Updates on MAS

Demetria Hogan, the Memphis ACO who impounded Kapone, was fired yesterday.  She faces two counts of animal cruelty.  One in connection with Kapone’s “disappearance” and according to the Commercial Appeal, the other is related to a different dog:

The second cruelty count against Hogan involved a dog she picked up Tuesday after it had been hit by a car. By the time Hogan delivered the dog to the animal shelter, it was dead. Investigators are looking into the possibility Hogan delayed returning to the shelter for fear she would be met by police and arrested for failing to turn herself in on the earlier cruelty case.

The article also confirms the new MAS building will not have webcams installed.

WREG has an interview with Matthew Pepper:

What is bothering him is that people are, in his opinion, jumping on perceptions and not reality. “You’ve seen those billboards around the city about the shelter,” he said. “What did they cost, maybe ten thousand dollars? Can you imagine how many animals could have been spayed and neutered with that money,” he said.

Perceptions, not reality.  We can go back and forth ad nauseum on the whole “second before and second after” argument but I think the volume of webcam shots appearing to depict abuse and needless killing speak for themselves.  In theory, a single photo could be taken out of context.  Two photos even.  But when you have hundreds of shots seeming to reveal abuse and needless killing combined with the context that MAS kills 77% of its pets, I think there is cause for legitimate concern.  I would offer that there is cause for a police investigation.

As far as the billboard cost goes, I can’t verify the actual cost since I did not purchase the space.  But I know the ChipIn that was set up to pay for the billboard was for $1200.  I suppose it’s possible the person/group doing the billboard had $9k of their own money and needed to seek donations for the last $1200 but that seems unlikely to me.  I assumed that $1200 was the cost.  But whatever the actual cost, is Matt Pepper saying that if that money had been given to MAS, it would have been used to spay and neuter pets?  MAS doesn’t even offer a no/low cost spay-neuter program to my knowledge.  And I think the reality, not perception, is that MAS kills 77% of the pets that come through its doors.  Killing is expensive.  If someone gave $1200 or $10k or whatever to MAS, I assume they would be funding the killing of healthy/treatable pets.  Because that’s the main thing MAS does with its pets – kills them.

Regarding the alleged threats being used as an excuse to hide the abuse and killings at MAS from the public via webcams, Mr. Pepper says:

“I’ve had people call my home personally and made threats toward me. I think our staff has also felt threatened at times,” he said.

If people have called Matt Pepper’s home and threatened him, that crosses the line.  I am 100% opposed to that kind of behavior.  I would like to see the police reports on when these calls were received, who made them and what the outcome of the investigation was.  If the staff has received threats, I’d like to find out this same information.  Has anyone seen the police reports regarding these threats?  I haven’t so I can’t comment on them but I will say that the webcams are up for the protection of the pets because there have been police reports documenting the threats they face from the workers at MAS.

When asked about the 155 pets listed by MAS as “missing” in 2010,WREG reports:

According to Pepper, it was an accounting problem and nothing more.

Wow.  Sounds like MAS has some very serious accounting issues with their record keeping.

Regarding the excessively high kill rate at MAS, Mr, Pepper says:

“One way you can look at that is, we’re putting three quarters of all animals brought in to sleep,” he says. “Another way you can look at it is, that’s the lowest figure we’ve had in five years.”

Well it’s the lowest figure you’ve had in 5 years if we trust your accounting.  Which you just told us is shoddy.  I think I’m going to look at it the way the healthy/treatable pets at MAS might:  You are needlessly killing 3 out of 4 pets in your care despite having tools at your disposal to end that practice.  It’s revolting and unjustifiable.

And please, lose the whole “putting to sleep” jargon.  I put Charlie to sleep last month after loving him as a family member for 10 years, in order that he would not have to suffer once treatment options for his cancer had been exhausted.  He was medically hopeless and suffering.  I loved him every day for 10 years and I fed him homemade biscuits and told him how much I loved him until his last breath.  I love him today and every day.  That’s euthanasia or as Mr. Pepper says “putting to sleep”.  What MAS does is killing.  If you can’t own it, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.

