Nathan Winograd to Memphis: Fix Your Broken Shelter System

The Memphis Rotary Club is seeking the public’s input regarding its upcoming study of MAS.  Nathan Winograd has sent them a comprehensive look at where MAS stands in comparison with where it could be:

Memphis Animal Services (MAS) serves Shelby County, Tennessee which has a population of 920,000 people. MAS intake for 2010 was 15,400. They killed 11,900. By contrast, Washoe County, Nevada saves 91% of animals even though they take in the same number of animals despite half the population. In other words, MAS takes in about 17 pets per 1,000 people, while Washoe County takes in about 35 pets per 1,000 people. Comparing for population with Washoe County and then comparing adoptions per capita, if MAS did the same level of adoptions as they do in Washoe County, they would adopt out about 21,349 per year, more than total impounds.

From the perspective of achievability, therefore, the prognosis for No Kill success in Memphis is very good.

Read the entire piece here.

15 thoughts on “Nathan Winograd to Memphis: Fix Your Broken Shelter System

  1. I actually sent some information and opinion to this group when it was first announced that they are conducting a study. I just hope and pray and they will go into this with an open mind and that it’s not just “window dressing” (as I fear)! It’s just so very do-able!!!

  2. Thank you Nathan for addressing the problems at MAS. The hardest part will be getting the city leaders to SET ASIDE THEIR EGO. The people in “power” there just will not accept that there is a better way of doing things than they are now doing. In the meantime the animals are suffering horrible treatment at their hands. I am so hoping against all hope that the Rotary Club will actually be a voice for what is best for the animals of Memphis.

  3. Thanks go to you Nathan for taking the time to do the research and write a persuasive, cogent argument in favor of a significant, but achieveable change in the MAS. I agree that at a fundamental level this issue comes down to a question of leadership, one where accountability and moral responsibility are acted on…Instead of accepting the traditional litany of reasons why things can’t be accomplished, we must accept nothing less than a proactive, progressive template for how they can. Kudos to you Nathan.

  4. How do we get to the proactive, progressive change? Until leadership, employees & volunteers are replaced, then leaving the “how things have been done” behind..nothing can change! I, like Arlene, hope against hope that the Rotary Club will be the way to have real change. I hope this is not just a “show” by the Mayor to appease the animal advocates.I believe the Rotary Club should talk to rescues, fosters and adopters and get the “real story” then we will have a chance to have a shelter to be proud of where the animals will be treated with kindness, compassion and dignity. Thanks, Nathan for giving us hope and “where there is will, there is a way.!

    1. Ann, what is wrong with rescue, fosters and volunteers at this shelter? Are you in Memphis? Would love to hear some input from someone who is in Memphis and knows the shelter.

      Thanks for any input you have if you are in Memphis.


  5. Also, does anyone do anything to help get the animals out of the Memphis Shelter? Are they kept up to date online somewhere, do they work with rescue groups, do they have some social media exposure?

    P.S. Just found this blog so trying to catch up!

  6. Thanks, Nathan. How about having a look at Michigan Humane? I’ve been in touch with them and they are so busy making excuses for why they have to kill so many of the animals, I suspect that they are not going to make any of the necessary changes to save lives.
    Up to the challenge? It’s a tough time for animals in Michigan, particularly the Detroit area, so if you’d be willing to take a look, I know that many would appreciate (maybe not MHS – but that’s beside the point).

  7. I, too, asked questions of Michigan when I saw our local shelter was sending them puppies.My local “shelter” said it was a different MHS. Then I received the e mail FROM MHS saying, yes, they do find homes for pups from “overwhelmed southern shelters”
    I got MHS stats from the website.

    1. Their statistics are not quite as definitive as I would like. I am hoping that they will get them to me with numbers broken down into categories – intake/rto/adopted/to rescue/killed (oops . . . I meant euthanasia). Charity Navigator doesn’t give them such a good rating, either and the CEO is doing okay, salary-wise.
      Must be your southern pups are more adoptable than our Michigan pups . . .

  8. mmhmm, yeah, that’s it. I was thinking more along the lines of ours saying they were using “rescue partners” and yours saying “we’re doing such a good job, we need more pups ”
    BTW- ours has a 77% kill rate. And those board members in Mi, they’re from a different Michigan Humane Society. So says OUR shelter .

  9. Maybe the animal lovers of Memphis need to contact the Rotary Club with a lot of good info about the No-Kill movement and programs and let them know if it can be done in other communities why not Memphis too. Let them know about the lifesaving efforts that happens in other towns and how it can be done in their animal shelter too.

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