City of Memphis, Take Off Your Hoods

The public showed up for last night’s MAS advisory board meeting but the advisory board didn’t.  Thank you to reader Celeste Pryor for sending in some photos of the signs she saw.

The city is circling the wagons to defend the Super Secret Clubhouse meetings:

City officials defended the decision Wednesday, saying it was legal under the state’s open-meetings laws.
“Since the board is advisory, the state’s open-meeting statute is not applicable,” city spokeswoman Mary Cashiola said in a statement.

Oh I don’t think so, Miss Fancy CityPants:

FUNCTION & AUTHORITY: The Animal Shelter Advisory Board shall:
a.) Assist the Animal Shelter staff in the investigation and prosecution, if necessary, of all complaints of cruelty or mistreatment of animals or fowl, and if necessary, take charge of and make proper disposition of the animals or fowl involved in such complaints, when so requested by the Director of Public Service;

From the same article:

Memphis Animal Shelter employees filed a grievance over Web cameras installed at the shelter, asking that they be removed from the current facility and that none be installed in the new shelter that opens this fall.


The shelter employees want the cameras removed because they’re worried about their safety, said George Little, the city’s chief administrative officer.

Oh piffle.

Aside from the inevitable tiny crackpot minority, pet lovers have been civil and non-threatening in expressing their concerns over the abuse and killing at MAS.  You know whose safety I am genuinely worried for though?  The pets at MAS.  More so if the city removes the webcams and the abuse and killing continues behind closed doors.

Please contact everyone on the mailing list and let them know that their attempts to pull a cloak over the wrongdoings at MAS will generate additional interest in the issues they are attempting to hide.  Our government has an obligation to remain open and transparent and to accept criticism and praise where warranted.

As always, keep your comments brief and respectful.

Government transparency in a chokepole.

65 thoughts on “City of Memphis, Take Off Your Hoods

  1. This is just unreal, They want to file a grievance for “no cameras” at the new shelter, and why is that? May it’s so Demetria Hogan’s Rap sheet doesn’t
    get any longer than the unemployment line…it already is…More pulling, choke,drag,kick can all
    be done with out a camera.

  2. Hmmmmm sounds like they cant handle the heat, if thats the case maybe they need to get out of the kitchen! But 1st I say we treat them the way they have treated all those animals & lets “lose” a few of them like they have Kapone and other animals. Sorry if thats a little cruel but thats how I feel

  3. Letter sent! Is there no one who can understand that they are only hurting themselves with all of this secrecy? If they have nothing to hide, then they have no worries.
    I’m so glad that the “irresponsible public” showed up for the meeting. Thank you to all of you who could be there.

  4. What?? I’m with you Shirley-I’m far more concerned with the safety of the dogs and cats in the city of Memphis. This is a public shelter and should be accountable as all shelters should-there should no need to hide behind closed doors.

  5. Do they have a legal leg to stand on here? Is there any wording in the law to indicate that some groups do not have to be open to the public (advisory, temporary, magic sparkly unicorn ones?) or are they just scrambling to protect themselves here hoping people would believe them and go away?


    1. I’m not an attorney but it seems clear to me they are in violation of the open meeting law. There is no exception for them as far as I can tell. The city is wrong but considering the city attorney thinks he can enforce SC law from his desk in Memphis, it doesn’t surprise me.

  6. Shirley, keep up the good work girl! You have managed to light a fire and keep it lit amidst all the hot air floating around downtown. I can’t wait to see the new billboards! What a fantastic idea. If you decide to come to town, I’m buying you dinner!

    1. I agree, Shirley. You have been doing a fantastic job. I was in the dark about many things until I found the light shining brightly on MAS, and you had the flood-light. Thank you from all of us who didn’t know, and especially for the many animals you have saved & are saving.
      Count me in for that meal is on me too.

  7. God forbid that the shelter employees should understand that they are the problem and that they MUST change their behaviour. Of course, follow the money…
    If the Advisory Board people didn’t show for a regularly scheduled meeting, they should be removed from the board. Dereliction of duty, plain and simple.
    The more the burghers of Memphis scramble to cover their
    a$$es, the more it looks like they’re all involved in wrongdoing. Cockroaches running from the light. Maybe they’d better consult their PR people and understand that transparency NOW is vital to their political survival.