21 thoughts on “Updates on MAS

  1. Bravo and much clapping, Shirley. MAS – STOP THE KILLING. WHERE IS KAPONE? Show us your evidence of harrassment – I don’t believe you, I believe you (Pepper et al) are using old and tired bullshit about animal lovers being “crazy activists” as a crutch to try and worm your way out of what you do at MAS which is KILL KILL KILL. Show us the evidence or as Shirley said above: “If you can’t own it, you shouldn’t be doing it”. We will NOT go away because you “make a wish” for us to disappear. Either sit down with local animal welfare advocates and get to work on fixing these problems, face the REAL music, or give the shelter over to loving hands who can do the job right. You may be able to twirl a shiny object in the eyes of some people, but you can’t baffle alot of us with bullshit. We are on to you, we know what goes down in that horrorshow that is MAS, AND WE ARE STAYING PUT.

    Open to Matt Pepper: Show us your police report of abusive phone calls to your house. We want to see it. Otherwise, get out of the way and let people with true compassion in their hearts get down to the real work of running a SHELTER.

  2. Awesome response Shirley…..If no cams are installed the killing will continue….if all of these evil people are not taken out of authority over these helpless animals there will be more killings…..The camera’s would prove that…..Make them accountable…..do your job city officials and change what is happening here….if you can’t then citizens of Memphis need to replace you with someone that can do the job. Pepper needs to step away if he isn’t man enough to make himself accountable……an honest man has nothing to hide.

  3. This is the fellow who is in total accord with the employees of the MAS who are claiming to be threatened


    George M. Little
    Chief Administrative Officer
    125 N. Main St. Room 308
    Memphis, Tn 38103
    (901) 636-6558
    (901) 576-6555

    I have (just now) e mailed him very politely and formally about the MAS employee claims about threats and the like and I most humbly think it would be a good idea for everyone else to do the same.

  4. When Matthew Pepper tries to make it sound like he is doing 75% of the animals a favor by “putting them to sleep”, how can we ever expect things to get any better?

    And he only said he thinks his staff has felt threatened at times. It doesn’t sound like there is any solid proof there, just his intuition. If staff were being threatened, wouldn’t the boss be the first to know?

  5. I have a hard time believing anyone has been threatened in person or on the phone. My guess is that they feel threatened from the exposure that they are getting from all over the place. That right there is the difference between perception and reality Mr. Pepper. And I just LOVE how in one sentence he says they have accounting errors in the number of dogs gone missing (again I HIGHLY doubt) and in the next sentence expects us to believe his accounting in the number of dogs killed. At some point people will be up for re-election and boy it will be fun to watch them all sweat. I will never understand why someone in charge wouldn’t WANT to clean up their image, make it a better place and most importantly, save as many animals as possible.

  6. Saving animals is not MAS’s goal. Saving/adopting out animals is not a priority at all.

    “Business as usual” is the goal. “Business as usual” is the priority. There is no incentive to do better, no incentive to strive for more, no incentive to change.

    Even the cameras showing the shameful and disgraceful activities have done nothing to motivate change in behavior.

  7. Great article!! As for him saying that the billboard money could have went to S/N the dogs, I believe they already have a fund they are getting each year for S&N of the animals….I have posted both on WREG & Wharton’s FB that the cameras should be left on. I am so tired of them trying to cover up for the criminals in Memphis

    1. I am sick of Wharton and Pepper constantly making excuses! They have the ultimate power for change and nothing has happened since I first started to follow MAS.

      They also had the POWER to GET KAPONE BACK! and what have they done “NOTHING!”

      They continue to make everyone suffer with their ignorance and attitude.

    2. Yea, and Ranger was probably listed as “neutered” so they wouldn’t HAVE to spend the s/n monies. I wonder where those monies are going, or are they “accounting problems” as well? We sure would have appreciated iRanger being neutered, up here its going to cost me over $300!!!!

  8. As for what Pepper said about the billboards: Theoretically we could have the majority of pets spayed and neutered but once they step foot in that shelter they are dead. The fact that they are spayed or neutered does not save them from being killed in the shelter. Sure, it’s great for preventing future litters, but the issue here is the shelter! We want the shelter to be a safe place first then we can focus on low cost spay/neuter, low cost vacc and low cost microchipping.

    About the 155 pets unaccounted for: it does not make sense! So many other shelters have better statistics! Do dogs or cats ever get lost at those shelters? Sure, a FEW but not 155! As for that being an accounting problem, BS! Your maths are severely flawed, you cannot even count sheep (pets). Animals lives are at stake here. Either you have them or you don’t. Take the care and the time to have proper accounting. A dog or cat does not vanish into thin air. Yes, they can run away or get stolen, it happens. Fine, write that down but don’t be all mysterious about it.

