Updated: Thoughts on the “Dogfighting” Webcam Shot from MAS

As I have already stated, I don’t know for certain what was going on in the apparent “dogfighting” photo.  It could POSSIBLY be several different things – one of which, in my opinion, is testing gameness on a dogfighting prospect.  But I don’t know that for a fact and I’m not qualified to draw a conclusion because I haven’t watched extensive footage of dogfighters testing their prospects for gameness.  I would be interested in the opinion of someone who is an expert in this area, assuming they could view the internal security camera footage of the encounter (which I have not seen).  To my knowledge, no one who is a dogfighting expert and as such, qualified to render an opinion on what the security camera footage may or may not show, has been shown the footage.

If the photo does not show any activity relating to criminal dogfighting, and if the worker was simply trying to take two dogs out at the same time when oops – they got into a fight – doesn’t it at least reveal a disturbing level of negligence?  This is the isolation ward where pets are (supposed to be) kept isolated in order to prevent the spread of disease.  There should never be two dogs taken out simultaneously.  Further, given that both appear to be powerful dogs whose temperament is presumably unknown to the workers, wouldn’t common sense dictate that one dog be handled at a time?  I mean, I could see if the place was on fire and it was pandemonium trying to save as many lives as possible but this was just a routine work day, right?

Perhaps extremely bad animal handling skills are not a crime, but shouldn’t they be considered a form of wrongdoing when the city has repeatedly reminded us about the extensive training Matt Pepper has provided his staff?  If this photo reflects negligence which resulted in dogs fighting and the potential for workers to be injured, I would think the city would take it seriously.  Should this be the kind of thing that Memphis dismisses with a wave of the hand to the public and an attempt to justify the need for denying transparency at their pound?

I don’t claim to be an expert on anything but I just say what seems right to me.  And this just doesn’t add up.  The photo looks like some form of serious wrongdoing to me.  What do you think?

Added:  Here is a link to the security camera footage.  There is no sound.

48 thoughts on “Updated: Thoughts on the “Dogfighting” Webcam Shot from MAS

  1. While I do not consider myself an expert, I did watch extensive amounts of video on the subject while doing research a few years back. In my personal opinion, they were either testing for gameness or allowing a fight to occur.
    Yes, either way, even if they do claim ignorance(which if they truly had extensive training, would not have occurred), this is no doubt an example of negligence. Isolation rooms are meant for just that, keeping the animals apart from one another.

    1. testing is typically not done with a collar nor leash attached. i doubt either employee knows the scope of “game testing”. stupidity~yes. ignorant? Unquestionably. Emily S echos my sediments.
      i too, doubt there was intent.

  2. It’s simple, release the full *unedited* video of the whole incident to prove to everyone that no wrongdoing occurred. If they don’t release the video to the public…then there’s no question it was felony activity and all heads…Hooks, Pepper and the employees …must roll.

  3. What do I think? I think wayne pacelle could align himself with the two a-holes in the photo along with vick – maybe Nike would sponsor them. Do a roadshow and call it the “anything for a buck” tour.

  4. I don’t think it was an accident. Look at the guy facing the camera. He seems to be smiling/enjoying what he’s seeing. He certainly doesn’t appear to be frightened, surprised, or feel out of control. With the recent Pit Bull that went “missing”…oh wait, he was never there right…

    I’m sure that it would not be hard to find an expert in the field who could render an opinion. My question would be would it do any good?

    Is there ANYTHING that can be done? ANY steps that can be taken that would even begin the process of cleaning this up?

  5. Where is Kapone? This is not an accident.. if it were the leash would be tight.. the man would not be laughing and the dog would not be a fight stance.. I have seen enough fights to know that white dog is taking down the brown dogs by the leg..while the man holding the leash by the very edge of his fingers is doing NOTHING to stop this.if this is not a dog fight.. and one set up i will eat my hat

  6. And in the news story, the explanation was that one worker was removing two dogs at once from the cage (singular) and the second worker came to “help” when the dogs started fighting. Big question – why would they be housed in a single cage?
    Too many parts of this story just don’t add up.
    Any way you slice this, it stinks!