  8. “Wharton says, “if we go back and review this, and they say Wharton, you should have gotten rid of Ms. Hogan a long time ago, understanding there are civil service laws and she is protected, then I’ll stand up, and say, you know what, I blew it. I made a mistake.” ”

    So, he’s not even sure if they should have gotten rid of her a long time ago…despite the dodgy issues at the shelter? I guess he’s not sure if they should look at everyone working there now, too.

    I fear that the Mayor is presenting himself as feckless to the people of Memphis.

    1. There was some gossip on the comments that if we knew Ms Hogan’s maiden name it would explain a few things. Not saying there’s any truth, but mayor sir seems to have a hard time making a decision. Maybe he’s just worried about running for re-election?

      1. db-I love seeing you on the CA boards! There are so many nuts that get on there…..not that you are one of them. But can you beleive some of the people? I am VERY curious to know Hogan’s maiden name……knowing Memphis it is probably Ford or some other crooked political family here.

  9. Kudos to Cindy S. for the FAB billboard!!!!

    Now, Light, cameras, ACTION!! What are WE going to do to push this standstill to a head? We are in phase three of Gandhi’s equation: next phase, we win, but not by chatting here.

      1. db: Yea actually…it depends on what became of Kapone, and a few other items. I will not mention them here just yet, as I know this site is monitored by “them”. :-) But I might just have to come on down to Memphis at some point soon…

      2. @ db and Morgana- Memphis welcomes you with open arms. Let me know if you guys are coming down. It’s time for action.

  10. It would not surprise me at all if Wharton claims there are no longer any funds for the cameras.

    What I still do not understand is why could he not have just cleaned house from top to bottom a long while back?

    Heck, the last director of the MAS was so far gone that he tried to go on the run from the law for a while for goodness sakes.

    What is it about the MAS as a whole where nothing proactive can ever be done? Something is being swept under the rug and has been for ages now. What is it?

    1. What is it? A whole lot of dead dogs and cats, either by their hands, or by the hands of the pit fighters the dogs wind up being sold to. That and SO much more, I would imagine.

      1. @Morgana Do you live in Memphis or in Shelby County? I am just curious and mean you no disrespect by any means.

        I live in Memphis and have lived here now for ten years. My father was raised here and my granny lived here for over eighty years. I am curious about the history of the MAS and how things devolved to the point it is at now. My curiosity about this coupled with the eons long history of the corruption of local Memphis area politics makes me wonder a thing or two and I am sorry if that disturbs you in any way.

      2. Missmary: No, I am not insulted. I do not live there. I live up North. can’t imagine what that has to do with your curiousity about YOUR hometown?

        @db: sure, Shirley?

    1. @Morgana Memphis is not my hometown. Santa Clarita California is actually. The history of this whole situation is something I am curious about because I currently live here and have lived here for ten years now and half of my family tree is from here. For example, I know that things took a turn for the worse while Willie Herenton was in office. I also know that Ms. Hogan was promoted a trifle bit before the raid at the MAS.

      The thing that I am trying to understand is when and how and why things went so very downhill and what the correlation is between local Memphis area politics is within all of that. I have a feeling that things took a turn for the worse because of certain things which were brought to light towards the end of Willie Herenton having been Memphis Mayor.

      Therefore. By now. It would be nice to know who dropped the ball when. You understand what I am saying? Maybe? This whole situation did not happen overnight by any means at all and if things came to a head during the later portion of the 18 years Willie Herenton was Mayor, then Wharton has to back track a bit in order to learn of the root cause(s) of the actual issues within the MCS and tend to them by now. But, he might never do it. And that is my perspective because I live here and that is the root of my curiosity. Sorry.

      1. YIKES! Nothing to be sorry about. BUT, from what I do kknow of politics and politicians, I would be you a plugged nickle that Wharton already knows a great deal more than anyone about Herenton’s administration and what went down.

        I think everyone realizes that things like this don’t go down overnight or even over one year. But Wharton knows; of that I am sure.

        As for me, I never was much of an Elvis fan, although I like him sometimes, so I never had an abiding desire to come visit Graceland. And I hate hot humid weather (although we get plenty up here – ugh!) so there was no pressing urgency to come to Memphis, until this – the MAS.

