I’m so sorry for this cat.

Cats in a pound are already going to be scared. Stressed cats=increased susceptibility to disease. This is why it’s so important to keep cats away from the sight, sound and smell of dogs – so they don’t freak out and become even more stressed.

The first photo below is a reference for those unfamiliar with kitty tongs. You can see the grabbing end and the squeeze handle at the opposite end. The second photo is abuse in my opinion. Sensitive readers may not wish to scroll down.

Kitty tongs on the cart, 6-22-11.
Kitty tongs around the neck of an escaped cat at Memphis Animal Services, 6-24-11. Dogs visible in cages.

Putting anything around the neck of a cat in order to handle him is verboten in my book. What do you think?

77 thoughts on “I’m so sorry for this cat.

  1. What rotten people they are. I always wonder how aholes like these sleep at night…oh, I know…no conscience.

    1. That poor cat probably didn’t get the short trip to the garbage can. He probably got hoisted over that to the guy with a box a few feet behind the garbage can.

  2. This is unconscionable.

    The cat should not be *dangled* by the tongs … any more than the other cats I’ve seen abused at MAS should be dangled by the loose skin on their backs. And what would you wager that the next action was to swing the poor cat around, unsupported save for the deathgrip on his neck, and drop him into that crate like he was no more capable of suffering than a spud?

    The staff at MAS truly disgust me.

    From what I’ve seen on the webcams, they routinely manhandle the cats as if they both hated them and were terrified of them. I assume it’s due to policy as it’s so consistent – my guess, due to what were drafted as safety guidelines when dealing with feral cats. But it’s applied to all, and applied cruelly, with no absolutely no visible consideration for the suffering and fear of the animals.

  3. That’s awful that poor cat. He looks so much like my Flair and I would beat anyone who treated her like that. He needs out ASAP!

  4. Treatment like that and what comes after (I am sure Deanne if correct) can severely damage the cervical vertabrae. These weenies can’t even catch a cat with a towel and gloves????? Sheeeeeeesh!

    1. Many years ago, I worked in a primate research facility. One of my jobs was to capture escapees. These were not in any way tame animals and a bite or scratch from one of them meant a mandatory visit to the ER due to the threat of transmittable disease. The monkeys were very smart. And they had hands – not paws. You know what tools I had at my disposal to do this job? Thick gloves. No chokepole, no tongs – just gloves. When I would catch a monkey, they would always bite and it hurt, but the gloves kept them from breaking the skin and I never had to visit the ER. (Not bragging, I only worked there like 6 months.) Thankfully, they didn’t escape very often.

    2. It’s a cat not a bomb! I tought my cousin at four how to hold a cat for goodness sakes! He was scared silly of cats before that too.

  5. No proper training, no supervision, no compassion, and no consequences.

    These people are either cruel or ignorant (or both).

    Matthew Pepper, what is your response to this obvious animal abuse?

    1. Interestingly, I just watched the video posted on MAS’s website about a surprise visit from a television station. Mr. Pepper mentions that the general public is kept out of certain areas where potentially dangerous animals are kept because they don’t have the ‘proper training’ to deal with them. (As if these idiot workers do?) Then he fumbled through a comment about taking things home to their family or something…I believe he was referencing disease. As he was saying that, the dog behind him on camera was wagging his tail! Really dangerous animals there! And besides, the animals are in a locked cage! Sickening how slanted that story was.

  6. There is no excuse acceptable for the treatment of this cat. The cat appears to have been flung from the cage door that’s open behind him or just taken out of the cage the girl is holding. If it’s to the cage she’s holding that poor kitty has not only been abused; the kitty is headed to the kill room to die.

  7. Matthew Pepper is a coward…he won’t stand up to his employees in my opinion…why else would this continue. But again…family that live in the more affluent areas of TN are not surprised….ignorance…goes with Memphis from what they tell me… socioeconomic structure should not have anything to do with animal abuse…nor culture or race,

    Get some education Memphis officials…your ignorance is embarrassing, and you are hurting your city!!!!

