Oh my stars…

Another one

Also, it’s been off-putting to see a group of Caucasian activists investing this much energy on dogs in a majority African-American city with 40% of its children living in poverty.

Right.  Because if you are white, and you object to pets being abused and killed in your community, you obviously are dancing a jig over the news that there are black children living in poverty.  Everybody knows you can only care about one thing at a time and once you’ve made your choice, it means you deem all the other concerns of the world unworthy.  Also, you have to choose the one thing based upon skin color – because that’s the most important factor.  [Damn – I hate white people!]

While we appreciate concern about a caring environment for dogs at the Animal Shelter[…]

No ya don’t.

[…]we wish that there was as much interest, emotion, and media attention about an environment that gives every child in Memphis an equal start in their lives and equal opportunities for success.

See here now they’ve pointed it out twice so it must be true.  Pet advocates just do not care about children living in poverty.  Don’t try to deny it – You. Do. Not. Care!

This is another tired argument that’s been circling the drain for years.  How can you worry about pets in shelters when…

  • There are people starving in Africa?
  • There are wars in the Middle East?
  • There is some form of daily injustice happening in your own backyard?
  • gah!

Is this what  humanity has been reduced to in the eyes of some?  A hollow shell with a thimbleful of compassion upon which a claim must be staked for fear it will dribble on to a cause less worthy than our own?  I don’t think I want to live in that world.

In reality, people are individuals, not cookie cutter activists, and capable of caring about more than one issue.  Skin color has nothing to do with it.  You work toward bettering the world in the ways you feel most passionate about and I’ll do the same.  Our paths will likely cross at some point because we probably care about some of the same issues.  I hope we can shake hands and be friends.

But the controversies at the Animal Shelter also shined a light on one of today’s most tiresome national pastimes, developing a firm opinion about somebody or a situation with only partial information.

Physician, heal thyself.


71 thoughts on “Oh my stars…

  1. Homeless pets we CAN do something about. People who keep having children they cannot afford is a whole different story! Why do people continue to breed when they cannot pay their rent? We might ask the poverty stricken people of Memphis WHY they continue to have babies when they cannot pay for the ones they have?

    1. This comment is really pretty disgusting. It’s the “why do poor people have pets they can’t take care of” argument on steroids. People have pets and children because creating families and having pets is part of the human impulse. It’s a loving one. It’s a nurturing one. And it’s one we have even when we’re born into cultures with massive inequities and oppression built into them.

      1. Amen to that. The previous commenter is ignorant and probably a hyperConservativeTeaPartierNutter.

      2. I’ll give you Nutty. But I’m conservative and support what the tea party movement stands for and I guarantee that the views expressed in the referenced previous post have NOTHING to do with either.

  2. Nice to know that the black residents of Memphis “hate white people”. That there might be a big part of Memphis’ problem. If a white person were to post “I hate black people” on a dog fighting blog, what would happen? Get over the color thing Memphis residents.

    1. Julie and anyone who needs clarification – that was me being sarcastic and humorous, it’s not from the article. (It kinda takes the zing out when ya gotta asplain it.) The quotes from the article are indented. If in doubt, click the link to the article to read for yourself.

  3. Christians are colorblind or at least they should be. One should NEVER assume that just because “white people” are compassionate about animals does NOT mean that they are any less compassionate about people. Nor does it mean that they put animals higher on the list of importance than people. [Deleted by blog owner.] I lived in Mississippi and saw it for my own eyes. It nevertheless is a crimal act and the fact that some one chooses to be a racist in their comments judging white people as as the statement stated and then turns around and shows hatrid for people who are compassionate about animals should be spanked for such bad manners! Shame on you – you don’t know any of us who are doing things to make a difference in the world. Some of us try to make a better place. What kind of place are you making by saying how you hate white people… Certainly doesn’t sound like a loving and Christian one. You have no idea what things people have done for human kind here and I for one object in your negative and racist behavior…. It is totally unChristian and breeds contempt and hatrid…. Not a good thing and certainly not one I would want to have to go before God and explain. I suggest you go to God and ask for forgiveness, take your Bible out and read it….

    1. Dude – Standard blog format here – the quotes are indented, my words are not. Also, standard sarcasm at play. Lastly – for EVERYONE: Do not approach Hate Speech Road if you want to see your comments on this blog.

  4. An unbelievably lame excuse for not dealing with the issue. I don’t know what is like to be black, but I do know what it is like to be poor. This is not a race issue, this is an issue of how we treat our animals in this country. Politics is the problem, when they are supposed to part of the solution.

  5. I don’t understand why some people see animal care/human care as such separate events? They are not.

    Let’s play pretend. Memphis gets in a new shelter director who understands that an animal shelter is a part of the community as a whole. We’ll call him Bob. Bob works hard to get the existing shelter environment cleaned up – humane treatment for the animals, proper cleaning procedures, low cost s/n, TNR, the works.

    Bob is organized and has a volunteer roster full of people who come and handle the animals, bathe, walk, and comfort them, so they’re very adoptable. Bob also has reached out to the local dog trainers, who have “fun days” to help people learn the basics (in exchange, they get to advertise at the shelter). Bob also has the phone numbers of local knowledgeable people who are willing to help pet owners work through their problems with their animals so that they don’t end up at the shelter in the first place.

