Privatizing MAS?

Memphis is considering privatizing the city pound:

Chief Administrative Officer George Little said the city is in the middle of putting together what is called a “Request For Proposal,” also known as an RFP.  An RFP allows companies to bid on getting a city contract to take over operations.  Little said the proposal should be completed by the end of August.

Well this is a surprise.  Although I’m not clear on how this would work exactly.  Would the company be obligated to keep the existing staff, many of whom were responsible for direct animal care at the time dogs were being starved to death in 2009?  I honestly can’t see how the situation at MAS would improve, even slightly, without a major personnel overhaul.  (As well as policies, procedures and everything else.)  I mean, would you want to bid on a contract for the Titanic with the same captain and crew in place?

Little said not only is the city open to privatization, they would consider a shelter where fewer animals are killed.

Oh Swellville.  That’s mighty generous of you.

Knowing how Memphis sleazes it up operates with regard to the pound, I can’t help being suspicious.  The timing sure is interesting as it coincides with Mayor Wharton’s announcement of his intent to seek re-election.  But I really want to know some details on how privatization would work.  Is this simply an attempt to distract us and/or for the city to find someone else to blame for the abuse and killings at MAS?  If anyone has any info to share, please do.

26 thoughts on “Privatizing MAS?

    1. I don’t think the Louisville mayor gave the bidding group a fair shake. He didn’t even talk to them before rejecting their proposal. Seems to me like maybe it was done just to say ‘We tried that” when critics bring up privatization in future.

  1. Kansas City, MO went to a privatized shelter system 2 1/2 years ago. It offers a lot of hope for making things better — as money is always tight for cities, but private orgs are better able to supplement revenue through donations than city shelters are. It’s worked pretty well in Johnson County, KS, and the KCMO numbers were definitely better than when the city ran the shelter. That group was not without its challenges though and so a new bid has gone out. I really think this is going to be the most successful route for cities to go….but the city has to have buy-in as well. They can’t continue to round up unaltered animals, feral cats, pit bulls, or someone’s extra cat that is over the pet limit and drop them all off at the privatized shelter and expect them to be successful. But if they can make it a good working partnership, it has every opportunity to succeed.

    1. I agree, this could be the best thing for the animals as Memphis’ record is abismal. Any company could do better. I’m sure any private company would defanitly fire any current employee; they’ve proven their worthiness.

      I’m wondering about the mayor’s statement of privatetation AND less killing. If it’s privateized, he wouldn’t have any say so about the amount of killing.

      I hope it is done & not a smoke-screen. I wish I could bid & run the place myself & hire all you other good people who do care about the many lives to be rescued instead of ruthlessly killed. We could do it right, huh.

  2. I really, really, really want to see the RFP.

    Ensure that euthanasia is humane. No gassing, no shooting, no heart sticking, etc.
    Requirement for adequate vet care, food, water, exercise, cleanliness. Adequate cage size appropriate to animal’s size (so cats aren’t sitting in litter boxes).
    Have a take-back clause so contract can be immediately terminated if operator breaches any term especially animal care/welfare.
    No requirement that Second Chance felons need be hired.
    More thoughts to follow.

    In other words, make it BETTER.

    1. They should consider privitizing just the adoptions side, the way that Washoe County and Nevada Humane run things. That way the right people are in place to SAVE the animals before the city can kill them.

  3. I am so, SO against privitzation of shelters. Maybe it’s different in the US, but nothing good has come of it in Canada.

    Do me a favour and google “Berger Blanc”. Horrifying.

    1. Isn’t Berger Blanc for-profit? Whenever I’ve seen privatization of animal services discussed here in the U.S., it’s been with non-profits.

      Mind, not always with the best of motives. Recently the next town over from mine considered such a move, and I gathered that the primary consideration was cost savings. Among other things, it was assumed the day-to-day scutwork would be done by volunteers, thus saving the cost of trained personnel. Which is another can of worms, I think.

    2. i had also heard of the problems with Privatizing in Canada, so i’m withholding judgement on this.

