How to Handle a Scared Dog at MAS

I like this ACO. He always seems to be kind to the dogs he brings in. Today he brought in this dog who was apparently too scared to walk on a leash. I’m posting this so we can all take heart that not everyone at MAS is cruel to pets and as a tutorial in case other MAS staff want to see how it’s done.

Step 1: Pick up your little pancake, supporting him with your arms and your body and carry him to his kennel.

Step 2: Gently place the dog inside the kennel.

Step 3: Once the dog is inside, get down on his level and talk to him for a minute to reassure him that everything is all right.

Any questions?

67 thoughts on “How to Handle a Scared Dog at MAS

  1. Hmmm. Looks like we know who to put in charge down there at least for the short term while they fire everyone else.

  2. Is that one of the new guys? Can we put him in charge of training all the other staff?!

  3. I saw this too and was very impressed and thankful for the way he handled the dog. I also saw him go back and check on the dog. Yes, this is how it is supposed to be done. :-)

  4. A good example of how it should be done. Either he won’t last long, or get in trouble for treating the dogs humanely. Sorry. Sarcasm. Is there anything at all being done about these people?

    1. I know you said you are being sarcastic… but that is probably closer to the truth than you think. Sad.

  5. I am in total agreement regarding the compassion this ACO shows to the dogs he brings in. I, also, have seen him on several occassions stop in front of a kennel, bend down, and give a dog some of his time. One truly gets the feeling that he really cares about the animals – we need to find out his name and thank him!!! He has my vote, too, to train the other employees how to be kind to the dogs. However, not sure that the ones that are there now, have that capability! Thank you Mr. Blonde ACO!

  6. His name! We need his name! THIS is the man I want teaching the others.

    This man sees the animals he handles as PETS not THINGS.

    We need to shout his name from the rooftops!

    1. Yes! I want his name so I can send him a card by snail to the shelter!!! HOORAY – finally, a hero where there were only villains…

      1. I assume you mean ‘snail MAIL’ – although yours could be infinitely more interesting, especially if he is equipped with a snailcam before he starts out on his journey.

      2. I’ve already got it all worked out in my mind – the wee helmet cam so we can follow his progress, the wee saddlebags containing your note, the wee compass in case it’s a cloudy night and he needs help navigating…

  7. IDK how long he’s been there but I’ve been getting screenshots of him for all these weeks. I couldn’t help but be skeptical at first (you know – the second before and after thingy) but I’ve seen him handle many dogs kindly now and have come to cheer up whenever he makes an appearance.

  8. Let’s hope he doesn’t get fired, after the powers-that-be see that he’s given a few moments and kindnesses to the animals!

    1. That was my first thought, too. They’ll either fire him for being too kind, or to spite Shirley.

    2. OMG for sure……son’t stop doing what u’re doing..whomever u r. u’re doing the RIGHT THING

    1. Me too. And you know what’s amazing? This officer didn’t need to wait for the new shelter to open to start being kind to pets. He was able to do it right there in the old, run down building. Hmmm. I wonder what other good things could be accomplished in the current facility.

      1. Yeah. We can only hope and pray. And hope he doesn’t get fired for being “too kind”. >_>

  9. This is good to see. I agree with those that remind us that you can only tell so much from screenshots taken every 15 seconds. However, I have been volunteering at my local municipal shelter for two years and I can count on one hand the number of times that I’ve seen (or even heard of) our kennel attendants needing to use a choke pole. It’s crazy to see MAS apparently using this tool as the de facto method to move dogs around the shelter.

  10. I just want to hug him! This kind of attitude helps me feel like maybe there will be some hope eventually, and that it CAN WORK OUT. I think my next few letters will include major kudos to this unnamed employee and point out how overjoyed it would make so many people (and especially animals!!!) to have everybody acting like this.

    1. Exactly Michy. I would love to be able to post webcam shots from MAS regularly as an example of the way shelter pets SHOULD be cared for. As things stand, they are in the ‘horrible warning’ category.

  11. YAY! Finally something cheerful! I agree, it would be nice to know his name so that he can be praised (perhaps as part of the letter writing campaign?)

  12. Thank you, thank you and thank you!! I almost cried when I saw the pics… Finally somebody is being nice to those poor animals!

  13. His name is Jon. He’s great with the dogs and always seems to be in a pleasant mood. He’s almost always in the back, which is good for the dogs, but unfortunate that customers don’t get to interact with him much. I doubt you see him on the webcam often because he truly is all over the place, doing a bit of everything, all day. He’s always moving!

      1. I can find out tomorrow. Don’t know off the top of my head. I do like the suggestion of employee incentives below. Maybe that’s something I could work on…

  14. I have seen this young man in action, and have thanked him in person for caring. He is always the way you see him on the camera. He should definitely train the others. I will see that he gets recognized when I am in there next Tuesday.