    But Bob doesn’t stop there because he knows that *the shelter is part of the community*. So he starts reaching out – not just to rescue groups and other adoption agencies, but to the local schools, the retirement homes, the developmentally disabled organizations. He has well-trained volunteers teach kids at the schools about animal care. Those kids also get field trips to the shelter where they learn about s/n and why animals end up in shelters. He gets kittens to visit with the old folks (who laugh watching the little fuzzballs chase bits of paper around the room in the sunshine) for a little bit. He works with the developmentally disabled so they can have jobs in and around the shelter (washing windows, maintaining flower beds, walking dogs, etc.), earning a paycheck and the pride that goes with it.

    Bob uses local businesses to help him sponsor adoption events and fundraisers – and in exchange, those businesses get good PR (local radio and TV is there because it’s FUN for all) and advertising at the shelter, which in turn helps the businesses get new customers who might not have seen them, otherwise.

    In short, Bob has made the shelter a GOOD place. A place that *shelters* animals in need, but so much more. It’s a part of the community, it educates, enlightens, cheers, and helps the PEOPLE of the community.

    1. Let’s also assume that “Bob” is given the time to do this, the authority to make the changes, and the support of both the local community and animal world. Perhaps he could even become a Mitch Schneider, if he was never referred to as “someone who loves killing” every so often.

      I don’t think anyone is calling you racists (although the first comments are not going to go over too well), but there are concerns that you ladies and gentlemen are attempting to take scarce and needed resources away from where MEMPHIANS believe they belong.

      You have finally hit the race issue (I’m surprised it took this long) and if you want to be heard, IMHO, you need to tread very carefully. It’s not just AA’s you’re going to offend when you throw around the word thug.

      BTW, I’m Caucasian and I find that first comment offensive. Perhaps the commenter is an advocate for MSN for humans?

      1. “but there are concerns that you ladies and gentlemen are attempting to take scarce and needed resources away from where MEMPHIANS believe they belong”

        Clearly not all Memphians, patience, just a the few who don’t understand that a strong shelter is a vital part of a strong and healthy community.

        The Memphis Zoo is a source of pride and a benefit to the community. No one is saying, “Kill the lions, they eat too much while our children go hungry!” Why not? Because the zoo gives back.

        A good shelter takes nothing away from “the children” (indeed, it too GIVES BACK). A bad shelter sucks the whole community down into the mud with it.

      2. Also, it’s been off-putting to see a group of Caucasian activists investing this much energy on dogs in a majority African-American city with 40% of its children living in poverty.

        These comments are from the article . . .

      3. Both Mitch Schneider and Matther Pepper have Chameleon software. The big difference is one uses it to increase return to owner rates while the other one just refuses to use it. Washoe County has a 59% or better return to owner, while Memphis has less than 7%. No extra resources or funding required.

      4. Bob does not need to be “given” anything, Bob has to be progressive and hard working to make these wonderful things happen, as a lot of people don’t seem to understand, we are not “given” things in life (or at least we shouldn’t be) they need to be earned! And if employees of animal control are “expected” to save lives, if it is made a part of their Job Description, then they will! It is not for us to decide which life is worth more then the other, each one is precious!! And Not to be wasted or killed for the convenience of evil and lazy people!
        As for those who want to talk about race…there was a time when the lives and suffering of someone of a different skin color “didn’t matter” for you see their “lives” where not as important or valuable as others.
        Thank God those times are gone…Now let’s make sure no one gets to decide who’s life is or isn’t worth saving!!!!

    1. Awesomely said Mikken and I don’t see where color of your skin would have anything to do with the end positive results.

      Throwing the Racial Trump card in on the situation is one of the reasons why this country can’t change. I also know what it is like to be poor and I like any other person in this world…white or black, in this day and time you have the choice and resources to make things better for you and your children…….These animals have no race or choice……they depend on all of us that have chosen to domesticate them and make them dependent on us……Come to think of it……I think our Government has given so many handouts and loop holes to use the racial trump card that now all races have allowed themselves to be crippled and dependent on things they have not earned. Remember what the bible says?
      2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
      Stop Using the Racial Trump Card and represent your race with dignity and pride……..God will not be mocked. You are choosing to hold your own selves down……. This is about God’s creatures who need our voice and is just one of the many many things that we as a Nation Under God have to manage and keep watch over in the middle of such a fallen world…..Don’t let satan’s warriors keep you from doing what is right when the moment presents itself.

  6. I do a lot of cross-posting on my facebook page for different animal situations (most are absolutely heartbreaking!). I don’t believe I overwhelm people with it, but certainly they know that I have a passion for animals. I have been surprised, to say the least, at the response of some of my closest “friends”. Either I’ve been blasted for NOT caring about other, more important issues or I’ve been told that they are blocking my posts (all of them, since they can’t selectively choose certain ones) because it’s too much for them to look at. So to hear this coming out of Memphis being directed toward us “white people” who don’t care that “black children” are living in poverty doesn’t surprise me. It makes no more sense than what I’ve heard from my “friends”, but I don’t understand either one saying that with a straight face. In the case of whoever said that in Memphis, it says a lot about the fact that they don’t care what happens to the animals.