  11. Mayor Wharton seems to have one of two choices:
    1. Please the employees at the city pound by taking the cameras out….the same cameras which have made it possible to see numerous photos showing seemingly cruel acts of abuse committed by some of the city employees at the pound against some of the animals in that pound.

    2. Please most of the citizens of Memphis who want a humane and transparent animal shelter

  12. Why would the employees at the city pound have anything to fear regarding their safety? Shouldn’t it be the other way around.
    THEY are the felons!

  13. Why would two respected Veterinarians…Dr. Tower and Dr. Clay, want to align themselves with the Memphis Animal Shelter? Why would they even want to be on the Memphis Animal Shelter Advisory Board? Aren’t they two members of that board?

    1. Dr. Tower was part of the MAS task force Wharton ‘did up’ back in 2009. I have no idea about Dr. Clay at all.

      Here is what Dr. Tower said in The Commercial Appeal this morning…

      “The board itself can set its rules,” said Dr. Stephen Tower, a local veterinarian and the board chairman. “We feel that the board, in the private setting, can deliberate and consider what is best for Memphis Animal Services.”

    2. I don’t know anything about Dr. Clay, but according to a comment in response to the CA’s story today about the employees’ bid to get rid of the cameras, Dr. Tower is the vet and personal friend of Janet Hooks, the supervisor of MAS’s executive director (Hooks is a former member of the city council). There were several true animal advocates serving on the MAS advisory board, such as Cindy Saunders, and they had worked very hard for change but to no avail. Two of their terms recently ended and a third resigned. The Mayer and Ms. Hooks took the opportunity to protect the shelter at a time of public scrutiny by stacking the advisory board with allies of the status quo such as Dr. Tower. The board immediately followed the mayor’s and Ms. Hooks’s wishes by making the advisory board meetings secret in violation of TN law.

      1. Typical corrupt Memphis. Can’t we even have a dog pound that runs above board and operates in a transparent manner?!

        If the mayor, Janet Hooks, Dr. Tower and Dr. Clay want the meetings to be a secret….that’s 4 citizens up against the thousands in Memphis who want a humane animal shelter.
        I’m wondering if Matthew Pepper is in agreement with the mayor, Janet Hooks, Dr. Tower and Dr. Clay? I wonder if he want’s secret meetings?

      2. Cindy Saunders is a very brace lady in my book. Here is what she had to say about a thing or two back in 2009.

        Warning. This is sad as sad can be, btw.

        Employees accused of neglecting animals at the Memphis animal shelter are now back on the job, officials said Wednesday.

        While the investigation has not pin-pointed any particular person, members of the Memphis Animal Shelter Advisory Board say the people who were working in the shelter when animals allegedly starved to death are the same people working there now.

        Cindy Marx-Sanders is on the board, but Tuesday she spoke as a citizen.

        “I was horrified,” she said.

        Though Marx-Sanders’ Community Action for Animals works on abuse cases every day, she says photos of starving dogs at the shelter with their ribs jutting out are shocking.

        “I see cruelty photographs a lot,” she said. “Heinous cruelty photographs. I was just amazed this was coming from the shelter.”

        Marx-Sanders was thankful when investigators carried out a search warrant on the shelter last Tuesday.

        “Relieved was definitely the word,” she said. “It was about time.”

        But now, she’s upset to hear the employees who cared for the dogs while the alleged abuses happened are back on the job.

        “I know they have to wait to see how the investigation pans out, but I feel like they should have been left on administrative leave,” she said.

        Marx-Sanders says the live web cameras the city installed at the shelter Wednesday will keep a watchful eye.

        “I think the cameras are a great start,” she said. “There are a couple of concerns I have about the cameras.”

        For one, Marx-Sanders is worried if any employee is alone at the shelter at any time, someone watching the web cam could target that person.

        While people are responsible for spaying and neutering their pets, she says the city must have standards.

        “You can’t help that every cage is full, but you can help how those animals are treated while they’re there,” she said.

        Thursday night at 6pm, several animal activist groups will come together to hold a vigil for the animals that died at the shelter.