    1. Why would they be housed in the same cage? Because they were brought in together (like Ranger and his brother, also the reason Kapone supposedly had a separate kennel card was because he couldn’t go in the same cage as Jersey -since he was intact). If you want to ask questions, why were they brought out on leashes- everyone here “knows” how those MAS thugs love the chokepole – could it be because they weren’t behaving like “fight dogs”? We know absolutely nothing about these dogs or their temperament. And answer me this- the first worker was leading them towards the exit of isolation when they started fighting. Surely he would have been wily enough to wait on his co-conspirator in the back of the room. Those straws being grasped at get thinner and

  7. These two fellows ‘got busted’ testing out dogs for fighting and the city does not care at all. That is the bottom line.
    I truly think deep in my heart that if these fellows were not ‘busted’ then the two dogs they were tending to would have disappeared.
    This latest unmercifulness of the MAS leads me to believe that things are to get worse once they move to their new facility.
    There is obviously no quality control nor managerial oversight going on at the MAS at all.
    For example, I work at a children’s hospital which is wired for sound basically. If anyone on my unit messed with a child in any way they would be escorted out by security quick! But, these people who work for the MAS can have proper cameras for now with no one except for those of us who care looking at them? And at the new shleter they are to only have closed circuit type of cameras with no one (willing to bet you) looking at them? For shame!
    Who is left to write, call, beg for help, ex cetera on this? These two fellows got ‘busted’ by a fellow animal lover, not their own boss or anyone like that. It is just not right anymore and I am almost at my wits end.

  8. A non denial denial: The dogs were fighting and yes one bit the other but the footage the police watched clearly showed no evidence of dogfighting.

  9. is there anyone interested in a Old English Bulldog.. a beautiful white with brown was just dumped there. He was so well behaved. How can I post the a photo. of him/her. just dumped 6:15 est.

    1. I think the beating with the choke pole was a little over the top but what the heck, those dogs are going to die anyway, right?

  10. I think this warrants at least a full investigation and a public release of the entire video. If they release it, and we all get to see what happened, we’ll all know for sure. And isn’t that what the transparency is all about? And given the track record of this particular shelter — including a police raid, an ex-felon that likely stole a dog and killed another, and various other allegations, many of which are caught on camera – -it seems transparency is their only solution here….

      1. Wow, just like that I got my wish granted. I’m >pleased< to see that this appears to be mostly a case of simple negligence and not foul play.

    1. The video footage appears to confirm that this was intentional negligence resulting in injuries to the dogs and placing the humans at risk. There is no escaped dog that runs in and surprises the worker or anything like that. The worker appears to have intentionally taken two powerful dogs of unknown temperament out from isolation simultaneously. This is not Joe Average off the street – this is a paid shelter employee with specific training in safe animal handling techniques.

      Are both the dogs dead now – does anyone know?

      1. WTF?? I am no dog fighting expert but I do live with a large pack of dogs who occasionally redirect aggression and lock up much like the two dogs shown on the raw video. My take is A-hole #1 is obviously walking Dog #1 past several cages to see who reacts, this was no accident. He removes Dog #2 and walks them together into a corner… So, unless A-hole #1 was day one on this job with no training and even less common sense he knew exactly what he was doing! One person can break apart two fighting dogs (if they want to) but instead he seeks assistance from A-hole #2 who arrives laughing and quickly locates a choke pole / head basher and starts playing whack a dog over the head… Um, It appears as if the dogs are still somewhat connected but not actively fighting and A-hole #2 bashes them multiple times as if to incite more fighting. I would have to give these two idiots a huge F in Shelter Dog Handler 101.

      2. Nathan Winograd says stupidity, not criminality. At least he has the cojones to say he was wrong. No this doesn’t make the problems at MAS any less serious, but I’d say this blog is starting to sound less and less like the voice of reason and more like most of the commenters on the CA! . At least AC managed to keep his mouth shut on this one! That probably won’t last though.

      3. How about criminal stupidity, patience? Stupidity that risked the safety and well-being of both dogs and men? If one of those workers had been bitten, how fast would he had filed for workman’s comp, do you think?

        I also wonder if the dogs received medical attention after the incident. I will bet not.

        Oh, and I’m not 100% sold on the idea that it wasn’t a testing for gameness. What was the reason that he felt he needed to move two dogs at the same time? Where were they going? What was the intention?

  11. This will happen over and over again because management is either impotent or incompetent and there are absolutely no repercussions for the workers.

    Has anyone ever seen Matthew Pepper in any of the webcam shots? Does he ever actually go into the shelter? How about Hooks, anyone ever seen her in any of the shots?

    If they’re not on the floor, how the hell do they know what’s happening? Do they care about anything other than cashing their paycheques?

    Doesn’t look, sound or smell like they do to me.

  12. It was very hard to watch, but pure neglect and stupidity on the part of both workers. And now the dogs will likely die, if they aren’t already dead.
    I’m glad that it wasn’t baiting or testing a potential fighting dog, though (let’s hope that neither will be deemed good fighters and leave through the . . . back door alive).

