Compare, Contrast and Call Out

Memphis Animal Services serves Shelby Co which has a population of  920,000.  MAS intake for 2010 was 15,400.  They killed 11,900.  Washoe Co, NV saves 90% of their pets even though they take in about the same number of pets as MAS.  A few comparisons:

  • MAS RTO:  6% (not broken down by dogs/cats)
  • Washoe Co RTO:  65% for dogs, 7% for cats (works out to 36% if dogs/cats combined)

I mention Washoe Co because I think the powers that be in Memphis would do well to learn from their success. But if for some reason Washoe Co isn’t good enough for you, try learning from Austin, TX.  They are saving pets there too, even though advocates had to fight massive resistance from the naysayers.

Speak of the devil…

“Friends” says:

Last year almost 16,000 animals were taken into the shelter. That is 308 animals a week! If we tried to adopt all of them out it would take 61 adoptions a day. We wish we were in a position to find that many homes.

Oh crud.  Someone’s been smoking that funny math again in Memphis.

Using the figures from the MAS 2010 report, the shelter took in about 296 pets per week.  If 36% of those were returned to their owners before impound, like they do in Washoe Co, that would be 107 less pets at the Memphis shelter each week.  Of the total intake per week, let’s say 10% are medically hopeless and suffering or are vicious dogs.  That would mean 30 less pets to find homes for because they would have been euthanized.  That leaves 159 pets coming into the shelter each week.  Some of them will be feral cats, eligible for the TNR program (which MAS does not have but I hope will soon) so that will be even fewer pets to find homes for.  Rescues and fosters will take some of the pets too.  But for the sake of discussion, let’s go with the premise put forth by the “Friends” – that we have to find homes for all of them.  And we’re only working 5 days a week at it (since that is how the “Friends” calculated their figures).

159 pets each week divided by 5 days=32 adoptions per day.  There are nearly 1 million people in Shelby Co.  And there are millions more on the internet doing rescue, crossposting, arranging transports, etc.  Do you think 32 pets a day could be saved at MAS if you listed every pet in need online, had a strong foster program and worked with rescues?  It seems very doable to me.  Even more so if they put a TNR program in place and recruited enough volunteers that there would be people working on saving pets 7 days a week.  If the staff at MAS and their “Friends” don’t think they can save all the healthy/treatable pets at the shelter, maybe it’s time to get some people in there who can.

Memphis, please – stop the lying.  Stop the excuses.  Start saving pets’ lives.

A reader sent in this shot of a dog in the MAS adoption area taken this past Saturday. The dog reportedly sat in this dirty kennel for at least an hour while MAS staff members walked by, not cleaning the kennel. The person left in disgust without adopting a dog.

Leave a comment

27 Comments

  1. Jeanne

     /  May 10, 2011

    Look at that mess, would ya? It won’t be like that in the NEW BUILDING, no siree. I know because I just got word from Friends of MAS! SO excited to pass this on! No sh*t!

    –begin quote from Friends FB–

    The new shelter will also be a really lovely place to visit and look for a new companion.

    Let us get back to helping the animals that find themselves in the Memphis Animal Shelter. They are counting on all of us to help find them new homes. Please don’t let the negative postings keep you from coming to the shelter to adopt. The animals need us, and staying away is not helping them find homes.

    Please let’s keep the comments down, and let’s work towards finding homes for all the fabulous pets needing homes!!

    Reply
    • Gee they fail to mention just HOW EXACTLY we could find homes for all the fabulous pets in need when they keep most of their pets behind locked doors and don’t list them online. Still, I’m giving it a whirl. Ya never know.

      Reply
  2. Nathan J Winograd

     /  May 10, 2011

    32 adoptions a day x 5 days = 160 adoptions per week. 160 adoptions per week x 52 weeks = 8,320 a year. That is fewer adoptions than occurred in Washoe County with half the population. In other words, it wouldn’t even be that hard.

    Even if you took Friends of MAS at face value (you shouldn’t), 61 adoptions a day x 5 days = 305 per week. 305 adoptions per week x 52 weeks = 15,860 per year. Comparing for population with Washoe County and then comparing adoptions per capita, if MAS did the same level of adoptions as they do in Washoe County, they should be adopting out about 21,349 per year. In other words, adopting out 15,860 a year wouldn’t be that hard.

    There is no excuse.

    Reply
    • Math show off!

      Full disclosure: I had help from this dear commenter on figgering the math in this post.