    I volunteered once at a rural FL shelter that used inmates to help care for the animals as part of their community service. But that’s all they did (no going out on calls on their own) and they were under close surveillance. If they did not do the job properly they were sent back and another inmate was sent instead. In this way they had to prove that they could help and cared about the animals and cared about doing a good job. They also had to be non violent offenders. That whole “ban the box” is BS. Put the box back, include a space below it where they can write something to explain themselves and then let them explain themselves in the interview.

    I hate that they keep going back to the “we’re being threatened and we’re scared” thing. I think the majority of people have pets sitting next to them and just do not want other animals to suffer, just as they would not want their own pets to suffer. Most of us are not super crazy, we’re perfectly normal and we want these pets to be sheltered in the true sense of sheltering, not in a concentration camp for animals.

    1. If they scream “crazy activists” then maybe people won’t pay attention to what they are doing. I am one of those people who have adopted all of my pets and sit here on my couch and read about all the adoptable pets being killed (not put to sleep as Mr. Pepper likes to call it) and it makes me sick. Not once have I ever threatened anyone and the letters I have written are all civil. And I will not go away.

  9. “What is bothering him is that people are, in his opinion, jumping on perceptions and not reality. “You’ve seen those billboards around the city about the shelter,” he said. “What did they cost, maybe ten thousand dollars? Can you imagine how many animals could have been spayed and neutered with that money,” he said.”

    Okay. So raise $10,000, Mr. Pepper. You are the shelter director. If spaying and neutering is your priority, then get yourself out there and MAKE IT HAPPEN. Get corporate sponsors, have a bake sale, have a raffle or two, get some local musicians to donate their time to do a show…do *something*.

    You’ve got a position of power and access to the press. Want to turn people’s perception of you around and make yourself look like the good guy? DO SOMETHING. Everything you need is available to you – use your resources.

    Because right now, perceptions of MAS are not good. And the reality of MAS is not good. You can change all that. A little will and creativity will go a long way.

  10. My opinion is that if Pepper were so concerned about funding for spay/neuter then he would enforce the Tennessee law stating that ANY animal adopted from a shelter must be neutered and if there is a reason (medical/age, etc) then the person adopting must provide a minimum of $25.00 in addition to the adoption fee to be placed in a fund specifically for spay/neuter programs in that particular city or county.
    Hmmm…I wonder how much he has collected thus far?

    1. Sorry, Cindy, I meant to put my earlier comment about Ranger’s neutering here, not where it is. And yes, where IS all that money they are saving by sending out animals marked as neutered or spayed when indeed they are not???? Who’s geting THAT money under the table? It is going to cost me over $300 to have Ranger neutered up here! And I’m in a rural district!!!!

  11. Him going on about the billboards and people threatening him is just yet another tactic in his arsenal to deflect the wrong things they are doing onto the “irresponsible public” and nothing more. At this point, nothing he says makes me surprised or is something I can actually think is truth. I just want them to stop torturing these poor creatures, including killing them, NOT euthanizing them, as he points out. Im very worried about the webcams not being in the next shelter…but on the plus side, at least Demetria was fired.

  12. This is a shell game. If Pepper thinks 155 missing animals is an “accounting error”, then there are incompetents working at the shelter. Ditto the purported threats, just an attempt to distract attention from Pepper’s abysmal record at the shelter and the employees’ continuing inhumane treatment of animals.
    Clean house, top to bottom, including the Hooks woman, and put in people who know and care about what they’re doing.

  13. Is the whole city government of Memphis stupid, crooked, uncaring, and hates animals? That must be the case. Otherwise, this situation would not have gotten to the point that it because SOMEONE in the city government would have brought MAS to its knees by now. The question is, what will happen to the animals once they move into the new facility? Is there NOTHING that can done to stop the killing machine known as MAS?

    1. Debbie: to take your points one by one: yes, yes, yes, yes and some do some don’t. They will all die, except for the chosen few. Yes, there is something that can bring it down – people of Memphis must call on groups across the nation for a major day of prayer and fasting, um, I mean of action at the Mayor’s doorstep.

Leave a Reply