Memphis Animal Services Adopts Out 11% of its Pets in First Half of 2011

This dog tried to resist walking the final steps to the kill room at MAS.

Below is a review of the stats for MAS for the first six months of 2011. I have rounded the percentages.

MAS Stats for January – April 2011:

Jan 2011/Feb 2011/Mar 2011/Apr 2011

Intake 1270/1033/1357/1233=4893

Adopt 130/183/168/107=588
Died 23/10/12/16=61
Euth 999/754/1150/612=3515
Foster/relocate/permit 2/2/2/5=11
Missing 40/?/?/? (not reported for Feb/Mar/Apr)
RTO 82/57/78/63=280
Transfer 28/24/47/154=253

MAS Stats for May – June 2011:

May 2011/Jun 2011

Intake  1365/1650=3015

Adopt  145/149=294
Died  20/20=40
Euth  932/1361=2293
Foster/relocate/permit  25/12=37
Missing  ?/1  (not reported for May)
RTO  51/64=115
Transfer  92/26=118

An ACO drags an incoming dog to a cage in the stray area at MAS.

MAS Stats for January – June 2011 Totals and Rates

Intake  7908

Adopt  882 – 11% adoption rate
Died  101 – 1% died in cage rate
Euth  5808 – 73% kill rate
Foster/relocate/permit  48 – less than 1%
Missing  (unable to tally as category unreported for Feb, Mar, Apr, May)
RTO  395 – 5% RTO rate
Transfer  371 – 5% transfer rate

The above rates tell us how MAS did for the first half of 2011.  I don’t have the stats for July 2011 and of course August stats are incomplete at this time.  In this recent article, The Commercial Appeal makes some claims regarding Matt Pepper’s reign at MAS.  I wanted to fact check these claims.  Bear in mind that I don’t have the stats for July but possibly the newspaper did when they made their calculations.

In 2009, before his arrival, the city transferred 31 animals to nonprofit rescue groups. So far this year, the city has transferred 508 animals to rescue groups.

Fact Check:  The 2009 stats from MAS indicate a total of 94 animals (not 31) transferred which is a transfer rate of less than 1%.  For January through June of this year, I tally 371 pets transferred which is a transfer rate of approximately 5%.  This is an improvement but a rather small one and certainly not one I’d highlight on my resume if I was the director.

Adoptions are up 13.8 percent over 2009.

Fact Check:  The number of adoptions from 2009 and 2011 can not be compared as they are relative to the number of intakes for their respective years.  To be fair and accurate, only the adoption rates can be compared.  The 2009 stats from MAS indicate an adoption rate of 9%.  For January through June of this year, the adoption rate is 11%.  Again, this is an improvement, albeit a tiny one (and definitely not a 13.8% improvement in adoption rates).

Mayor Wharton is quoted, in part:

“Despite being under constant scrutiny, Matthew and his staff were able to increase adoptions, decrease the euthanasia rate to its lowest level in five years[…].”

Fact Check:  I don’t have the MAS stats for the past 5 years so can’t fact check this claim.  But the 2009 kill rate (before Matt Pepper took over) was 81.5%.  The 2010 kill rate (Mr. Pepper’s first year on the job) was 77% and the kill rate for the first half of 2011 was 73%.  Here again we see improvements but they are too small to throw a party over.

Assuming these improvements continued at this glacial pace, it would mean the needless killing of tens of thousands more pets in Memphis before MAS would near the live outcome rates of places like Reno and Austin.  But Reno and Austin achieved their success by putting in place the programs of the No Kill Equation.  Memphis has not implemented these programs and thus, there is no reasonable basis for the belief that Memphis would continue its tiny improvements and eventually achieve the level of success seen in Reno and Austin.

Matt Pepper failed to lower the pound’s horrific 2009 kill rate by even 10% over the course of his employment.  He increased adoptions by a paltry 2% in a year and half.  MAS is still killing 3 out of every 4 pets that come through its doors.  Asking Memphis taxpayers and their community pets to accept this failure is shameful.  But to praise these “accomplishments”?  Embarrassing.  We know how Memphis could make major, meaningful improvements now.  Why is the city aggrandizing statistically insignificant “improvements” over a period of years when actual success is available today?

Memphis' shame.

Memphis, please – stop the abuse.  Stop the killing.

27 thoughts on “Memphis Animal Services Adopts Out 11% of its Pets in First Half of 2011

  1. But, but we suck *a little less* than we did before the raid! Shouldn’t we be PROUD of that?? I mean, what do you want for $92,000 a year? Results?

    Dear Mayor Wharton, it’s not a game of Limbo to see how low you can set the bar and still get under it. Expect more. Demand more. Memphis deserves better, but you won’t get it until you demand it.

    1. I could respect it if Matt Pepper said he’s quitting because, whatever the reasons, he’s failed to get this thing out the ditch.

      I could respect it if Mayor Wharton had fired Matt Pepper because jumpin’ Jehosaphat – I can’t justify spending 92 grand a year of taxpayer money on someone who is not producing meaningful results!

      But the Commercial Appeal’s 3 way love fest with Pepper and Wharton is just too nauseating in light of the carcasses being tossed at the landfill by the dumpsterfull.