  8. It’s the same nitwit who continuously proves his lack of compassion at this shelter. He is a stone cold SOB and should not be working at a shelter where compassion should be the #1 requirement.

    Bless you poor thing and I hope someone saves you from this hell on earth of a place.

  9. THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS IS ANIMAL ABUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. The ONLY time I’d not have a problem with that is if the cat is outright feral and unhandled. Otherwise the cat shouldn’t EVER be picked up by the neck like that. Put on some long heavy gloves. Once you’ve caught the cat (using the choke pole is fine for THAT), grab a handfull of scruff in one hand and support the feet with the other. No cat larger than an itsy bitsy kitten should be outright carried by the scruff of the neck, and no cat EVER should be supported by nothing more than a choke pole around the neck!

    1. There is no animal that I can think of, let alone a domesticated one, that I would condone picking up by something wrapped around its neck. No vet clinic I worked in had anything other than thick gloves and towels for dealing with cats. And, as I mentioned above, I caught macaques using gloves alone.

      1. I’d not be happy with it in the case of a true feral, but I’d understand it, but thats the ONLY way I’d understand it. But it also looks like these people didn’t even TRY any other method (where’re the heavy gloves that ought to be standard??).

        Having had to handle my own two cats, and several others including some generally less handled I totally agree that its possible to handle a cat without a choke pole. I’d be ok with them just holding the cat in place with the choke pole while the other person grabbed it, but not to lift it and carry it that way, no matter how short the trip.

  11. I worked as a vet tech for many years, and was bitten three times by cats badly enough to warrant a hospital trip. Even with that said, I was the best in our hospital at handling aggressive animals and the vets would frequently ask for me if they had a difficult case.

    I have used cat tongs, but only as a last resort, and NEVER to lift an animal with. We would use the tongs to get a hold of the cat on the ground, then cover it with a towel and lift it that way. We also had a catch pole, but again it was never used unless there was simply no other safe option. It baffles me that a catch pole seems to be the first method used at this shelter. Catch poles SCARE the dogs, which makes them more reactive, and just makes it more stressful on everyone involved.

    I will say, cats can bite right through most bite gloves. I had one go right through lead lined x-ray gloves and into my palm.. Cat bite wounds also get easily infected and can cause serious health consequences. I fully support being wary of cats- they can be just as dangerous, if not more so, than dogs. They tend to get in more bites in a shorter amount of time, and again the infection can be the worst part. But mishandling an animal INCREASES your risk of being bitten. Turn down the lights, move slowly, and use a good, thick towel AND gloves.

    Ever watch Animal Cops? They used to show cats being lifted with tongs all the time in hoarding situations. And then, of course, all those “rescued” animals were killed.

    1. Me too. I can’t stand people who pick on animals and people who are smaller or can’t fight back. If I am around you may as well start the fight with me cause if I catch you I’ll step in. Bully’s usually pick on those smaller than them because they don’t like anyone fighting back. Fight back and they back off pretty quickly.

  12. I’ve seen so many pictures caught on the shelter cam, where it appears that the people who are working with these animals are terrified of them. Pardon the expression but the way they handle them appears to me to be “overkill.”

    I’ve seen so many small dogs on the choke pole. We’ve all seen the larger dog hoisted to the top cage on the choke pole and wire around it’s neck….now this?

    If Bobby White could get past having “people like us” working as volunteers, I think we would find any number of animal lovers who would feel comfortable handling cats, small dogs, larger dogs, in an appropriate and loving way.

    I think Deanne’s comment sums it up: “It’s a cat…not a bomb.”

    People who are obviously afraid of animals shouldn’t be working at the dog pound. It would probably be very simple to put them in another department of city employment. Hopefully, though, our “shelter” will be privatized.

  13. In too many pictures, it appears as if they are laughing when they are mishandling the animals. They need to completely overhaul MAS. I am not impressed with much of anything I’ve seen there.

  14. Is there anyone in Memphis who could file a complaint with the Shelby County sheriff? This has to stop! (Or is it one big happy family?)

