Leadership Changes at MAS

Matt Pepper tells the Fox affiliate in Memphis that he will be leaving MAS the first week of September and talks about his replacement:

He said at least in the interim, Chelton Beamon, the shelter’s operations manager will take over.

These webcam grabs appear to show Mr. Beamon out of uniform in the stray area at MAS one late night in June, a few days before Kapone was picked up by an ACO and went “missing” from MAS shortly thereafter.  Regular readers might recognize Mr. Beamon’s name from the Kapone story as it was he who reportedly explained to Mrs. Shoup that her pet could not be found.

Stray area at MAS - 11:30pm, June 19, 2011
Roughly 40 minutes after the previous shot.
A minute later.
Another minute later.

As for Mr. Pepper’s future, WREG reports he “will start a new job as Animal Control Director in Albuquerque in Mid-September”. Do we have any NM readers familiar with the facility in Albuquerque?

58 thoughts on “Leadership Changes at MAS

  1. Am I the only one that recalls when 30+ Pits were stolen from the shelter and was an inside job a few years back?

    1. I think you’re referring to this case, which happened prior to the installation of the webcams:

      Police are investigating how nearly four dozen pit bulls were stolen from the Memphis Animal Shelter over the weekend. Shelter officials said many of the missing dogs were seized nearly a month ago in a dog-fighting raid.
      There were no obvious signs of a break in from the outside. No broken glass or windows, but police said the break in happened over the weekend and was discovered Monday morning.

  2. Wow. Ok, I’ll say it.

    It looks like they’re “shopping” for a dog.

    Who is the other man? Why are they there so late at night? What percentage of the “missing” animals are pitbulls?

    1. I agree, it looks like that’s a possibility however we know that MAS is closed that late at night plus we know the stray area is off limits to adopters.

      1. I have a question. Do they kill dogs on Saturdays just before the shelter closes? I watched the two Black guys dragging a dog that looked like a pitt threw the entire shelter on a choke pole. The last shot of one of the guys was at the open blue door. I did download the entire event, It’s now 2:30 in the morning and I am just sick about what I saw and recorded. How can I share these photos?

  3. Is very interesting as to why they would be there so late. Wonder what kind of spin could be put on this?

    1. The photos should be shown to the press, Hooks & Wharton and demand an explanation. If I can’t get in to that area or in at that time of night, neither should anyone else with legitimate reasons. Obviously this is not legitimate.

  4. Can we get these pictures sent to the media so we can get the full story on this? I would love to hear the reason they are there so late and obviously just “looking” at the dogs, especially in the stray area that no one is allowed in!

  5. I’m not familiar with the pound in Albuquerque, but according to this news report from April 2011, they’re expecting an increase in the kill rate there because of budget cuts.


    Sounds like Pepper will fit right in. Which makes me feel queasy. On the plus side, citizens were already expressing concern about more animals being killed so I don’t think Pepper is going to get a free pass. And Albuquerque seems to have a pretty solid sunshine law.

    Beamon–maybe his buddy there wants to adopt–but the circumstances look pretty suspicious to me.

  6. I, too, would like an explanation about what those men were doing there at that time of night and in a restricted area. I looks like shopping to me, too, but that’s MY OPINION.

    I was really hoping that Pepper was getting out of the animal control business. I hope that someone in the Albuquerque area is watching carefully.

  7. More on Albuquerque–I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this info and don’t know the date of the post –warning–it came from the very graphic and disturbing ALF website at


    Albuquerque, NM. An audit by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) found many serious problems with the care of animals at the two city shelters. The audit team was so alarmed at the conditions that they issued a preliminary report blasting the treatment of animals. HSUS representatives found that dogs were killed by painful direct injections to the heart while conscious, a practice that even the lenient AVMA guidelines condemns as inhumane. Animals were restrained (and sometimes lifted) with a “catch” or “control” pole (a long-handled pole with a coated wire noose at one end that is placed around the animal’s neck and tightened), allegedly to prevent injury to staff members. However, the audit team concluded that it was more likely due to lack of training, as well as an apparent lack of concern for the comfort, anxiety, and needs of the animals being euthanized. The report states, “The HSUS did not witness any instance where an animal was held or comforted for a gentle death.” Worst of all, the HSUS team found that seven animals were still alive (their hearts were beating) after they were placed in the freezer.

    The Albuquerque shelters euthanize about 18,000 animals annually — 75% of the animals that come through their doors. (For comparison, San Francisco’s euthanasia rate is about 17%.)

  8. Our No Kill advocacy org, New Mexico Pets ALIVE! started just this past May and we’re only beginning to scratch the data surface. From initial insight, you might as well say ‘Memphis’ is all over our state. As sad as it sounds, Albuquerque is one of the ‘better’ shelter systems. Most of our state is decades behind Memphis – DOG help us! We welcome your support!

  9. 2 employees checking on the dogs at mas. Pepper is taking Ernie Alexander’s old position in New Mexico….how ironic

    1. Aw. They’re so DEDICATED to the well-being of the dogs, it’s touching.

      I wonder if they’re often there after midnight “checking” on their charges?