    1. What a relief I didnt think MAS had anyone like him. I think he should manage the shelter and get rid of the others. I dont think most of the workers at MAS could be retrained. Its obvious most people at MAS dont like animals. I am sure we would all agree he should get the main job :)

      1. I was pretty much going to say the same thing that Annette did. Its great to know that at least one person cares enough to do their job properly and humanely at MAS (not excluding maybe some volunteers or something of course).

  15. Make Jon shelter employee of the month or maybe for the year with this shelter. Give him a bonus — enough for a pizza and a beer and to rent a movie?

    What about the local pet rescue groups getting together and asking local businesses for gifts/coupons/donations to give out once a month to the best shelter worker. An incentive bonus for work well done or going out of the way to help the animals a little extra? Send out monthly press releases to the local media about the person winning the bonuses, why they were chosen, and some information about no-kill and how to get there. Let the Memphis public servants know that they are being watched and judged and will be rewarded for jobs well done that benefit the shelter animals and the public.

    1. Good ideas Joni. Wouldn’t it be fun if all the staff was trying to outdo each other in acts of kindness at the shelter in hopes of being captured on the webcams and winning the prize? Like one brings in a steak dinner from home for a stray dog, another is giving massages to the kittehs…

  16. Yea! Thank you SO much for sharing these photos…it is so disheartening to read post after post and find link after link of negativity and apathy, cruelty and mismanagement.
    Kudos to Jon. May he continue to help the animals as part of his job and may it somehow help others to pay attention and improve.

  17. Oh my. That seriously brought tears to my eyes. That poor thing! I pray he/she gets a home!! Thank God someone is kind there.

  18. thank you Jon – and Yesbiscuit – Shirley you must be sprouting wings by now.

  19. Really refreshing. It only takes an additional second or two to treat these animals with some compassion. Thank you for sharing.

  20. How absolutely terrible is that this brought literal tears to my eyes? Seeing that young man display such kindness shouldn’t be such cause for celebration because it should be seen all over the shelter.

    How painful it must be for him to work with the others who seem so callous…

    1. I do hope he stays on and doesnt get replaced because of his kindness when such cruelty is rife at MAS.

      It is painful to see the horrible things happening on a daily basis at MAS, and I truely felt for this young man and I thank him for giving us some hope :)

  21. The employee is ACO John Morgret. He is one of three very good animal control officers.

    He was trained by ACO Lynch, who carries rawhide treats, milkbones and water bowls in her truck for the animals in the field. She also trained ACO Benton, who also shows a great level of kindness towards the animals.

    I have written numerous letters regarding the good works and compassion displayed by these officers, lol, but no parade so far.

    ACO Morgret applied for the Field Supervisor position but was passed over for an ACO who did not have a great work record and has been shown in several photos dragging the dogs on catch poles.

    MAS rewards the workers who display the least regard and compassion for animals and a bad work ethic.

    1. I know the bad out way the good at MAS, but am pleased after such a long time to see and read something good about MAS.

      Anyway Lisa has set up the facebook group and we would like everyone to join pleaseeees :)

    2. Officer Benton is the ACO who was on the Friends FB page recently–she rescued a kitten after a dog attacked it and then made sure it got treated for its injuries at the Humane Society–I think because the pound doesn’t offer treatment? Anyway, they posted a photo of her holding the kitten–very caring and kind.

    3. Any chance of changing the name on the Facebook group? Not trying to be picky, but “People Against Memphis Animal Services” seems hurtful to the three heroes (Morgret, Lynch, and Benton) and others whose names we don’t know who need all the support we can give them as islands of kindness in a sea of heartlessness. It can be very disheartening for staff to feel hated. I don’t want to be against something–I want to be for something: “People for a New Era at MAS” or “Save Lives at MAS” or “Reform MAS Now.” Just my opinion, of course.

      1. Hi Susan, I agree, will ask Lisa to change after all we are people against Memphis Animal Services and not memphis in general and its clear today that there are some kind people that work there :)

      2. How about People Who Support People WHo Support MAS Animals? I know its long…but I would LOVE to find a way to honor those three workers!

      3. “People Who Support People Who Support MAS Animals” lends itself to a nice acronym of “PWS [squared–I can’t format a superscript 2 in this blog!] MAS Animals” And “PWS” can also stand for “People Will Save” [MAS Animals]–if the administration just reaches out for help–something they certainly didn’t do during the parvo outbreak.

  22. [waving hand in air] I can answer that one! Mayor Wharton, being a reformer and redeemer and all, is something of a celeb and has his own Wikipedia entry which says:

    “Most people remember Mayor Wharton’s first day in office because of his pre-dawn visit to the Memphis Animal Shelter, which was being raided by Shelby County Sheriffs. Within a matter of weeks, the animal shelter had been transparently repaired and reformed, with new leadership and a new advisory board of community members.”

  23. Don’t know how someone with those credentials (on wikipedia) can allow this to go on at the “shelter”! Maybe he wrote his own bio?