  13. That video is so distressing on multiple levels. Two big ones spring to mind:

    1. When alone in a high-stress environment, you NEVER take out two unknown dogs (of any breed) and try to walk them side by side.

    2. When two stressed out dogs get into a fight, beating them with a catch pole is only going to exacerbate fight drive and inflict unnecessary injury. That white dog had a tight hold on the leg of the brown dog, he was not going anywhere and beating him just encouraged him to hold on tighter and longer.

    Unfortunately the footage is not hi-def and has a low update rate, so it is still grainy and disjointed. And no sound, either, which would help.

    While I do not expect employees of an animal control agency to be fluent in dog behavior (the white dog was perfectly safe to physically handle and at no point should they have tried to rip the dogs apart, that’s just dangerous), I do expect them to be fluent in common sense behavior…which means handling one dog at a time.

    I am not unsympathetic to these two workers, and it seems that the one who was beating the white dog was petrified, which might explain the inappropriate smile in the photo. I’m not excusing it, of course.

    This shelter is so sad and screwed up.

  14. It’s a sad state of affairs when an organization has to release video footage to prove gross negligence.

  15. It could easily have been “testing for gameness”. Or raging incompetence. That fight should never have happened – it was caused by a worker’s actions.

    And does NO ONE there know how to safely break up a dog fight? Hitting and poking a dog in a fight is a good way to get bitten yourself, dumbass.

    These are professional shelter workers with experience and training? No. These are guys who should be replaced immediately.

    Sadly, they’re highly representative of the standard MAS worker. Well done, Mr. Pepper. Awesome staff training there.

  16. ok, this is inexcusably moronic incompetence. Despicable idiocy and cruelty 1) taking 2 dogs out at the same time. 2) allowing one to get too close to the other 3) ZERO knowledge/experience/training in how to break up a dogfight. Those morons need to be taken behind the woodshed and trained to do their job…. or fired.

    But I do not believe there was an intent to have the dogs fight with each other.

  17. Now I know I said before that it was probably negligence (which was bad enough, you dont take 2 random dogs that dont know each other well out together, especially if they are pitbulls and most likely fighting dogs) but now Im leaning more towards screening for dog-fighting “potential”. The reasons being:
    1. The ACO looks like he is looking hard for a 2nd dog at first, like he is screening all of them properly. If he just needed to take 2 dogs out, then just take 2 dogs out, but he looked for a long time first.
    2. We have seen them take 2 dogs out time and time again and what do they use when they do? Catch-poles. What did this guy do? He used a leash. I think its because he wants to have some sort of control over the dog but still be able to see how the dog interacts normally, so a leash would make more sense than a catch-pole, which would make them freeze up to some extent.
    So, I would guess, that he took out 2 dogs to see how they do in a back corner somewhere but the 2 dogs started going at it before he got around to being there and then just kind of stood back and didnt try to do much to get them to stop. You can see him walk down the aisles like he was going somewhere with them but then the dogs started going at it before he left the aisle.
    I may be completely wrong, but from the video Ive seen, thats what it looks like to me. Either way, these guys should be fired immediately; the first guy for not knowing what the hell he is doing as far as taking dogs out and the second guy for abusing an animal and not knowing what to do.

    As bad as I feel for these 2 dogs, I feel almost as bad for the “look oners” in the cages. They are most likely scared to be there as it is, then they have 2 scary dogs going at each other in front of them and then the ACO, who is supposed to be their “caring, compassionate owner” is hitting them in the head with a stick. Just a sad situation all around in that place.

  18. I am just blown away that you jump to accuse these people. Its just wrong … its exactly why people do not get fair trails because before the facts come people are guilty. This whole thing has really really bothered me. U cant even say ur wrong. Probably because you are scared someone might sue you. Which is exactly what i hope happens to you !!! I truly hope justice comes from this and you find that it might be better for you to know the facts before you cause someone to get hurt. These employees could be threaten/hurt directly because of your actions. And then you could be held accountable!!

    1. I never accused. I posted the photo, as usual, and let people form their own opinions. I asked MAS for an explanation and got none. The ones who have been hurt here are the dogs who were beaten with chokepoles before being killed and the taxpayers of Memphis who paid these trained professionals to do it.

    2. Sorry, MAD (are you a “friend”?), but you are wrong. Shirley never accused. I am still not convinced that there wasn’t more going on than we know. The still shot I saw did not indicate (in that moment in time) that the workers were attempting to pull the dogs apart. One worker only had one hand on the leash – hardly enough effort to stop strong fighting dogs.

