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“You can stand me up at the gates of Hell but…”

As some of you may remember, I started the ChipIn for pets saved from MAS at the suggestion of a reader.  It seemed like a good way to have cash on hand for sudden expenses that occur when you are rushing to get a pet out of a killing facility.  We were able to pay for Ranger’s care that way and, I had hoped there would be other strays we could help as well.  I had e-mailed Matt Pepper when I saw this starving dog on the webcams and indicated to him that I had some funds donated by readers and would be willing to pay for vet care for the dog.  Of course that dog was killed by MAS.  This week, I had hoped to use funds to help spring another dog from the stray area but alas, MAS killed him too before we could take action.

And now for the bad news.  (You thought that was it already?)

You know how Mayor Wharton says he wants Memphis to “confront its challenges”?  Well I wonder how much time the Memphis City Attorney’s office is able to dedicate to these efforts when they are busy poring over obscure South Carolina laws to try and come up with something to threaten me with in a letter.  For your perusal:

Ms. Thistlethwaite,

It has come to the attention of this office that you are soliciting funds on behalf of Memphis Animal Services.  As you may or may not be aware, this unauthorized solicitation of charitable funds on behalf of Memphis Animal Services appears to be a direct violation of South Carolina law.  Section 33-56-120 (C) of the South Carolina Code of Laws entitled “Misrepresentation Prohibited” provides in pertinent part that:

In connection with the solicitation of contributions or the sale of goods or services for charitable purposes, a person shall not represent to or mislead a person by any manner, means, practice, or device to believe that another person sponsors or endorses the solicitation of contributions, sale of goods or services for charitable purposes, or approves of the charitable purposes or a charitable organization connected with when the other person has not given written consent to the use of his name for these purposes.” S.C. CODE ANN. 33-56-120 (1976).

The Memphis City Attorney’s Office is not aware of any instance where Memphis Animal Services has provided written consent to carry out this type of activity on its behalf.  Therefore, if you cannot produce any evidence of written consent provided to your organization by Memphis Animal Services to solicit contributions on its behalf, you are requested to cease and desist all of these unauthorized activities at once.  Failure to comply with this notice will force this office to consider all legal options in addressing this matter.

Herman Morris Jr.
City Attorney

To keep the focus on saving animals, I have closed the ChipIn to help save pets from the Memphis killing facility.  (I will be donating the balance to help rescued pets in Memphis and will post details on that soon.)  But make no mistake, this is a hollow threat designed to intimidate me into shutting up about the cruelty and killing going on at MAS.  The Memphis City Attorney has no ability to enforce SC law.  The city just wanted me to do the whole ZOMG I gots a letter from a berry skeery lawyerman freak out thing which, I’m sure they hoped, would lead to a I should just shut my pie hole about how they mistreat and needlessly kill pets at MAS unless I want to go directly to jail freak out.

That will not be happening.  But I ask you this, good citizens of Memphis – is it a fiscally responsible use of your tax money for the city attorney to spend his time chasing a dog blogger in SC?  Is this how Mayor Wharton directs his staff to “confront its challenges”?  (Hey – I’m a challenge!)  Is there anything else going on in Memphis that might be a better use of the city attorney’s time?  Could that office investigate the mistreatment of pets at the city pound?  Perhaps you should let him know your thoughts.

Herman Morris
City Attorney
125 N. Main St. Room 336
Memphis, Tn 38103
Phone:  (901) 576-6614
Fax:  (901) 576-6524

As always, keep your comments respectful.

I write about what’s going on in Memphis in order to hopefully effect change for the better for the city’s homeless pets.  With the donations that you all sent in, I was hoping to save the lives of dogs who appeared to have no advocates within MAS, the Mayor’s Office, or the City Attorney’s Office.  Obviously city leaders in Memphis are deeply opposed to these actions.  So what say you readers, should we fade quietly into the night under threat of “legal action” or should we continue to push for meaningful change in Memphis?  Should we still try to help save stray dogs, kept behind closed doors at MAS, without anyone there to advocate for their right to live?

Note to those opposing lifesaving efforts for Memphis pets:

Any further letters from the City Attorney will be considered an attempt to infringe my First Amendment rights to free speech, my First Amendment rights to petition the government for a redress of grievances, and regardless of whether they pursue it or not, will be considered a violation of my civil rights.

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