41 thoughts on “Open Thread

  1. How can I help an FIV+ kitty get a home? He is the sweetest thing ever but I saw at least three people walk away from him at an adoption event because of his status.


    1. We have many FIV+ kittehs here at the Sanctuary. This is NOT a death sentence. If this is a small kitten chances are that s/he will be false positive, as they often still have antibodies from Mama’s milk in their systems.

      Here, we have FIV+ with non-FIV kittehs living together, and NO PROBLEMS. They can live a full kitteh life with very few problems, although they can be prone to some issues common to FIV. One of them is dental – they will often lose their teeth bit by bit over the years. If you want to call me, email me at 518.325.1415 for info. If s/he find NOBODY, we can transport him/her to us here, happily. Best is to educate the public about FIV, but people do remain suspicious, since alot of vets still give out misinformation.

      1. Whhoops, meant to put my email oh well, now every nutcase can call me. but please, if you qualify for nutcase, get some help before you bother me! Daniela, you can call, obviously!

      2. Morgana – thank you for the offer. I see I should have given more information to start with – this is not a stray I have found – this is an about to turn 10 year old cat who has been in a shelter since he was 3.5 years old and who I would have taken home with me from BFSA NY if I didn’t have 8 cats already.

        He is one of the biggest sweethearts I have ever met and I have decided to make it my mission to get him a home! I tried my best to sell him at BFSA but they all walked away anyway – I don’t think they were ready to hear that FIV isn’t that big of a deal.

        I have 1 FIV+ myself so I know they can live happily with FIV- for their entire lives with a very low (because you can never say no) risk of cross infection. I will assume that the shelter did proper testing and he is really FIV+ – although I am more and more understanding of the shelters that choose not to test for it at all.

        I am gathering together pictures and a story so that I can have him posted as the Shelter Pet of the Day here but I am hoping for more forums and areas I can promote him to so I can increase his chances of getting a home of his very own. I am willing to help with transport to someone who is approved by the shelter – and they have a very generous senior foster program too if cost is an issue.

        I didn’t know about the FIV+ teeth issue though so I might contact you anyway so I know what to expect as Leo gets older. I just looked up your shelter and we could probably even met up because I also live in the hudson valley area of NY! :-) Small world!


      3. Donna: we would gladly take him, although I am unfamiliar with BFSA. I have a very soft spot for the Elders AND the FIV+. as the very first kitteh I ever rescued was FIV+. His name was Nicholas, as he came to us right before Xmas.

    2. Try pet pardons on Facebook. Then we can all advocate for him (post our info on our walls) that will help get his face and story out there for people to see. The more people who see him the more likely someone will fall head over heels for him.

      Ashley Hill from Lucky Dog Rescue and her friends started it and it’s already helped many pets find homes.

    3. When I was advocating for a little FIV + kitten, I had two tactics which worked fairly well…

      Education. I had a flyer with beautiful pictures and a little paragraph explaining just the basics. I tried to make it very clear and easy for the average person to understand. I also went for the cute factor by writing from the kitten’s POV. I didn’t get many calls, but the ones I got were qualified, meaning they understood things up front and were willing to learn more. I also cross posted it everywhere I could think of- special needs pet websites, best friends website, mailing lists…

      Stealth. This was the more unfair tactic, but worked well at adoption
      events. I’d let the interested party hold him, tell them his tragic story (thrown from a car, suffered a skinned chin), wait until he started purring and nuzzling…and THEN hit them with the FIV status.

      That said, it still took three weeks before I found him a home. He did eventually test negative (and we knew this was very possible, and very likely). The stealth tactic worked in the end- after an hour playing with him, the lovely young woman who became his mom wasn’t likely to say no if I said all his fur was going to fall out and he was rabid.

      As an aside, stealth worked for my blind, feral neurologic kitten as well. I’m the primary caretaker for my elderly mother, who did NOT want another cat in the house. So I took her for a drive one day, stopped at the vet hospital to “pick up some food”, came out with the kitten and threw him in her lap.

      Game over.

    4. I write national animal rescue articles for examiner.com. Send me info about this kitty, including name, pic(s), personality, favorite toys, favorite activities, health issues (in addition to FIV), gets along with other cats/dogs/kids, that sort of thing. I’ll also need a link to the shelter, shelter ID #, adoption price and what that includes, and the kitties sob story. Also let me know if the cat is showing signs of the disease.

      I had a cat who tested FIV+, and she lived to the ripe old age of 17 and died of issues with her spleen.

      email me at savetheferals@gmail.com

      Vania Maldonado
      National Animal Rescue Examiner

      1. Thank you Vania! I don’t know all that info (like the gets along with and any other health info) so I will send a note to the shelter and get it and then do a write up. I volunteer at their sister shelter but this one was going to BFSA and didn’t have enough cat volunteers so I went in the hopes that some cats would find homes and met Chipper then. And he totally stole my heart and made me decide I would do all I could to get this special guy a home. He does live in a free roam cat room so I am sure he gets along with other cats and he seemed to do well with the one kid who held him but I will ask those people who know for sure.