      Is anyone concerned that Privatizing would go to the’lowest bidder’- i.e. the organization that proposes to run MAS the cheapest?

      1. Cheapest would be a serious problem, especially considering the financial trouble the City of Memphis seems to be in.

      2. I checked out Baltimore….privatized…not-for-profit. Quite a success story. 90+% kill rate reduced to 30+% in less than 5 years.

        Not for profit is the only way to privatize.

        We don’t want the lowest bidder…

    3. London, Ontario currently has a privately run, for-profit animal (care &) control system that many people aren’t happy with. They have someone come in & kill animals there at least twice a week, but don’t mention that on their website.

      The City, together with rescues, are looking at creating a non-profit system for next year & implementing more of Calgary’s programs & policies so that they do away with pet limits, & money from ID sales from cats & dogs goes toward paying for vet care, s/n of animals. Just found this HSUS article about the Calgary system today,

      London groups would like to hire him as a consultant like Toronto HS did. Would love to see someone evaluate the Calgary system to see if it can truly be come no kill, or are there flaws built into it. (Example, the city has TNR for feral cats, run by the MEOW Foundation, but makes no mention of it on the city’s site. It could be that people are being told about it when they phone, I don’t know. Pretty sure they are still loaning out traps, & accepting & killing many feral cats.)

    1. I vote same…in my part of the world, privatization has NOTHING to do with the city or town, except that they give up total control and interest in the operations of the shelter. They can contract to be the “dog catcher” who brings the animals to the private shelter, but that is the extent of it. If they are going to entertain an RFP, it means they still want control, they just don’t want the heat, and that means things will stay the same. PETITION THE CITY FOR TOTAL PRIVATIZATION – a non-profit group needs to come up with a business plan to run the shelter and totally take it over. it was done where I used to live, and has improved things mightily there.

      This is a balloon sent up to distract people. I am guessing that even if they were serious, they would award to FOMAS and, well, no offence to any good people in FOMAS, but overall, garbage still stinks even when it is in someone else’s yard.

  4. Privitize?!?! LOL!!! Yeah good luck in North and South Memphis. Go on out there and round them strays up!!! lol

  5. Given how Pepper’s job description was written — a single page, obviously done without consulting other cities for good examples, and containing no performance metrics of any kind — I would recommend looking really carefully at any such RFP, especially since this is obviously something Wharton’s campaign has chosen to try and control the political damage over the shelter crisis.

    And, even if the shelter is privatized, the city could still carry out animal control functions. Which means that family pets would still be sold out of ACO’s back yards and dogs would still be killed by being left in sweltering trucks for hours. The city’s animal control operation needs to be reformed no matter what.

  6. I wouldn’t expect anything good from this mayor’s administration. I just read today that Memphis City schools will have their opening indefinitely delayed because the city owes the school district so much money they are unable to open.

  7. As far as I understand it, it would be pretty good for actual shelter operations, meaning not killing every animal left in a cage, but of course one of these awful workers could always be an ACO or something like that? At least we are halfway there then I guess…

  8. According to Memphis’ record, they aren’t going to go with privateization or any plan that would help the cats & dogs. It’s a smoke-screen, throwing attention off the one’s responsible for the MAS mess.

    It’s hard to believe they’d do anything in the best interest of animals. They actually believe it’s better to help a convict continue her fellony ways than to help the ones who actually need help from “people” like her. They forget the mission of helping the dogs & cats; only a mission of getting votes by passing out jobs, even if they are unqualified & animal abusers.

  9. Here is how we do it here in The Halifax Regional Municipality (pop approx. 400,000)
    Mr. Mayor and MAS feel free to copy all or any:

    Homeward Bound
    The Homeward Bound City Pound is contracted by Halifax Regional Municipality to provide shelter for dogs that are in violation of the HRM by-law A-300 and critically injured cats that have been picked up by Animal Services. Along with providing a safe environment, our dedicated, professional animal care staff offer tender loving care and have the animals treated by a veterinarian as needed.