      These workers have brought this on themselves. Have they ever been accountable for the acts of cruelty and neglect (not to mention other possible illegal activities) they perpetrate on the innocent animals unfortunate enough to find themselves at MAS? NO! They don’t even want anyone to see what they’re doing. Innocent people doing the right thing do not fear being seen.

    3. These people?

      MAD, what about those two dogs? You know, the actual victims who don’t have any legal ability to sue? You know, the dog who was beaten down with a choke pole. The two dogs who should NEVER have been taken out at that time on their way to their deaths? What about them?

    4. MAD, go back to your mother’s basement and study the dictionary. It’s “trial”, not “trail”.

  19. I also feel bad about the other dogs watching and listening … and seeing a dog being beat with a choke pole repeatedly didn’t help. I wonder why they were moving the dogs out of the rabies section. Were they headed to the kill room?

      1. that doesn’t make any sense.. if the dogs are in the rabies section to start with, why were both dogs on a leash and out together? DUH.. I cry everyday other the dogs at this shelter… Hopefully things will change now.

  20. Upon watching the video footage a couple times, it is really hard to tell as the worker’s body blocks alot of the view, but it looks to me like the two dogs did not connect until the worker pulled them BACK from the end of the hall…and then was trying to stay away from the teeth. I honestly thought the one beating the white dog had beaten him senseless before getting the catchpole over his/her head. With a big pack, I have seen my share of fights between all kinds of breeds and gotten bitten enough to show off my scars while breaking up a fight. Also the white dog only comes forward when the guy reaches to open his cage – SO, it looks duplicitous to me, I can’t say either way which it was – intentional baiting or insufferable stupidity. But Goddess knows the two dogs went to their untimely ends hurting, and that is unforgiveable.

  21. The brown dog is up front and not pulling while the white one is more to the ACO’s side and seems to be pulling hard. Then all of a sudden the white dog makes it to the brown one and they are rolling backwards. It’s odd, looks like the white one was let loose and knocked the brown one off balance or something. Not sure if it was intentional or not but it seemed he was trying to keep the white dog back, up until they got smushed into the corner. It looks like that is where the door is, why “let” them fight in a door way. Think they just plain don’t know what they are doing. He tried keeping the white one back but the door in the corner forced them together.

    If I was trying to part them once there was another person to hold the other leash I would turn around and just start walking. You have more power walking forwards than backwards and your legs are more powerfull than your arms. Works in tug-o-war at least, and in firefit the dummy drag is harder than the hose pull. Might as well make it a hose pull and not a dummy drag.

  22. Reply from PETA

    Dear Ms. Patterson,

    Thank you for contacting PETA regarding the Memphis Animal Services (MAS) shelter. We share your worries about reported conditions and recent incidents, including the photo circulating the Internet purportedly showing workers engaged in dog fighting. Unedited video footage released by the mayor’s office in response to the allegation seems to support the city’s position that this was neither intentional nor a criminal act of staging a dog fight. However, we’re deeply concerned by the workers’ apparent extreme negligence to take precautions which would’ve prevented the fight from occurring, as well as their handling of the animals while attempting to separate them. Basic safety protocol should always mandate that dogs who might fight (even if they haven’t shown aggression) never come in contact with other animals and that only one dog is handled per worker. Clearly, the workers in question used extremely poor judgment and we’re urging city officials to implement strict policies without delay to better protect animals (as well as staff, volunteers, and the public, who could’ve easily been injured).

    Please know that we understand your daughter’s heartbreak over Kapone’s tragic disappearance. You may be aware that PETA added up to $2,000 to your family’s reward offer for information leading to Kapone’s safe return. We hope with all our hearts that he comes home soon and we’ll continue to be vigilant in following up on any tips to make sure the information is given to authorities right away.

    Thank you again for taking time to write.

    Jennifer Brown, Animal Sheltering Advisor
    Cruelty Investigations Department
    People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
    Phone/Fax 630-966-8895

    1. PETA, that took in 1,553 cats and killed 1,507 of them, and 792 dogs and killed 693 of them. PETA with disappearing animals, gone elsewhere with no explanation of their fates.

      PETA which has been screaming to kill “pit bulls” for years.

      What’s their angle here? They figure to suck some donations?

  23. if you look at the pic the dude facing the camera looks to be smiling. jmo. it it wasnt on purpose he’d have a completely different look on his face.

    1. Eactly what I said and what I sent to PETA…..They deny it….see my post of the reply from PETA above….How stupid are we suppose to be….so obvious….they thought they would have a new way of testing these dogs on camera and you just can’t fix stupid.

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