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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.

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