    Animals that are not claimed within 72 hours are assessed for adoption to determine which type of home environment would be most suitable for them.

    Adopting a friend
    What is the process to adopt a pet from Homeward Bound City Pound?

    In order to adopt a pet you will need to fill out an adoption application.

    Option #1 – Select our online adoption application that can be filled out and returned to us prior to selecting a pet. After a brief telephone interview we can determine which pet may suit you best and notify you when one becomes available.

    Option #2 – Visit Homeward Bound City Pound during our adoption viewing hours and see if we have a pet available that you may be interested in. After you find a suitable pet you will be required to fill out an application or you can download an application at home, complete it and bring it with you. We will interview you when you are at our facility to determine if you will be able to accommodate the needs of the pet you have selected.

    Once it is determined that the animal in question is a good match for your household we will arrange to have the pet spayed or neutered, vaccinated, de-wormed and micro-chipped. (These veterinary procedures will not apply to rabbits, rodents or birds)

    Please understand that this entire process may take several days.

    If you do not see an animal that interests you during a visit to our facility please come back as often as you wish during our viewing hours or check our website for updates on which pets are available.

    Come Visit Us!
    Our viewing hours are:

    Monday – Friday 2pm-6pm

    Saturday and Sunday 12pm-3pm

    Cats $150
    includes: spay or neuter, vaccinations to date, microchip, de-worming, defleaing and an adoption package.

    Dogs $200
    includes: spay or neuter, vaccinations to date, microchip, de-worming, defleaing and an adoption package.

    Homeward Bound City Pound
    201 Brownlow Avenue
    Unit 9
    Dartmouth, NS B3B 1W2
    Phone: 902-407-7283


    By law A 300

    Respecting Animals and Responsible Pet Ownership

    Unredeemed Animals
    16 (1) If an animal is not redeemed within three (3) business days, or otherwise dealt with by
    this By-Law, the animal shall become the property of the Shelter Keeper and may:
    (a) be sold; adopted; or
    (b) be euthanised.
    (2) The Shelter Keeper shall keep all animals seized. Where there is an action before the
    Court involving a seized animal, until such time as a Court orders otherwise.
    (3) Notwithstanding any other provision of this By-law, no animal kept by the Shelter
    Keeper may be sold, adopted, or otherwise disposed of for laboratory or any other
    experimental purpose

    cities explanation of the 3 day section when I asked and numbers:
    – animals are only euthanized because they were deemed dangerous to the public because of aggression issues, or have serious illness or injury.
    They are not euthanized because of a “3 day rule”. Homeward Bound does not euthanize animals for space. They are a no-kill facility.
    – From April 1. 2010 to April 1 , 2011 51 dogs were euthanized because of aggression issues or serious illness or injury.
    – I do not have the stats regarding cats available. For clarification Animal Services only picks up critically injured cats, the majority of which have to be euthanized due to their injury.

    1. Having someone else decide if a certain dog & myself is compatable is somewhat unacceptable. The $200 adoption fee seems expensive considering how many dogs/cats need homes. Any doggie is well worth the cost but it still excludes many potential adoptors.

    2. How does Homeward Bound decide on whether a dog should be put down? What are the criteria? Do they use the old SPCA test, which has been widely discredited? How do they determine for certain whether a dog can’t be trained out of aggressive behavior??
      And how can Homeward Bound be held accountable? Is there some sort of oversight?
      Sorry, but I don’t buy the no-kill claim, unless they have qualified people doing this job. 51 dogs a year is way over the statistical probability for bona fide untrainable, incorrigible dogs.
      And what about the cats?? Who sees the paperwork on them?

  10. I was watching The Rachel Maddow Show last night and regardless of what you think of her politically, she mentioned how with this whole debt ceiling thing not being raised that 5 states would really take the brunt of it because there are so many government jobs. One of them was TN (the others were MD, SC, VA and NM). People keep saying that privatization wont happen but it makes me wonder if TN is so bad that it HAS to happen. I just hope that they clear house once and for all if they do (and just let that John guy reapply for the job lol).

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