17 thoughts on “Puppies and Kittens and More Puppies

  1. There was something in the comments (I think it was Christie Keith’s) on the PetConnection blog about shelters being “mired in a failed paradigm” and I thought of MAS.

    They see killing as “the only way”. They are so “mired” that they cannot even entertain the possibility that there’s another way, that killing isn’t necessary.

    This is a failure of leadership. This is a failure of Matthew Pepper. As long as HE thinks that killing is “the only way” to deal with daily shelter intake, nothing will change.

    Others have tried to show Matthew Pepper the other way out, the better way, the no-kill solution, but he will not see. He will not adapt, he will not change. He is mired in his mindset.

    Matthew Pepper must be fired. His position must be filled by someone who can think new thoughts, see possibilities, be open to trying new things. And above all, someone who sees themselves as an advocate for the animals.

    Matthew Pepper is no advocate for animals. He is an advocate for a failed paradigm, mired in his beliefs, and dragging others down with him. As long as he is in charge, the killing will continue. New building or no, the killing will continue. Because it’s not the building that saves lives, it’s not the building that gets animals into new homes, it’s not the building that dictates how animals are handled, it’s the leadership.

  2. So many puppies and kittens being killed at MAS while so many puppy/kitten cages sit empty with pieces of paper taped on them as if they are being kept empty intentionally. I can not imagine why a shelter with a 77% kill rate would have any empty cages, never mind intentionally killing the occupants in order to keep the cages empty.

    1. I’m ready for you! I am, I want something done. However I do agree we need to show up in the hundreds if not thousands! We need to be organized and we need to be rational and not let our emotions take over.

      1. Yes, but each day that goes by so that everyone can be ‘ready’ means another day, week, month, year that you let pets, puppies, and kitties be slaughtered. At some point in time, you just have to pull the trigger…so to speak.

  3. Thank you, mikken, for stating so eloquently exactly what is happening now and exactly what needs to happen. As long as Matthew Pepper is in charge, the killing will continue. The animals have little to no hope.
    God help those who continue to follow this man down the path of neglect, abuse and unwarranted killing.
    I don’t know how to stop this.

    1. I don’t understand the man’s motivations.

      I would like to see him meet with concerned citizens and have them talk through their concerns with him.

      Non-confrontational, just “these are our concerns, tell us what you think” sort of situation. It doesn’t have to be a public meeting, it can happen right in his office if he likes. But *something* to open the lines of communication.

      Right now, he looks evasive and shifty. But maybe he has concerns/fears too? Maybe he wants to start some kind of change, but feels hemmed in by local politics? Maybe he needs outsider help. Something we can provide to move things in the right direction?

      Let’s talk to him. Let’s see if we can hear his concerns and if he can hear ours.

      Locals? It wouldn’t take many – two or three of you. Heck, even one of you. Call him up and see if he’ll meet with you for mutual benefit.

      1. I certainly don’t understand his motivations either. Why not provide a response to my request for info on a dog when I say I’d like to help save the dog’s life and he knows the dog has no other chance? Baffling.

      1. Mikken…While you might think that figuring out someone like this is a worthwhile venture, or reasoning with someone like this is worth the time, MP has no intention of bothering with entertaining the likes of caring individuals unless it is to feel power over them. You are trying to place your hopes, concerns, and values on a cruel, uncaring person who does not have that capability. While your good intentions are commendable, the flicker of hope you are fueling has no basis in fact or in past or present experiences at MAS. Believe me when I say that I have tried this route to no avail. I have found that there are people on earth who have no soul and whose earnest desire is to surround themselves with the innocent, weak, and vulnerable so they can subjegate and hurt them. The situation is dire for the animals because he wants it that way. He has no intentions to deal with anyone, especially the likes of us, unless he is forced to. You are right…he does need to be fired. The only way that will happen is if he either 1) gains an enlightened manager (not happening any time soon), or 2) concerned individuals point out to the public what he and his staff, board, and boss are doing wrong. The way to do that is to protest and publicize.

      2. Miss Molly Moo,

        You may be right, he may be an evil, manipulating bastard. I don’t know.

        I have my suspicions that he is not so much evil as incompetent to the task and out of his depth. I have seen this before with people who get promoted beyond their abilities – they end up defensive, divisive, and arrogant…all as bluster to shield the fact that they are in over their heads. Often, they are not aware that this is the case and truly believe that they are surrounded by incompetents and troublemakers and that’s what’s causing the failures…

        Of course firing him would be the most efficient means of repairing the shelter model in Memphis, but it seems that Mayor Wharton is unable or unwilling to do an honest evaluation of Matthew Pepper’s performance. The fact that Wharton appointed him means too much of his own ego is involved and we are back to the “mired” place.

        So what we’ll need is a “work around” solution…

  4. I live in Memphis. I have had several informal, get together and chat meetings with Pepper. The day he wrote his first response to YesBiscuit, he stated that he had been to a no kill conference, that he understood and agreed with the no kill theory, that he thought Memphis could move in that direction. That very day, within hours of writing that, he told me that no-kill was a joke and would never work. I came home, logged in and then saw his letter. THAT is typical Matt.
    The solution is not to fire only Pepper, but most of the staff. This shelter needs to be privatized by a non-profit. Firing Pepper will only lead to the same people who hired him, hiring another uncaring, weak leader. One thing that many don’t seem to understand is that those in charge, Mayor Wharton, Director Hooks and Deputy Director Hall do not care about MAS. Animals are property to them. Hall thinks it is fine to chain a dog…it helps protect the property. Hooks has an intact dog and sees nothing wrong in purchasing a dog from a street corner seller, so she can allow her dogs to have litters, Wharton wanted to be a Vet, had a family pet who died, yet he makes the decision evey day to turn his back on those housed at MAS.
    The only solution is to remove this shelter from the city umbrella.
    A new Administrator of MAS with the same staff is the same shelter, especially when the City defends the workers and does not allow them to be fired.

    1. “That very day, within hours of writing that, he told me that no-kill was a joke and would never work. ”

      Ah. I revoke my previous theory then and will combine them – Matthew Pepper is an evil, uncaring bastard who is incompetent and in over his head.

      Perhaps privitization is the work around solution, after all. It’s just so damned frustrating that those in positions of power are so ignorant and feckless.

  5. Thanks for posting this. I didn’t see the futility of trying to persuade Wharton to make changes at MAS until very recently. But now I realize there’s no point in wasting time on him. And certainly no point in wasting thought or time on Pepper. I’m with you on the need to turn MAS over to an effective, experienced, reputable non-profit. One that supports the no-kill platform.
    I understand a group has formed in Memphis to bring this about. Do you have any info on them or know the URL for their website?

  6. One new group is SOS Memphis – Save our shelter
    I am not sure their website is up yet, but they might be on facebook.

    Another is PAWS Memphis

    I have been to the meetings of both groups. Both are working for privatizing MAS. The PAWS group is very active in exposing the Mayor and Director Hooks and their attitude about MAS.

    1. What can we out-of-towners do to help support this effort? I agree that it’s probably useless to try and convince any of the existing “powers” to make the necessary changes to save animals’ lives.

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