      My grandmother used to say, “Get home. Ain’t nothing good happening after midnight.”

  10. Pepper seems to like the 75% kill rate, choosing to go to yet another shelter with that horrific statistic. Pretty sure he’s not doing it to ‘reform’ Albuquerque given his record in Memphis.

      1. Actually I think it was Director Hooks who made in-house promotions after the raid. I might be wrong but think that is what I remember.

  11. Director Hooks only got HER job because who she was married to. She wasn’t qualified the & still isn’t. Putting Hogan in charge is an example of her incompetance.

  12. I could not find any information on the current Director of Animal Services in Albuquerque, nor any information on a new director being hired. I did, however, send an e-mail to Mr. Berry, the current mayor of Albuquerque, asking him about this troubling information. In that e-mail I provided a link to this blog. I will share any response I receive from him.
    Jan Gribble (Socorro, NM)

  13. Why is compassion not a pre-requisite for a job dealing with animals? I met with Matt Pepper over a couple of dogs that were killed, needlessly, as they both had homes waiting and were on hold. At that meeting he informed me that nobody worked at the shelter because they DID NOT LOVE ANIMALS! Of course, he, the politicians involved, and the employees and some volunteers have proven, over and over, that is not the case. Pepper is going to another high kill shelter….from a disgraceful, cruel high kill shelter. Evidently could not get a job with a shelter whose employees do love animals. Only one that does not find it necessary to attempt to save lives. Pepper’s credentials from Cado Parish should have been enough to keep him from being hired in Memphis. Just one more bit of proof that “the powers that be” do not care about MAS!

  14. The Powers That Be do not care about ANY community but we CAN and MUST replace EVERY LAST ONE these Powers That Be in EVERY community around the United States. New Mexico will NOT be the dumping ground for these people. 3 years ago, LAs Cruces, NM hired the shelter director reject from GA – now we have to fight to prevent Pepper from bringing his toxicity to NM too. Via our efforts at NMPA, our No Kill New Mexico Coalition is growing and we’ve just begun a new facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/No-Kill-New-Mexico/235390156505297 Please join us there and spread the word – we can use ALL HANDS ON DECK! Thank you!!

  15. We sent our communications about Pepper’s movement to Albuquerque to:

    Barbara Bruin, Director – Animal Welfare Department
    8920 Lomas NE
    Albuquerque, NM 87112
    Telephone: (505) 768-1975

    Mayor Richard J. Berry (mayorberry@cabq.gov)
    Robert J. Perry (rjperry@cabq.gov), Chief Administrative Officer
    Sara Lister (slister@cabq.gov), Senior Advisor to Mayor Berry
    Telephone: (505) 768-3307
    Chris Ramirez (ctramirez@cabq.gov), Director of Communications
    Telephone: (505) 768-3000
    City-County Building – 11th Floor
    Telephone: (505) 768-3000
    Fax: (505) 768-3019

    Please send your (respectful) comments as well – THANK YOU!

  16. If you are a night owl you will see thse type of web cam shots, of more than one person ( staff) at the shelter together. I myself have witnessed this on several occasions. Something is still smelling at Memphis and it isn’t the animals!

  17. NM may not yet have a large No Kill coalition but it is growing. The support we’ve received from Valerie Hayes and others in helping us to expose the truth about what’s happening in NM has been invaluable. We have no plans of allowing Pepper to feel ‘at home’. With continued efforts Beth Vesko Mock in Las Cruces won’t be around much longer and neither will the ASCMV ‘governing’ board. It only takes a few to make all the difference. Thanks in advance for the support.

  18. Has anyone noticed that despite the union’s squeaking and other allusions, no charges of threatening any animal control personnel have been reported in the Memphis media?

    1. I’m still waiting on those myself. Especially the ones where people allegedly came and knocked on their doors at home to threaten them. If anyone did that to me, I would be on the phone to 911 immediately if not sooner.

    2. If you worked for or ran the MAS and someone threatened you in some way you would totally contact the authorities. The reason why you would contact the authorities is because Memphis, TN has one of the highest rates of crime and murder in the nation. Therefore, if Mr. Pepper on down were ever truly threatened in any way at all, they would have contacted the Memphis Police Department.

      I have yet to find any evidence at all that anyone was threatened in any way. The reason why I have yet to find any evidence at all that anyone was threatened in any way more than likely has to do with the plain and simple fact that these supposed threats were never formally reported to the Memphis Police Department at all.

  19. It was all a smoke screen, as everyone knows, and an excuse to keep everyone from seeing their abuse & illeagle activities. We should push for the implimentation of cameras at the new facility. It is all that stands between the animals & future abuse.

    Where’s KAPONE! ??

  20. Oh fuck, Albuquerque.

    Let me put it this way.

    There’s a clause in my puppy contract that basically says, in somewhat more legalese, that if you get convicted of animal cruelty, the dog automatically reverts to my ownership.

    Except for Albuquerque. There’s a specific sentence that exempts anything you might be charged with and convicted of in Albuquerque. Seriously, I put it in there.

    Because they took that left turn they oughtn’t have, and decided to institute the “anti-no-kill equation” about five years ago. Goes by the acronym of H.A.R.T.