  2. A real shame when the media can’t either get their facts straight or can’t use a calculator properly. A whole other pile of shame that Wharton continues to be delusional about MAS.

  3. That poor, poor puppy – he’s more than just a number! I’m guessing he was on his way to the kill room? If not, anyone know how to get him outta there before he is on his way?

    1. I will donate $100 to any person or rescue that comes forward to save that poor dog. Those pictures absolutely break my heart.

    2. I believe that those two are Animal Control Officers, not the shelter staff. That little dog was being brought in by them as a stray. He should have been put into a kennel. Then again he could have been taken to the kill room. As for getting him out of there if he is still there would take a person taking a picture of these guys and the dog and going there in person. As for being just a number, sad and sorry truth is that they place a very low value on the life of any pit bull. Their track record has proven that.

      1. Is there a rescue or individual willing to do that? I will also send money to help with his release, hoping against hope that he’s still with us.

  4. Where do all the missing animals go to from MAS? What happened to Kapone is simply the same as what’s happened to other missing animals…
    MAS needs an entire change over from current staff, to current objectives. They have the software to connect the animals with the general public, why hasn’t that been addressed by the press? Why is the press only interested in what the useless mayor has to say? Why haven’t the press done actual investigative reporting here? I wish I lived closer, maybe a daily public demonstration, with photos on banners of the abuses and abusers, would finally gain some real reporting by mass media? Maybe, just maybe, it would get the changes made at MAS…
    I keep sharing your blog, in the hopes people can help put pressure on MAS and their cohorts in all their wrong doing.

  5. I called Lisa Trenthem of Real Good Dog Rescue to ask if she could pull, or suggest a rescue that could pull the dog in the above 5 pictures and she hung up on me. I live in Vermont so I can’t easily swing by to get him/her myself but will arrange transport and keep this dog forever if someone can get him out of there alive. Any suggestions? Thank you.

    1. Wow. Are they looking for donations??? Maybe they need help paying their phone bill and that’s why the call got disconnected, or then again maybe not.

  6. I keep telling people to “google” their shelter……Most are county supported, which means they get tax money, which means…YOUR MONEY is doing this! Until people stand up, speak up and DEMAND the local government DO something, this will continue. We the people have an option to MAKE laws….you have to get a certain number of registered voters to sign a petition, if enough are signed, then it gets put on a ballot for a vote..IF it passes…guess what, IT BECOMES LAW!!

  7. I thought the last 4 pictures were of a dead dog – if that’s the same dog as in the first picture….OMFG! how do those sh*ts get their jollies away from MAS, since there is NO reason to pull a dog like that on a catchpole. Was it really alive at the end place they took it, or was it going to the kill room, so it didn’t matter that it arrived there near dead from strangulation?!?! I make less than 10% of what Pepper made, so it’s hard to help much, but I will send some $ to help with getting that dog back on its feet, if someone can get that poor sweetie out of there!

    1. KateH and anyone who is interested –

      If you click on the webcam grabs to enlarge, you can clearly make out the time stamp that each photo was taken. I believe the last 5 photos are all the same dog and that the dog was alive at the time of the photos. I can’t say if he is still alive – although I certainly hope so. I am hoping we will be able to find out some info when the pound reopens on Tuesday. In the past, unless we are able to provide either an ID # or a webcam grab of which cage the dog was put into, the MAS staff has advised they are unable to tell us whether the pet is there. Since we have neither in this case, we would need someone to physically go to the pound and get permission to look around the stray area. Of course I will update you all if I receive any additional info.

      1. Is there any way we can actively try to get that poor dog outta there? He looks like he needs serious vet care – even to get him to a compassionate vet for euthanasia if that’s what needs to happen.
        Another victim that is breaking my heart.

      2. We’re trying to see if we can get info on this dog. MAS is closed today so the earliest I would anticipate hearing anything is tomorrow. If someone wants to e-mail Matt Pepper today, go for it. He doesn’t answer my e-mails.

      3. I just sent a very nice email to Pepper asking about him. We’ll see if I get any response. Is there someone local who will pull him if we can get him outta there?

  8. I live in Canada so I don’t have much personal experience with the American economic situation but the last year has been markably better than the past few years. Couldn’t the increase in adoptions reflect a slightly better economy?

  9. What is in the name of DOG if anyhting can be done about Memphis’ animal shelter other than complaining about it? I have sent Wharton and his minions email and faxes. Is any of the hierachy listening to the people of Memphis and now this is global-the WORLD? Does anyone care in the governors palace? What in the name of DOG is going to stop these maggots?

  10. He’s probably gone, though, knowing how fast they are to kill. I’m hoping against hope that he might still be there . . . but his chances aren’t good.
    Poor guy – wish I could let him know that he matters to someone.

    1. This sounds all kindsa hokey, I know but I do believe that putting good karma out there for the pets being abused and killed in pounds reaches them in some form. That is, I believe that, even if their final days/hours/minutes are filled with misery, terror, pain, and/or sadness – they know that someone out there loves them. So keep putting those good thoughts out there.

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