      Reply
    • Nathan J Winograd

       /  May 10, 2011

      Correction: It would be damn near impossible for MAS to adopt out 15,860 animals a year, since they take in less than that. In other words, if MAS was doing its job, it would be importing thousands of animals from other communities to meet adoption demand.

      Once again, there is no excuse.

      Reply
      • Importing thousands of animals to meet adoption demand? I think Matthew Pepper just fell out. *thud*

  3. Arlene

     /  May 10, 2011

    Just get the chokepole and pull him out of the way! It’s what he and his staff would do.

    Reply
    • db

       /  May 10, 2011

      Thanks, Arlene, for a much needed chuckle. Love the image of Mr Pepper being dragged by a choke pole down the hallways past the dogs . . . and I’ll bet the dogs would finally have something to smile about.

      Reply
      • Arlene

         /  May 10, 2011

        For sure! Especially if it was down the row of canine two. Oh…wait…that’s the adoption and outdoor kennels. Wouldn’t want that!!!!!!

  4. Arlene

     /  May 10, 2011

    Just get the choke pole and pull him out of the way! It’s what he and his staff would do.

    Reply
  5. Lynne Parker

     /  May 10, 2011

    “The person left in disgust without adopting a dog.”

    Thereby punishing no one but the dog. How sad.

    Reply
    • I’m grateful the person snapped the shot and sent it in. That says to me that the person cares about improving conditions for pets at MAS. Maybe they adopted a dog from another shelter, one that doesn’t give the impression to the public that their pets are “things”, I don’t know.

      Reply
  6. This is completely uncalled for. A poor animal caged up and being made to lay in filth. The people running this place should be charged and made to lay in their own sh**. An animal deserves so much better than that! If you are gonna take them off the street and/or away from an abuser, TAKE CARE OF THEM!!! Love, food, clean living area!! They are NOT IN JAIL.

    Reply
    • Many years ago I worked at a vet clinic with a simple rule: If you walk past a dirty cage, clean it. That little rule has stayed in my mind for all these years.

      Reply
      • Arlene

         /  May 10, 2011

        Gee! Maybe we should be more understanding. After all, they all worked so hard cleaning, cleaning, cleaning and cleaning some more the other day that they are worn out.

  7. beth

     /  May 10, 2011

    Looking at that picture- don’t mean to be gross, but that sure is a lot of poop – I bet that stuff was there WAY before that potential adopter got there – looks like 2 meals worth……just sayin’ ….Karma, MAS workers, Karma!

    Reply
  8. scarlett

     /  May 10, 2011

    Disgusting enough to make a dog live like that for health reasons, but the psychological toll it has taken on this poor dog that likely wants to do his/her business outside and doesn’t want to be around it is pure animal abuse!! Beyond disgraceful!!

    Reply
  9. vida

     /  May 10, 2011

    Typical and still horribly sad. Why bother picking up after a dog you’re going to slaughter soon? Why treat him well, it will only make it harder to slaughter him. You might come to care about him, and then see him slaughtered. I really think ‘no kill’ is the only remedy for this rotten cycle of cruelty. Slaughter isn’t a good job for retaining empathy or mental health. Check out some interviews with slaughter house workers, it creates horrors for animals and people.

    Reply
  10. CristyF

     /  May 10, 2011

    Um wow. You think that is “filty”? How anal are some of you? How many of you have ever worked in a kennel situation? I mean EVER? Dogs can and do crap that much at once, depending on the food they are fed. Many commerical pet foods are chock full of grains. Grains = poop fuel. I should introduce you to a certain dog at the rescue shelter I work for. She likes to crap and then spread it EVERYWHERE in the morning during feeding time (I mean floor, walls, chain link above the metal walls, chain link door). The kennels are rinsed, soaped, scrubbed and hosed once a day every day (and two dogs on a certain line are done at least twice a day because they get themselves so danged dirty). After the morning cleaning, the dogs are scooped throughout the day as we see it. But we have other things to do besides stand there and watch dogs poop so we can pick it up immediately; like maintaining the facilities and grounds, and vaccinating and microchipping animals, and unloading deliveries of dog food, for example. On a busy day, a dog just *might* be in the same run as his poo for an hour if we’re currently involved in a project with the boss.

    Again, I am not defending MAS, just trying to offer a little perspective. IMO, one pile of poop in an otherwise clean-looking kennel does not constitute “filty”. There is a reason some dogs are called “poop dancers” or “artists”. Plus, we aren’t there 24/7. If a dog poops during the night, it sits there until its scooped at 7:30am. I worked at a kill shelter once, and I remember a hound mix who, right after I would finish cleaning his run, would have diarrhea and pee all over it, and smear it everywhere. I would end up having to clean his run several times throughout the day. It was terrible.