    A phone book load of intrusive and punitive laws designed to make animal ownership impossibly onerous if enforced as written, selective prosecution a cake walk for any power-mad functionary, and every violation defined as “cruelty.”

    I am quite serious. If you violate the leash law — including by using a leash that is too long — you are guilty of a CRUELTY violation.

    Eight years ago we were visiting friends there. A little heeler pup appeared in their neighborhood. Skinny and wormy, but otherwise healthy, and great temperament, friendly with adults and kids and dogs. Beaucoups adoptable.

    PC and I brought him down to the animal shelter. THEY WOULD NOT TAKE HIM. It was basically, fuck off, not our problem. (Also, they admitted that several of our friends’ neighbors had called about him, so they knew he wasn’t our dog.) Their solution was to turn the pup loose back where we found him.

    We found a neighbor who would at least say she would look after the tyke.

    If Pip had not been pregnant at the time, that pup would have come back to Pennsylvania with us.

    1. One small correction: The HEART Ordinance, or the Humane and Ethical Animal Rules and Treatment

      Because, as we all know, words matter, and calling your animal ordinance HEART has to mean something wonderful doesn’t it?

  21. So far bullets are being dodged – no one yet here in New Mexico seems to want to take responsibility for hiring Pepper so we are attempting to find out who actually hired Pepper here. We’re also trying to find out what background check was completed and what was known about him prior to the hiring. Will post more as soon as we know more. There is no municipal shelter anywhere in NM that is no kill or even low kill. The addition of Pepper would just make a horrible statewide situation even worse and we will fight his addition. We already have enough to deal with here than to have him added to the mix.

    1. If they are in uniform, I assume (but don’t know for a fact) they’re on the clock. If not, I don’t know why they would be there at that hour.

      1. They were in uniforms. Yes… I got the photos, but haven’t had a chance to put them in a file to send to you. I’ll do that when I get my critters settled down.. Sorry, been gone all day.

  22. From the Albuquerque Mayor’s Office

    Mayor Berry thanks you for bringing this to his attention in your email. The mayor has asked me to reply to you on his behalf.

    I can assure you that Matthew Pepper is not going to be the Director of the Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department. Barbara Bruin is the director of the Albuquerque
    Animal Welfare Department, there are no plans for any changes.

    Thank you again,

    Joyce M. Pullen
    Constituent Services
    Office of Mayor Richard J. Berry
    One Civic Plaza – 11th Floor

  23. They are correct. Matt Pepper didn’t state he was going to become employed as Director of the Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department. Matt Pepper stated he was going to be employed with Albuquerque Animal Control Services. As soon as we can get some straight answers on who interviewed him, who conducted the background check (and what they learned), who signed off on the hiring and what they know about his past, etc., we’ll post.

    1. Please note that this is an agenda – not minutes. If you are anywhere near Albuquerque, please plan to be PRESENT at this meeting – August 17th at 5pm – Public Works Division, 2400 Broadway SE, Bldg N, Conference Room. Pepper’s hiring is not on this agenda but we need to make our voices heard for the voiceless.

  24. I just re-read that document and it clearly states he was hired as the new director and will be starting in October. Did I miss something?

  25. http://www.bernco.gov/upload/images/animal_care/ACORC-Agenda.pdf Page 4: “Mr. Swisstack said that the new director of Bernalillo County Animal Care will be Matthew C. Pepper and will start in August. Mr. Pepper has been with animal care director in Memphis, Shreveport, Grand Rapids and Wisconsin. He sits on three national boards as an active member. He has experience from training to writing policies, procedures and developing policies for emergency extraction of animals in the event of disasters. Mr. Pepper is certified by the National Animal Control Association. he has 15 years of experience. As a director, Mr. Pepper is a hand’s on director. His references have been glowing. He is also heavily into training. Mr. Pepper teaches at the University of Missouri.”

    Where do we start?! Ignorance is bliss…let’s assume they are honestly clueless to what has transpired in Memphis. We start by contacting all members on pages 8 and 19 of this document and also Animal Care, Bernalillo County – Phone: 505-314-0280, Fax: 505-873-6709, Email: animal@bernco.gov Those anywhere near Albuquerque should plan to be PRESENT at this meeting – August 17th at 5:30pm – Public Works Division, 2400 Broadway SE, Bldg N, Conference Room.

    Question: “How does a man with the record of incompetence, cruelty and the repeated commissions of felonies by employees under his supervision get hired yet again for the same type of job? Are these people that stupid?”
    Answer” “Stupid? Maybe. Nationwide network of revolving doors protecting their own? Definitely.”

    There’s a nationwide action alert now posted and can be shared from either facebook page of No Kill New Mexico and also New Mexico Pets Alive. (Note: NMPA Executive Director Melissa Roberts’ personal facebook account has just been mysteriously taken offline…Onward.)

  26. P.S. He’s been hired as “Director of Bernalillo County Animal Care” not Director of the Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department so it’s worse – county wide rather than just city wide.

  27. Sent my email – but they take care of their own. Maybe the guy should stay away from animals and stick to teaching! (no insult intended to teachers – I am one)

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