Lipstick on a Pig

This was apparently the response sent out by Bobby White from Mayor Wharton’s office to people who e-mailed concerns about the “dogfight” photo:

Sent: Thursday, August 11, 2011 6:45 PM

I am hopeful that everyone included in this email will have the chance to review the raw footage of one pit bull’s attack of another pit bull and the attempt being made by these two shelter employees to loosen the aggressor dog’s vise-like grip/bite that was locked on the other dog. We will have the raw footage posted on the city’s website tomorrow; it’s too big to email.

Thanks all.

All hail the two MAS heroes who descended from heaven to beat the savage beast into submission with a chokepole!

Also:  Vise-like grip!!!!!!!!!!  Everybody panic!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don’t suppose any of the MAS safe handling techniques training is available on video.  I’d love to see the part where the instructor tells the class to take two powerful dogs of unknown temperament out of the isolation ward simultaneously and when the inevitable happens, summon your weapon wielding co-worker to egg them on by beating on the dogs with a chokepole.

Anyone in Memphis ever heard of breaksticks?  With proper training, workers can learn to break up fights between Pitbull type dogs safely, humanely and quickly – no chokepole beatings required!

Mr. White also gives us the answer as to why the two dogs were moved together – they were on their way to the kill room.  And heaven forfend we delay a dog killing by 2 minutes or however long it would take to walk them down there individually.

From: []
Sent: Thursday, August 11, 2011 6:46 PM

Also, both animals were already scheduled to be put down.

Well, if they were already scheduled then we wouldn’t want to throw a monkey wrench into the killing assembly line now would we?  Get them into the dumpster any which way you can – two at a time, one puncturing the other one’s leg, whatevs…


Note:  I did a phone interview with a reporter from WMC-TV in Memphis tonight about the photo/video.  We had a bad connection but hopefully she can use some of the audio.  I’ll post a link when the story is up.

There is a blog post on the Commercial Appeal site as well.

17 thoughts on “Lipstick on a Pig

  1. This does not explain the smiles on said employee’s face in the pics I saw. Did I miss a struggle to separate dogs somehow? I didn’t see one. What a crock.

  2. No one even attempted to wheelbarrow a dog there, just whacking and pulling – this indicates ZERO TRAINING on how to handle this kind of situation.

    A situation, btw, that happened because a worker was incompetent at his job. And another worker comes in to “help” and is also incompetent, beating a dog with a chokepole and poking it with a broom.

    Matthew Pepper, where are you on this?

    Oh – and these dogs on their way to the kill room were clearly agitated – did they get sedation before they died or were they just injected while fully conscious?

    I can’t help but wonder how many dog fights break out in the kill room with these kinds of yahoos in charge.

  3. Was the employee ‘correct’ to get two dogs – pit bulls – at the same time, from separate cages? No.

    Did the employees use the best ‘procedures’ and/or ‘training’ to get the dogs apart? No.

    Could they have handled the situation much better? Yes.

    The original accusation was ‘dog-fighting’ by the employees.

    Is that what happened? NO.

    In this case, the photo WAS misleading. I am glad that the shelter released the video so that all of the data was available to everyone.

    Does this excuse the other valid issues going on at MAS?


    It would be nice if MAS were more forthcoming when the evidence proves violations and/or wrongdoing.

    But people do need to make sure that they do have all the information and facts before they make public accusations.

    This incident will damage, significantly, the credibility of the rescue community, making it even MORE difficult to bring attention and accountability to the legitimate, factual issues at MAS.

    1. Why would it damage the rescue community? There was no accusation of dogfighting – there was a question of wrongdoing which appears to be substantiated by the video.

      I’m sorry but is MAS going to release the video footage for the cat being hanged by the neck in tongs or the dog being carried by the skin on his back or any of the dogs being hoisted to upper tier cages in chokepoles? Of course not. They released this video footage to “prove” they were merely negligent and inept, not engaging in criminal dogfighting. We don’t have the opportunity to gather more information on the webcam screengrabs b/c the city won’t answer our requests for info.

    2. Know what? Those guys WERE fighting the dogs from the moment they starting smiling regardless of how the fight began. Accidently on purpose? At least one of the dogs looked pretty scarred up so why would anyone assume he’d be safe to walk with another dog? I can’t even say how sad it made me to see that dog get beaten. Those were his last moments on earth. What an asshole.

  4. I am still appalled and saddened that the dogs of Memphis receive so little respect.
    There is a whole lot of stupid going on in Memphis.

    1. I think you’re right about the stupid, Susan.

      Ignorance is curable, stupidity is not.

      Haven’t seen any cures in Memphis.

      So why is Pepper departing? There were whispers somewhere that he was being frustrated by the City….so why doesn’t he speak out now?

  5. Where is the confetti?! Pepper resigned!!! He turned in his resignation on Tuesday- do not know when it is effective, etc…..

  6. I looked at the video but couldn’t find the exact spot where the one worker was holding on with one hand – and smiling. Regardless, it should not have happened and I hope that those in charge will learn from this. Those dogs, especially since they were on their way to be killed, deserved to be treated with a little kindness before they died.

    1. They deserved to be given a chance at permanent placement – that is the ultimate kindness.

      Being treated “nicely” on your way to an unnecessary death isn’t much to be proud of.

      1. And not that I need to point this out to anyone here but not being beaten with a chokepole before being killed is a pretty low hurdle to clear.

  7. Yeah, Heaven forbid you stop and take a few minutes out of your day to do one dog at a time when they are going to be killed anyway. My apologizes, Bobby White, that is so thoughtful of you. I still say that “since they are going to be killed anyway”, it wouldnt surprise me if they were testing for temperament. Who knows how many dogs go out the backdoor at MAS that we never see.

Leave a Reply