A number of people have shared responses they’ve received from shelter advisory board member Cindy Sanders (I got one myself) and many of us recall city councilwoman Janis Fullilove’s infamous “So what?” reply. I’m interested in hearing if anyone has received any additional responses.
A reader sent me the following reply she received from the ASPCA after writing to them with concerns about MAS:
Date: Sat, May 21, 2011 at 4:58 PM
Subject: The Memphis Animal Shelter Needs Help
Thank you for contacting the ASPCA with your concerns about the Memphis, Tennessee animal shelter. We share your concerns for the millions of animals at risk in our nation’s shelters. Although the ASPCA is a national organization, we have humane law enforcement authority only in New York State and no authority to investigate shelters or other organizations.
In November 2009, the ASPCA’s team assisted in the investigation of alleged cruelty of the shelter at the request of the Memphis County Sheriff’s Office. The investigation resulted in changes by the city. Some of what you are reading is likely in response to that old information. However, the recent webcam photos are being reviewed by the administration of the shelter and appropriate action will be taken. They have identified and recognized many issues that need to be corrected and the director and management team are working diligently towards correcting many of those issues. Appropriate administrative discipline is taking place.
Whenever you observe conditions at a shelter that you feel are neglectful or cruel you can act. It is important to document problems before taking action. Write times, places and specific problems down. Licensing of shelters differs from state to state. Photos, videos and other records can be very helpful. Be specific and reasonable.
If you have not already done so you should communicate directly with the executive director who needs to know about the complaint, if for no other reason than to prevent such a situation from re-occurring. After that, if you do not feel that your complaint receives an adequate hearing you should also contact the board of directors. This is public knowledge and can be obtained from the shelter management or the state Attorney General’s office through the Freedom of Information Act. Additionally, if they are a municipal agency or have a service contract with the local municipality, contact the city council and county administrator as well.
Few shelters can afford to operate without the help of dedicated volunteers who contribute time, money, and effort toward educating people, handling adoptions, walking dogs, and fundraising. Citizens concerned with the humane treatment of animals should offer whatever talents they may have to help their local shelter. Often times it is possible to improve the shelter from inside. Offer to volunteer or assist the management with policy review.
If I can provide any additional information or answer any questions please feel free to contact me. Thank you for caring and sharing your concerns.
Community Initiatives Director
Shorter ASPCA: You are prolly too stupid to realize the difference between 2009 and 2011. Also, everything’s fine. kthx.
Please share any responses you’ve received. Geez, I hope this doesn’t end up being a 0 Comments post.