    1. heh, or had his staff write it. But that really was what he did on his first day in office–a little drama for the media. What a sham.

      According to some of the posts here from people who remember the previous director, conditions are actually WORSE in many ways now! And that was the director who got indicted.

  24. I volunteer at MAS…I’m one of the good ones lol
    I don’t know Jon’s last name either but he has been an ACO for a while 3-4yrs. We didn’t see him because he was on the night shift.
    I would like to say their are others there that CARE about the animals !!
    Stacy is one of my favorites ! You should see how the animals she is responsible for respond to her and she works alot in the vicious/bite cases !! For example, a dog was brought in under a bite investigation that turned out in a good way. The owner of that dog was so pleased with the care & compassion Stacy show her pet during it’s stay at MAS they sent her flowers for Valentines Day.
    Yes there are many that SHOULD NOT be working with the animals however there is a good group that does & I know it’s very hard for them to see this too !!!
    I haven’t really commented but when I saw this I had too to share !!!

    1. Yep. There’s good and bad in everything.
      Since we are dealing with frightened, stray or deserted animals…some abused or neglected, it should just be the empathetic, compassionate people who work with them. Thanks, too, to all the regular volunteers who work countless hours.
      They are good people.

  25. I happened to see the following quote on “Friends of MAS” Facebook page today and found it irksome: “People just have to have their pets spayed/neutered and learn that our pets are lifetime commitments. So many are surrendered for convenience rather than a true need of a new home.” Oh, yes, it’s that Irresponsible Public again. Now I am Ms. Spay/Neuter herself but s/n will never end the need for shelters. One person’s “convenience” is another person’s homelessness. Some people are proud and will make up a reason that sounds lame to us in order to disguise the real reason why they feel compelled to surrender (e.g., they are in a domestic violence situation and want to protect the animal.) I’m not saying that there aren’t some people who don’t value their pets but that is the rare exception rather than the norm. What is MAS doing to help keep animals in homes and to educate (not punish) people about their obligations? Are they offering behavior/training clinics so that a dog with bad manners can learn to be a good companion? Do they maintain a list of housing that allows pets so that those who must move won’t have to give up their pet? How about a pet food bank for those who feel they must surrender a pet because they have fallen on hard times? Can we replace blame with help?

    1. This is one reason I hate to even have to deal with telling people that I have to re-home one of my dogs. People want to be SO fast to point the finger and claim I am irresponsible etc… when I’ve spent thousands of dollars and countless hours upon hours trying to work out the unresolved aggression between two of my dogs, and it appears that it’s not going to work. So not only am I going to have to give up one of my beloved family members, but people are trying to make me feel like crap for doing it!

    2. Susan-
      I completely agree. Some people simply cant afford to S/N, that really isnt their fault. Also, some dogs may run away accidentally, get pregnant by another stray dog and then theres a dog and 8 puppies for the shelter to take in. I dont necessarily think thats the previous owners fault. Plus, there are always dogs that get displaced during natural disasters, they need someplace to go. In addition, some owners may die and dont have any place for the dog to go and no other family members. In fact, heres a dog whose owner died and the family didnt want him:

  26. This ACO should get a medal of honor — thank you for noticing. If there is any way to find out who this angel of a guy is, it would be very much appreciated.

  27. To ACO’s Morgret, Lynch and Benton: May the Lord bless you and keep you and the animals you care for! (Sorry, the snail quit over labor issues. Namely, the lenthy slime trail to get from upstate NY to Memphis).

  28. i believe theres a culture at many shelters which encourages shelter employees to act tough with the animals; did you notice in the ‘kill the kitty’ video how anxious the guy facing the camera seemed to be to please his boss and follow her lead? maybe when the leadership at mas is improved some of these ‘tough guys’ can be temperament tested to see if they can be retrained by lynch, benton, and morgret

  29. Since there seems to be more than one pet rescue group that helps out pets at this shelter why can’t they post some of these shelter pets on their petfinder page with a shot pet bio, a photo, and where the pet is located? I used to belong to a tiny rescue group that would do that before our local shelter didn’t post to petfinder. One of the caring ACO would check over our shelter pet listings and tell us when to remove a pet from the list.

    1. Joni,

      A good idea and thank you for offering that service to your shelter. I think there are a few additional considerations at MAS. First off, the shelter has already paid for the software which would enable them to update their pets hourly on PetHarbor. They just won’t do it. So for a volunteer to undertake repeating the work of the shelter staff seems like an incredible waste of resources to me. Secondly, volunteers are not allowed to go to the stray areas unescorted. If they can find someone willing to escort them, there is apparently pressure to “hurry up” (so the staff can get back to mistreating and killing pets I suppose) so I’m not sure how feasible it would be for this idea to launch. Lastly, it is the shelter director’s policy that only the cherry-picked few be made available for adoption. That’s something that Matthew Pepper put in place after he got there. So he would have to toss that policy – which I think he should.

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