  2. Trid to leave a comment on that one. We need to get others to write as well.

    I am putting out there that we will be needing a radio station to air Maria Daines’ song about MAS – somebody please put your thinking cap on, and I will do the footwork.

    Ranger says hello to all, and give the city attorney a great big Bronx cheer! :-)

  3. First, get him retested with a Western Blot if you can. If you Google “FIV cats false positive”, you’ll see how often false positives happen with the ELISA.

    Next, education. For a sweet cat who is good with other cats, chances of passing FIV on to another cat is pretty much nil. While I’m not a huge fan of Best Friends, they have an article on it here –


  4. For me it was my sweet Bella Rose. She had been abused all of her life.
    I only had her for 11 months. She just couldn’t take anymore. Most of her strength had been beaten out of her. The abuse had taken a terrible toll on her body. Mentally and emotionally, she was completely broken when she first came to live with me. She was just pitiful.
    She didn’t know what a hug was, she didn’t wag her tail. She didn’t know what it meant to be happy and excited when I came home. Petie, another dog living with her, taught her how to do that. He taught her how to smile and spin around when I walked in the door.
    He taught her how to tinkle on the paper. It was adorable and my life with her was one of the happiest times of my life. I miss her everyday.
    Her memory sustains me and keeps me going when animal advocacy gets rough, when I want to turn away because I don’t want to see anymore of the atrocities, suffering and indignities that these innocent animals have to endure.
    All I wanted to do was show her how it feels to be loved, that not everyone in the world wanted to hurt her and that she didn’t deserve to be treated that way. I wanted to show her that she was beautiful and worthy.
    It was so wonderful. I would have rather been with Bella Rose than with anyone else. We spent most of our time together…day after day.
    I adopted her from the Memphis Animal Shelter. She was, is and always will be my heart.. As I was holding her when she died, I promised her that I would never let her suffering be in vain and that I would do all of my animal adcocacy work in her honor. So I know I’m not going anywhere.


    Mayor Wharton, you and I both lived through the civil rights movement.
    We were here when they killed Dr. Martin Luther King. In your heart of hearts, you know we aren’t going anywhere.

    I say to you respectfully…….you can get the fire hoses out. You can bring on the tear gas and the billy clubs but we aren’t going to stop, until the animals in this city are treated with respect and shown that they, too, are worthy. We don’t want to die but just as Dr. King knew….there are just some things that are worth dying for.

    If you try to stop us, even if you kill us, you will be seen in the same light as all the bigots who could not stop what was right. You may slow us down a little but we aren’t leaving.

    1. God Bless you, Diane and also sweet Bella Rose. I had tears in my eyes reading her story. I’m so thankful she got to know love before she died. Nothing is more rewarding then adopting a homeless pet. They have this thankfulness about them that is so precious and makes everything you do for the other homeless pets worthwhile.

      1. Thank you Debbie. Life with sweet Bella Rose was heaven. We spent almost all of our time together. She didn’t like for me to leave her and I didn’t like it either….so we didn’t do much of that. I think I’ll post the blog I did for her. Almost forgot.
        I do think she is close by, though and I think she realizes that I’m keeping my promise to her. Another of the advocates feels that she is close by as well and that she helped one of his sick little dogs. It really was remarkable….hard to miss, you know?
        The city has to realize that we are just not going away. I don’t say that in a threatening way but just matter of factly. Even they know that a mother would walk through fire to protect her child and these babies are like our children. They are counting on our protection. We aren’t going anywhere.
        At the very least, the staff at the “shelter” MUST treat them gently and kindly.
        If they would just take a moment and think about the mothers they know and what they would do to protect her child or children, I think they would understand.

        Here’s Bella’s Blog. You will have to go all the way back through the archives to see where we started. I was going to stop when she died but then decided to keep going because I promised her I’d never stop trying to help the animals and that I would do it in her honor. My sweet girl.

    2. AC: What Diane says is true – alot of us went through the Civil Rights Movement together even if we didn’t know each other at the time. I think that the late Dr. King would have advocated for animals as well, as they are also God’s children. So you can blow that off if you want to, but if it weren’t for him, YOU would NEVER have had a snowball’s chance in hell of being Mayor, let alone going to college. Yet that happened because the TRUTH always has the last word, and in that case, it was that black or white, we are all the same – one people from God’s hand. I say another TRUTH that will have the last word – that non-human animals will have their day, and we will all look back and be amazed that we EVER treated them the way they are now treated at MAS. As Gandhi said: THERE IS NO GOD HIGHER THAN TRUTH.

  5. City of Memphis kills pets and threatens advocates – National Animal Rescue Examiner

    Great article!!

  6. Is there any interest/need for MAS webcam caps showing pathetic handling of animals, or are there more then enough already? Where would I send them?

