire?

  7. To the Friends of Memphis: Get used to THIS: YOU ARE HISTORY because we won’t stop until ya’ll are GONE. Read my lips. I am tired of the bullshit coming from you and Pepper. We will NOT relent until we accompish our goal. Make no mistake – you think you are tough? Well then, let me tell you this: you are in there with the CHAMPS. SAY GOODBYE NOW and save face.

    1. I understand the shelter isn’t perfect however making threats against a nonprofit supporting animals is shameful. Completely inappropriate.

      Why don’t you read their mission and maybe you would see they are trying to make a difference in their community. Maybe a small effort but When everyone comes together and stops bickering then maybe the animals can win.

      Memphis has enough negativity and violence without you help.

      1. Let’s see – I HAVE read their ‘mission’ and while it looks all pretty and makes you ‘feel good’ about the shelter….sorry but YOU are full of shit. ACTIONS speak louder than WORD. Anyone can ‘talk the talk’ – but talk is cheap. I don’t see how you CAN support MAS, unless your head is so far up yoru ass that you can’t see the reality of what is going on at MAS.

        Another FMAS/MAS support that doesn’t ‘get it’. I am so sick of these idiots speaking up for those supporting/doing the killing. Not to mention the fact that they support them even when there is evidence that this shelter is not being managed correctly!

        Shirley – Glad to see that you are removing Ms/Mr Split personality disorder!

      2. In fairness, most of those defending the killing and the enabling were just one person. So there are perhaps fewer idiots than it might seem to you.

    2. I agree. These comments are inappropriate. Faults with how the shelter is operated is not under this groups control. We can disagree with how they run their group however we should respect their efforts and certainly support all of the shelter volunteers.

      1. Alright dumbass, I don’t mind someone posting under a fake name but you have posted under several different fake names, pretending to be different people supporting “Friends”. You are outta here. Uh “all” of you.

      2. Whoever you are, let me tell you this: there was NO violence intended. I a simply telling you that the FRIENDS are supporting and/or being complicit in these murders of animals. We won’t stop until the killing stops. I did not threaten you with anything except PERSISTENCE. Thank you, Shirley.

      3. The COMMENTS are inappropraite? I’m sorry but the TREATMENT of these animals IS what’s really inappropriate! Instead of enabling the behaviors maybe YOU should do something to fix it!

  8. They can’t keep doing this!!! It i sno longer “We have distemper”…they are on kill mode and until Pepper gets fired and they bring in someone who gives a shit this is just going to keep happening. RIP dear animals – we loved you!

      1. Can we start an annual “award” for Worst Shelter Director of the Year? Maybe we could name it in memory of one of the many victims of MAS. We could have a blog and list nominations with top three reasons/quotes why this candidate “deserves” the recognition. Purpose? Sunlight is the best disinfectant…

      2. Susan: Could we call the it the “Pooper Awards”? (Play on the name pepper, and of course, its obvious meaning) heehee

    1. You are right – Pepper didn’t hire himself, BUT he’s also NOT doing his job. Unless his job description says that he is supposed to kill 77% of the animals each years…his job should be managing his employees AND seeing that these animals get homes!

      1. Unfortunately, his job description *does* pretty much say that (kill 77%). Which is why we need to look above Pepper’s head to the elected/appointed officials who think that the status quo is okay (as long as you don’t get indicted.) Not saying Pepper shouldn’t do better–of course he should. Any human being who professed to care at all about animals would want to do far better than killing 3 out of every 4 who have the misfortune to end up at MAS. But the official standards that have been set for him don’t include adopting out more pets–and that is shameful.

      2. Yes – if you have access to his job description I would LOVE to see it. Might help me make a decision on what MY next step is….

      3. Go to
        and start on page 18. These are Pepper’s performance measures (which presumably derive from his job description, or he would have grounds for a labor dispute!) In particular, what I have been remarking on is that the number of animals adopted out (“Encourage human animal bond by providing the community with a pet adoption-placement program; Provide a progressive adoption program accessible to the community”) calls for the same number of adoptions in 2010 (1,980) and in 2011 (1,980). And the increase in pets reunited with owners is miniscule (from 1,200 in 2010 up to 1,320 in 2011). You can’t make a significant change in killing with these expectations and that is why I think Pepper is “supposed to” kill 77% per his job description.

      4. Ok, but whatever happened to “provide a progressive adoption program and make it accessible to the community”??? Keeping the numbers the same does not equal “progressive”. No go, I’m afraid Pepper and Wharton.

      5. And MY OH MY how the positive impacts on the “team” and applicable hours of education have fallen from 20 to 8!
        ” Positively impact
        team morale and
        Provide applicable
        training opportunities to
        employees of Animal
        Hours of
        training to
        employees of
        Animal Services
        8* 20* 8″

      6. Thank you for posting that Susan.

        Interesting – straight from the description for MAS “…protects
        animals from mistreatment and abuse.” Yet, those who are supposed to do this are the ones the animals need protected from!

        I read through it…it appears you are correct…low expectations are all Pepper is being measured against. Now that I know what his “job” entails I KNOW I can do better. The more I read, watch, hear, see..the more I think Pepper needs to be replaced RIGHT NOW, along with Mayor Wharton.

        Makes me think more & more about Mikken’s suggestion of anyone who thinks they can do better to step forward with their game plan and go directly to the Mayor with the proposal. Any dumbass could do better than what Pepper is doing…maybe I would be a good dumbass for the job?!?!

  9. Erica Says:

    April 25, 2011 at 12:28 pm
    Any dumbass could do better than what Pepper is doing…maybe I would be a good dumbass for the job?!?!

    While I’m not sure I would word it quite that way in your proposal to the Mayor, I say, go ahead and make a bid for the position.

    1. I talked it over with the fiance and he’s going back and forth over such a major move. But the more I think about it the more I KNOW I can do better – clean that place out and get properly trained people that WILL appreciate having a job. I’m digging through more info before I set up a proposal. Now that I have Pepper’s job description it will help.

      If anyone has ideas, suggestions, anything to help me set up a proposal please e-mail me at…thanks!

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