  15. This is sick for sure…but I hope this guy loses his job! No one needs to work in a shelter when they don’t want to help but are just there to ‘do a job.’

    The innocents are so afraid to being with and to push more stress on them only makes it all the worse.

    So I say get another job!

  16. It’s horrible but predictable. If your job is to kill animals, or deliver them to be killed how can you do that job while not losing your mind? You treat the animals as ‘things’, not as sentient beings. Then what you do isn’t so bad, you can maybe live with it. The same reason slaughterhouse workers abuse and torment the animals over and above killing them. I think no kill is the only way out of this cycle. And not all kill shelter workers are this bad or bad at all but many burn out quickly. I think their heart wears out, the ones who let themselves care.

  17. The best thing that could happen to the Memphis Animal Services facility is to fire all those incompetent cruel employees, get all the incarcerated animals to safe havens and bomb the damned place!

  18. I think that this is something that could end if the city would do the right thing. It would be wonderful if this pound could be patterned after the Humane Society and the zoo. The dog pound in Memphis has been an embarrassment for our city and an atrocious place of suffering for the animals for as long as I can remember….back to when I was a child.

    Memphis citizens would rally around these animals and this effort. You would have an abundance of volunteers, events, benefits, just as the two above mentioned other places do. Most Memphians I speak with about the pound are afraid to go in say that they have heard nothing but horror stories. I’ve never spoken with anyone about the place and heard anything good about it.

    There are already wonderful volunteers there and they would certainly represent a new privatized, non-profit shelter well. It is my personal opinion that there are even a few salaried workers who would continue to do a good job and continue to show compassion and treat the animals with love and care.

    I think that the city is going to get sick and tired of us at some point and hopefully they will let us do the right thing by these suffering animals.

  19. Does anyone ever see anything decent on the cams? Just wondering. Do volunteers mishandle the animals too? It is REALLY sad if there are not any half decent people there. Why have officials not gone in and done something? There must be someone. Has anyone tried to do anything about the vet? She must see this stuff? What kind of vet can she be? She walks thru and sees suffering animals and does nothing. She sees the animals being mistreated all day everyday. Someone needs to question what her role is as she is legally charged with helping not hurting the animals.

    1. I’ve only seen one picture in which it was apparent that the worker was caring and compassionate. Now, granted, I haven’t seen a huge sampling; but in virtually all of the ones I HAVE seen, there seems to be a very lackadaisical, general sense of uncaring in the demeanor and face of the worker. The way they hold the animals says they think of them as nothing but a ‘thing’, certainly not a living, breathing, loving being.

  20. Somehow we manage to handle fractious and scared cats every day at the vet clinic I work at without even owning one of these devices.

    90% of the time, all you need is a towel, if that fails, use the gloves, if those fail, use the “clam shell”. It’s a metal frame covered in soft mesh that allows you to grab and trap the entire body of the cat at once.

    1. I’ve never seen a clamshell but it sounds similar to the nets my mobile vet uses. She has a good technique–scoops up the kitty and gives the net a twist somehow so he’s contained in a little pouch of netting. Then she can put him in a carrier or give him a shot–whatever is needed. Works with even very wild feral cats as long as you have them in a contained area to start with–like a room with the door closed. Would not want to chase a kitty all over the house with a net, lawl.

  21. Is the instrument used to lift the cat by the neck, seen in the picture, even designed to be used on an animal? I have seen instruments like this used to reach inanimate
    objects when a person was unable to do so….for example, when a person is too old or too obese to reach objects. I doubt that this was the intended use but that’s just my opinion. I’m sure that a scenario like the one we saw must be covered in a manual of the proper way to handle certain situations in a shelter setting. If there was any type of training for the shelter workers at MAS, I’m assuming that a manual of this type was used as a reference.

    1. Yes, it is designed to be used on animals. But not to lift them and hoist them into the air and across a span of 3-4 feet.
      It is not a substitute for proper handling and care. I used heavy gloves when moving rats, they made it hard to manipulate but you were protected.

  22. Not only do we have to see the abuse cases…day after day… like little Opie. Then we have to see the animals at the “shelter” in Memphis, put up with ignorance, neglect, carelessness….even some abuse and indifference.