    1. Jesse – I am maintaining a Vault of Shame on my computer so please feel welcome to sen your screengrabs to me. My e-mail is eiderdown AT yesbiscuit DOT com

    1. that’s a great story.. the reporter, and the anchorwoman really represented…

      good job, Shirley, on your comments.

      the lawyer came off looking like a moron

      1. That was an EXCELLENT report, thank you Jen and that anchorwoman! We have got the city officials scared, believe me, when they have to um and hem about their decisions to do this or that. The fight will go on, and now they effing know it will NOT go away, we will not go away. WhoohooShirley!

  7. Wharton, Pepper and their ilk are looking worse all the time. I think they have dug themselves a deep hole and they continue to dig deeper and deeper.

  8. Random Q: When pet food companies include “poultry by-products” in their food, is there some process which thoroughly empties the digestive tract of its contents prior to rendering or is everything just tossed in the pot as-is?

    P.S. If you know the answer to this question, you must tell us HOW you know. Because I’ll be asking that next. ; )

    1. According to the AAFCO –

      “9.14 Poultry By-Products must consist of non-rendered clean parts of carcasses of slaughtered poultry such as heads, feet, viscera, free from fecal content and foreign matter except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practices*. If the product bears a name descriptive of its kind, the name must correspond thereto.”

      So…a bit.

      1. OK Miss Fancy Internet Pants, here’s my next question: Is this monitored by someone? Is there some agency who regularly inspects the guts to make sure someone has thoroughly shaken the shit out of them?

      2. Well, my GoogleFu is not strong tonight, but it *appears* that it is the responsibility of food safety inspectors to determine if something is too filthy or contaminated even for animal feed use. They seem to be the “shunt this to animal feed” or “destroy it” determination guys.

        There are Feed Inspectors (they have their own manual! http://www.aafco.org/Portals/0/Public/COMPLETE_INSPECTORS_MANUAL.pdf), but they seem to do mostly post-manufacture sampling and investigations if a bunch of critters drop dead from a food (THEN they’re all, “Oh, let’s test the individual ingredients!”) There seems to be more raw product inspection happening at borders with imports, rather than domestically produced stuff. Or at least, more *legislation* of imported raw product inspection…we all know how 2007 went down.

        A lot of onus seems to be on the feed manufacturers themselves to determine if raw product is “up to their standards” and accept or reject the material.

        Does this fill me with confidence and peace of mind? No, it do not.

      3. Confidence in feed manufacturers=running on empty.

        But thanks for the info. Your GoogleFu is strong.

        I guess the “bright side” is that most of the poultry by-products foods are mainly corn. So prolly less worry about the chickenshit and more about aflatoxin.

        I think my “bright side” may need a little work.

  9. This report dates back to May 2008 but I don’t think a more recent one exists. Read it and weep. The info it contains goes a long way to explain why conditions are so bad at MAS and why it’s so frustrating to try to deal with the abuses there. The mayor and shelter director can dig in and ignore thousands of complaints without consequences because there’s no oversight of shelters in TN at all. When Wharton stonewalls, who can you contact? No one at the state level seems to care at all.


    I e-mailed the photo of the cat being held by the neck with tongs to the State Veterinarian, Charles Hatcher. He’s on vacation until July 5 but maybe will reply when he gets back. I asked him what anyone can do about this situation. Then I contacted the Association for Shelter Veterinarians (they publish Guidelines for Standards of Care in Shelters) and asked them the same question about what’s shown in the photo. Is this an appropriate and safe way to handle a cat in a shelter, and what do you recommend that the public can do about this kind of abuse?

    If I get a response I’ll post it here. But I’m beginning to think the ongoing abuse and corruption at MAS point to a deeper statewide problem that needs to be addressed by legislation and adequate funding at the state level.

    MAS won’t change until they’re forced to. Turning the shelter over to outside management might work for a while, but without oversight at the state level, the cycle of abuse could be repeated at any time. So far, changing shelter management has not been effective and may have actually made things worse for the animals at MAS. There is no real leadership coming from the mayor’s office–and that’s what it would take to replace Pepper with a compassionate, competent, experienced director who would be willing to start saving lives.

    1. Any TN advocates care to lobby their state legislators on CAPA? That would be an excellent step in the right direction and, while it doesn’t address every possible situation, it does force shelters to adhere to certain lifesaving practices, which would be huge for the pets at MAS.

      1. I’m all for CAPA–and it can be passed at the city level. But still wonder whether state oversight and licensing of TN shelters–and state-mandated training programs for shelter workers–would help establish a standard of care. lawl, at least we’d have someone else to complain to when Wharton doesn’t respond. There’s some info on how to lobby for CAPA in your state or city here–

  10. That link works but you might have to copy/paste it into your browser if you want to take a look at the document. I think splitting it onto 2 lines causes an error. Sorry!

  11. Thanks for the information. Sounds like there’s a big hill to climb, yet. Do you think Wharton will be re-elected? Hopefully there is someone waiting in the wings who can make some changes (good changes) for the city and the people and animals who live there.
    CAPA sounds like a good way to start, at least. My other options are probably not legal . . .

  12. Keep to the TRUTH of the matter, and legal or illegal matters not – what matters is your Jedi powers – are they strong in you? -Obi Wan Kenobi

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