  14. Maybe Dr. Tower and Dr. Clay think they can bring some help to the animals at the pound, I don’t know, but if I had worked hard to become a veterinarian I wouldn’t want to jeopardize my practice and good name by aligning myself with the current staff at MAS.
    I know that Dr. Clay has enjoyed a good name. She treated one of my dogs and I was pleased with her. That’s why I can’t understand why she would want to get in on what’s going on at MAS. I don’t know Dr. Tower so I don’t know anything about him or his practice…but I’m sure he is a good vet. If I was in his shoes I surely wouldn’t want to jeopardize my practice or my good name.

      1. I watched some of the video of the committee meeting. Certainly, a very unorganized meeting that appears not to follow any rules of order. That could be one reason why very little gets accompliched.

  15. PETA just raised the award to 8,000 dollars for Kapone. I don’t like PETA and I know they did it for the publicity BUT I like that a large organization has taken notice on this because it only means more coverage. Also 8k would get me talking even if I didn’t care about animals.

    1. I’ve said this elsewhere, but if it were up tp me, I would have rejected PETA’s money because an alliance with them on any level marks the rest of us as crazy extremists, and links us with PETA’s record of murder. I wish we could give it back.

      1. The extra reward is nice, but yah, I’d not want to be associated with PETA either. On the other hand I can’t blame Kapone’s owners for accepting it since maybe, just maybe, the higher dollar amount will result in someone turning in Kapone.

      2. Ruth:
        Completely agree. I said it once “Patrick” was going to go to a new place when he was recovered and Ill say it again here. PETA bringing awareness/money/etc is okay, but I would be warry of getting them involved because they may think that deserves them owning the dog and we all know what them owning the dog means. They have a worse kill-rate than MAS!

  16. I am sorry but it is the staff and volunteers that the public needs protection from. Staff with felony records such as has been reported about Demetria Hogan. I mean really, would you ever willingly invite this woman with her record into your home? Plus One particular volunteer went to a man’s work and threatened his job because she didnt like something he said on the volunteers facebook page. The very same volunteer accosted me at an advisory board meeting, blocking the door so I could not get out, accusing me of calling her names. I’d never ever laid eyes on the woman before that evening nor had I ever spoken to her. Psychotic maybe? And they worry about us?

    1. Hogan was one of the hires made when WIllie Herenton was Mayor of Memphis for 18 gosh darned years. She was hired under the “Second Chance” program and that is a program which gives convicted felons employment opportunities. Her criminal background as well as the criminal background of a very fair amount (but not all, obviously) of her very own co-workers is more or less public knowledge. It is also public knowledge that Herenton did not give a good gosh darned about th MAS nor the Rape Crisis Center at all but he was awfully fond of hiring pals (of pals) and former ladyfriends to run things at both places and the like.Anyone can look that up over on the online version of The Commercial Appeal.

      I truly think that there is just something which is at the root of this whole situation and I truly think that ‘the something’ just has to lie with what happened under Herenton.

      The raid back in 2009 over at the MAS only went so far. It truly did. Something is still being covered up for some reason.

      Remember Wharton used to be the Mayor of the county prior to being the Mayor of the city. Lutrell used to be the Sheriff and he actually helped lead the raid on the MAS. Lutrell is now the county Mayor and AC is now the city Mayor. Something is still being covered up. I do not know if the MAS gets tax breaks out the whazoo or what, but there is something here which I really wish I could formally and properly figure out.

      1. Wharton is the man who knows. Don’t think for one minute that he will hesitate to take off the kid gloves and go mano-a-mano with ANYONE who he thinks is in his way.

    1. sounds like mr mayor isn’t ready to admit there are real problems – still blaming the “irresponsible public”

      he also sounds like he thinks the new building is going to change things – hardly!

  17. I worried that they wouldnt put cameras into the new building a few days ago and now the workers are worrying about pulling the cameras off the one they already have. I will try to be optimistic but if Wharton makes the decision, I dont have the best feeling. As someone else mentioned, he could always claim there are no funds, but really I think he thinks the “irresponsible public” doesnt care what happens and without having cameras, there wont be any proof for those “crazy animal lovers” to bring up. Anyway, major props to those who went to the meeting. Thank you!

    1. If he hasn’t figured out yet that much of the “irresponsible public” DOES care, then he’s just plain dumb. I think the response to Kapone’s disappearance should have told him that people do care.