    Just cut the crap! Take a look at what happened to little Opie then go to the shelter cam or to the shelter and tell us that this is acceptable.

    We’ve had years and years of this at the “dog pound”…going back decades. There are plenty of people out here who could and would do a much better job.

    You think we cannot site specific cases? We can. Want the names? We have them…and the pictures too.

    Keep the caring salaried workers and volunteers and get rid of the morons. Let’s try it a new way. It’s just too much to have to see homegrown animal neglect and cruelty day after day….especially when we all know of other options.

  23. Does anyone know how to get this cat out of there? Looks like someone could go down there and get it with the money you have raised. It should be pretty easy to find a cat compared to a dog. Can someone help the cat?

      1. I’m sorry that his last moments in this world were in that place, with those people. Someday they will all pay for this cruelty.
        RIP sweetie

    1. If anyone doubts that these animals are valuable:

      “A wise man regards the life of his beast.” (Proverbs 12:10, KJV)

      Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” ~Job 12:7-10

  24. can I press formal charges against this jerk???? How would he like it if I held him like that!

    1. I don’t have the ID # but perhaps you can request the records by providing them the webcam shot. I would hope this was the only cat they hanged by the neck in tongs that day so it should ring a bell for somebody there.

      1. The jury is still out as to whether or not they can find an animal by a webcam shot. It SHOULD be pretty easy to do, but I’m still waiting to hear back on a picture of the owner-surrendered dog from a couple of days ago. I think it’s just another excuse to let an animal slip through the crack, myself. But then what do I know?

  25. go for it maybe that is what it will take for them to sit up and take notice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. I’m no attorney but it does seem to me that since we are dealing with public employees and administration and since we ARE the public and pay their salaries that perhaps there is merit in what Mark is asking. It wouldn’t hurt to get a legal opinion.

    Mark. There is an animal advocacy group of attorneys at University of Memphis School of Law. They may be able to help or point you in the right direction.

    There is one thing that I do know. People who just don’t care will only begin to listen when their $$$$$ is threatened.

  27. Do you have to be licensed for euth. if you work at this shelter? does anyone know. Off topic, but someone I know in Memphis wondered. She has a good background in animal care and veterinary work with a degree, but she does not want to euth. healthy animals. Thanks if anyone knows.

    1. Gas chambers and certain chemicals outlawed
      Succinylcholine chloride, curare, curariform mixtures, strychnine, nicotine, chloral hydrate, magnesium, potassium, or any
      substance that acts as a neuromuscular-blocking agent, or any chamber that causes a change in body oxygen may not be
      used on any non-livestock animal for the purpose of euthanasia. Any such chamber shall be phased out and shall not
      be used on or after July 1, 2002.
      Persons authorized to euthanize non-livestock animals
      Euthanasia shall be performed only by a licensed veterinarian, a Tennessee veterinarian medical technician, or an
      employee or agent of a public or private agency, animal shelter, or other facility operated for the collection, care, and/or
      euthanasia of stray, neglected, abandoned, or unwanted non-livestock animals. This is provided that the Tennessee
      veterinarian medical technician or the employee or agent of a public or private agency has successfully completed an
      euthanasia-technician certification course.
      An employee or agent of a public or private agency or a Tennessee veterinarian medical technician performing euthanasia
      prior to July 1, 2001, who previously passed an approved euthanasia-technician certification course will be accepted as
      qualified under the new law to perform euthanasia on non-livestock animals.
      Euthanasia may not be performed except by certified personnel unless an emergency situation exists in the field requiring
      the immediate euthanasia of an injured, dangerous, or severely diseased non-livestock animal. In the case of such an
      emergency, a police officer, veterinarian, employee or agent of a local animal control unit, or the designee of such an
      employee or agent may humanely destroy the non-livestock animal.
      Enforcement/penalties for violation
      The attorney general may bring an action to enjoin any violation of the new law. Violators are guilty of a Class A
      misdemeanor. The new law became effective July 1, 2001.