    Reply
    • CristyF

       /  May 10, 2011

      *filthy

      I wish this had an edit button! lol

      Reply
      • Tell The Truth

         /  May 10, 2011

        CristyF, I have been at the MAS several times when the dogs and puppies are lying in their own excrement. This is just not an image captured in time and we don’t know what happened before or after the image was captured. This is cold, hard reality and life every day at the MAS. These employees could care less about these dogs. If they did, they would be a lot more compassionate. I have changed newspapers in the puppies cages that are just soaked in urine. Not just once but several times. I have refilled water bowls that have feces in them. This is a hell hole and I hate the fact that poor, innocent animals are there because humans are too stupid to spay and neuter their pets or too irresponsible to care for them.

      • CristyF

         /  May 12, 2011

        I’m sure MAS isn’t a nice place. I’ve seen the pictures here of them hosing cages with animals inside, and carrying puppies by the neck scruff, etc. I am stating that this picture does not constitute cruelty. The dog isn’t laying in his waste. He is laying next to his waste. Yeah the pic makes me want to grab my trusty scooper from work and pick that up real quick, but it doesn’t make me scream OMG POOP IN A RUN, HOW HORRIBLE.

        BTW that kuranda bed looks a little slanted because that run looks too small for it. It looks perfectly usable to me, I guess the dog is laying on concrete by his own choice. They do that, you know. Our kennels have two parts, an inside and an outside, divided by a guillotine door. Some dogs like to drag their blankets outside and lay on them on the concrete. Some dogs like to lay on the concrete by itself, especially the long-coated ones during the summer time.

        It sounds to me like everyone at MAS needs to be fired, and new people hired that will 1. Implement proper cleaning protocols and schedules, and 2. actually try out some or maybe even all of Nathan Winograd’s way to becoming no-kill. Nothing is going to change until all those people are gone, because they obviously don’t care about animals, or about anything people say about what they do.

  11. Jessica

     /  May 11, 2011

    Wow, my heart keeps breaking more and more after seeing these pics (and that includes the ‘shelter of the day dogs’ too just sitting there looking depressed). I understand that shelters are busy and not able to pick up poop right away, but the reason why I am so annoyed with this is that MAS claims like they clean all the time and cleanliness is at the top of their priority when it comes to killing healthy dogs (so they dont get sick) and then cleaning the cages with the dogs in them and yet when the dog is in it and not being cleaned, hes forced to stay in his own filth. If this was an otherwise safe shelter, I wouldnt care as much, but its just 1 more thing to add to the list. And to know that this poor dog MIGHTVE had a chance of getting out, which in and of itself is a miracle, but couldnt because the SHELTER didnt clean the cage (its not like the dog can do it himself), that makes me really sad!!

    Reply
  12. I think the part of the last picture that’s more disturbing is that the thoughtfully provided Kuranda bed is slanted and probably unusable, leaving poor little pittie with few options but to lay in her own fecal matter.

    I’m a regular shelter volunteer and sometimes, well, sh*t happens. I’ll always stop and clean a pooped kennel, but sometimes you don’t always notice them right away when you’re doing a bunch of other things. However, all our dogs are provided with ample space to avoid poop unless they happen to be a poop dancer.

    Reply
  13. Regular volunteer at my own shelter, in PA. Not at MAS.

    Reply
  14. Ona Cooper

     /  May 11, 2011

    Washoe County Return To Owner rate is 65% for dogs!!! Now that’s the way to do it. They use Chameleon software to get all the strays pictures and citizen “found reports” on the Internet ASAP so owners can find their lost pets. Chameleon is the same software that Memphis has but Memphis refuses to use it to post strays with pictures on the Internet.

    Here are the excuses Memphis uses for not posting all the strays:
    1) Photographing and logging the strays is just not possible due to time constraints due to the numbers of dogs and cats.
    2) It would be a full time job for someone, and there is just not the staff to have someone make it their job.
    3) The strays are not property of the city until the 72 hour holding time is up so handling them is another issue.
    4) Moving into the new shelter may also make it eventually possible. (the new shelter?)

    Washoe County told me taking the pictures is simple and easy to do and they did not have to hire an extra person to take them.

    I do not understand why Memphis would rather kill animals than to return them to their homes.

    Reply
    • db

       /  May 11, 2011

      Ona, I think that most of those who could change things at MAS simply don’t care enough to do it! They keep putting out excuses why they can’t/won’t and to me that’s a choice they are making! “Easier” to just hold’em and then kill’em.

      Reply

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