      1. Yes but I think he, Pepper, et al may be too blind to notice that.

  18. All the problems at the Memphis Animal “Shelter” could be cleared up in the blink of an eye…by Mayor Wharton. Today he confirmed that he prefers Open Meetings rather than closed, secret ones like Dr. Tower has set up. I hope he also wants a humane shelter staff. He could put an end to all of this nonsense. He could back Memphis rather than business as usual at the “shelter.” There is so much at stake. Major businesses are needed here…but who in their right mind would come to a city where the mayor cannot even get control of our animal “shelter”….where a felon like Demitria Hogan is allowed to work and enjoy her 15 minutes of fame in the spotlight after being arrested this week and charged with animal cruelty. I wonder if Bass Pro or any other major businesses will want anything to do with Memphis….and our citizens surely do need the jobs.

  19. If Mayor Wharton cannot get control of an animal “shelter” how could he possibly be able to attract new business and take this city forward?

  20. On behalf of the citizens of Memphis who are hurting because of unemployment I beseech Mayor Wharton to show leadership by getting control of the situation at the Memphis Animal Services “Shelter.” PLEASE stop defending felons who work there. PLEASE stop ignoring the fact that we are seeing pictures of animal abuse on the “Shelter Webcam!” PLEASE do not give into “shelter” workers who want the webcam removed when they move into the new building! PLEASE allow us to have a humane and compassionate shelter that we can all be proud of! Mayor Wharton! You know everything that needs to be done! PLEASE do not defend a handful of city workers. many of whom are felons, over both employed and unemployed Memphians who need jobs and funds brought into this city. I just do not understand.

  21. How many people who work there are felons? Are the only felons from that 2nd chance program? Or can they just hire felons without the program? Does anybody know?

    1. There was a Commercial Appeal article that said there was 8 employees there from the 2nd chance program. That’s insane. Abuseive people should not work with sentenant beings that can’t speak when abused. Cousins hireing cousins.

  22. is it possible that someone has something on someone else and they dont want something to be exposed? why is thd shelter director allowing animal abuse to go on. why is our mayor allowing the city to be held hostage by a small number of employees at the shelter…some of whom abuse the animals…some of whom are felons. why does the mayor allow himself to appear so impotent when he has the power to settle the shelter an instant. there is another piece 2 this puzzle perhaps. what is really going on and who has what on who? nothing is making any sense.

    1. Those are all very good questions. I’m hoping that there is someone, when it comes time for the Memphis city elections, to challenge the current administration who can do some serious housecleaning. The citizens (and taxpayers and animals) deserve so much better. Until they stand up and say ENOUGH! this kind of thing will continue. Sounds like this is a long standing problem in Memphis.

  23. Open meetings legislation TN

    I think it’s pretty clear they are in violation. Perhaps those city lawyers think everyone is stupid, or they need to go back to law school.
    Scroll down to:

    “8-44-101. Policy – Construction. — (a) The general assembly hereby declares it to be the policy of this state that the formation of public policy and decisions is public business and shall not be conducted in secret.
    8-44-102. Open meetings — “Governing body” defined — “Meeting” defined.— (a) All meetings of any governing body are declared to be public meetings open to the public at all times, except as provided by the Constitution of Tennessee.
    (b)(1) “Governing body” means:
    (A) The members of any public body which consists of two (2) or more members, with the authority to make decisions for or recommendations to a public body on policy or administration and also means a community action agency which administers community action programs under the provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 2790 [repealed]. Any governing body so defined by this section shall remain so defined, notwithstanding the fact that such governing body may have designated itself as a negotiation committee for collective bargaining purposes, and strategy sessions of a governing body under such circumstances shall be open to the public at all times

    Even non-profits who get 30% public money have to be open.

    There’s a link to ombudsman also. Worth contacting for those of you who live in Memphis.

  24. I sent an email to TN Comptroller of the Treasury Office & asked what recourse we have when we weren’t allowed to a closed meeting held in an undisclosed location as everyone showed up at the usual location & were later told they were exempt from open meetings. I’m waiting for a responce from them.

  25. If the mayor can not manage a shelter, how on earth can he manage a city. these pictures are deplorable. all animals were created by GOD, who are we to decide when they are to die. I think they are very sick people. the guy with the stick & the cat. I would like to put it around his neck and see how he likes it. someone needs to get control. there is no reason for that kind of mis- treatment. God will judge you one day. I am glad I will not have to see it.

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