    2. animals. It does not apply to exotic animals. Generally, the new law prescribes methods and procedures for euthanizing pets and prescribes penalties for violations.
      Agents authorized for euthanasia; procedures
      Sodium pentobarbital and other agents specifically approved by the rules of the state Board of
      Veterinary Medicine shall be the only methods used for euthanasia of non-livestock animals by
      public and private agencies, animal shelters, and other facilities operated for the collection, care,
      and/or euthanasia of stray, neglected, abandoned, or unwanted non-livestock animals.
      A lethal solution shall be used in the following order of preference:
      • intravenous injection by hypodermic needle;
      • intraperitoneal injection by hypodermic needle;
      • intracardial injection by hypodermic needle but only if performed on heavily sedated,
      anesthetized, or comatose animals; or
      • solution of powder added to food.
      A non-livestock animal may be tranquilized with an approved and humane substance before
      euthanasia is performed. A non-livestock animal may not be left unattended between the time
      euthanasia procedures are initiated and the time that death occurs — nor may its body be disposed
      of until a qualified person confirms death

      1. God forbid! I hope an intracardial injection wouldn’t be used under any circumstance but NEVER on a conscious animal!
        There was a vet who it was discovered was using intracardial injections to kill animals at his practice. They were totally conscious and unsedated. The man who held them said that they would thrash around after the injection. I guess so! It’s just all very disturbing.

    3. An employee or agent of a public or private agency or a Tennessee veterinarian medical technician performing euthanasia
      prior to July 1, 2001, who previously passed an approved euthanasia-technician certification course will be accepted as
      qualified under the new law to perform euthanasia on non-livestock animals.
      Euthanasia may not be performed except by certified personnel unless an emergency situation exists in the field requiring
      the immediate euthanasia of an injured, dangerous, or severely diseased non-livestock animal. In the case of such an
      emergency, a police officer, veterinarian, employee or agent of a local animal control unit, or the designee of such an
      employee or agent may humanely destroy the non-livestock animal.
      Enforcement/penalties for violatio

  28. well,i know that here in missouri it is state law that only a licensed vetinarian can euthanize an animal.the vet tech,s at the vet school here are not allowed to administer shots or medications of any kind.interns are also not allowed to administer medications until they,ve fully graduated and gotten their medical license to practice.

  29. Yes, this is sick, careless, lazy, worthy of immediate termination of employment. And not just for those in the photo, but the entire “management” (that’s NOT management, in my view) and staff. Animal abuse. This operation needs a rescue.

  30. Isn’t that the same bald freak that always moves cats and dogs by squeezing the back of their neck, holding them vertical in the air with no other support? Why does he work with animals if he obviously hates them so much?

  31. Shelter dogs missing? I’m a little hazy on exactly how that happens. 155 in a year’s time from the Memphis Pound!
    How exactly does a dog go missing? Give me a break. More lies.
    I can’t wait until that place is busted wide open and it becomes a safe shelter for animals.

  32. Can we please get these people on animal abuse? Between the starving dog that had NO medical attention to this I dont know how much more I can take. Do the police in Memphis not care too? At this point I think maybe the guys in that Memphis Beat show could do a better job at justice in that city than the actual people in charge!

  33. I watched an animal control officer lift a fifty pound dog by its neck with one of those catch poles. Deadlift in the air not caring about the strain on his neck which is unnacceptable id love to wrap one of these guys up and lift them in the air

  34. How you called yourself a lover animal and you treating that cat like garage! Who hired you? They should check double if you fix to the animal. I don’ t like it at all! Let me to the same thing to you the way you did it to the cat. I don’t like evil heart people who don’t care about animals . You need to get out of the shelter before you be kick out of there.. LEAVE NOW!

  35. Exactly 6 months today from the time of showing this sadist’s photo, he STILL works there.
    They are paid too well, don’t do that much and hurting/killing cats & dogs doesn’t seem to bother them. MANY complaints, 3 directors & many news articles on their wrong-doing isn’t going to convince him to stop doing what he enjoys – hurting animals.

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