  7. Quite apart from anything else I would be willing to bet a modest amount of money that lots of the “poor, black” kids have dogs they love too. Outreach programs to help low-income families keep their pets are good for those families as well as the animals. Dogs are a source of unconditional love and as such are potentially a big part of the solution to the human problems that exist in deprived areas in the US and the UK.

    1. Many of the “poor black” kids do not have a change of clothes or food to eat at home. This is not hearsay. This comes from comments by teachers discussing problems with the Memphis City Schools. Perhaps you might google Operation Backpack.

      If you do not want to be seen as “Caucasian activists” you need to take this seriously. Telling people that a good animal shelter enhances the community is a wonderful idea; we need more and better communities. Telling people who live in gang-infested areas, have to deal with teenage pregnancy, absentee slumlords and a poor educational system that you aren’t black, but you were poor once is an insult. Many poor people in Memphis are white or Hispanic.

      But you don’t need to worry too much. Many don’t have access to the Internet except at the public library. And we’ve been cutting back hours of operation there. As have many other cities in this country.

      1. Do you not understand that many of us here DO care and that we take action wherever and whenever we can? We are certainly not saying that children (of whatever race, color, ethnicity) do not deserve safe neighborhoods, shelter, food, clothing, education.
        What is hard about understanding that compassion is not a finite quantity that is “used up”?
        Compassionate people are compassionate.

      2. I caught my grade 12 English teacher tell other students in my class how stupid it was for me to go to Mexico and build houses for poor families. There were people here I should help first.

        Now I do not know about you but I don’t avoid homeless people. I don’t walk on the other side of the street. I answer their questions, say excuse me and offer them a smile and help if I have the opertinity. I dont throw things at them. The family I built a house for the grandpa cried, no one in his town would talk to him or walk on the same side of the street as him even poor Mexicans. Why? He was no a Spanish Mexican but of the first nations groups in Mexico. He was so touched I would even talk to him and be nice. I don’t care if he was from another country that I could of helped another in his place, someone from Canada, this man deserved my time as much as any Canadian. He taught me a lot. It may not be your cause and he may not be worth it to you bit to me he was and is. To prioratize people and causes is sad and petty. Every person has a purpose don’t minimize and undermine mine.Making me feel bad makes me more passionate for the things that touch my heart. If you are passionate about something spread the word, raise awareness and lead by example. Be the change in the world you want to see. -Gandhi. Getting defensive that others are passionate about other things really doesn’t help your cause. God has given me the opportunity and passion to help the Mexican people not the people of Memphis. Why should I apologize for that? It by no means mean I don’t care I have just been given an opertunity to help elsewhere. You can’t do and help everyone, only God knows were I will be the most useful and I feel that hes led me to Mexico and Noahs Arks Rescue.

      3. If we don’t want to be seen as “Caucasian activists” should we pain our faces a different color? The article – or Matt – pulled the Racial Trump Card because there is NO justification for anything that is going on at that hellhole MAS. People always pull the race card when they have no other answers. Fact is he did a pretty shitty job. Now, that being said, doesn’t mean that I am not aware of the racial/cultural/class issues facing Memphis, because those same issues are faced everywhere in the US, to larger or lesser degrees.

        I absolutely and personally resent being called a Caucasian activist because COMPASSION IS COLORBLIND. This is a spurious argument and is meant to divide and conquer, nothing more. It is a cheap diversion and a cheaper intended insult to the intelligence and compassion of all peoples everywhere.

        In the lingo of the late George Carlin it is a filthy disgusting bag of shit.

  8. Other than pulling the racist card, I fail to see why some folks do not understand that compassionate people are compassionate about all living things – animals, children, nature . . .
    Compassion is not a set quantity to be used up. Actually, I have found that the more compassion we show to others, the more compassionate we become.

    SMH . . .

    1. No one (especially me) is going to argue that compassion is finite or can be used up. But resources can. And money spent in Memphis is a big issue. There were many who argued against building a new shelter.

      Understanding is a problem. How can you expect someone who is unemployed or has a child in an unsafe school to understand how posting all the pets on PetHarbor will help his family? Many people in Memphis don’t have access to the Internet. You want them to volunteer? How do they get to the shelter (built out on the edge of Memphis) to do that without a car and with Memphis’ poor public transport?

      To improve the shelter, you need to make everyone a stakeholder. Not just those who understand the Gandhi quote or can research Nathan Winograd. Poor people in Memphis vote and pay taxes. They also suffer indignities that you and I will never know. Talk about jobs, not just Facebook postings. Talk about safer communities, not just having a great foster program. If you can’t do that, you can’t win them over.

      And as for the race card–isn’t Yesbiscuit playing the “shame card”? I’m sure a lot of people do feel shame in how Memphis looks to the world. But if your kid has to go to school in dirty clothes because your water has been cutoff for non-payment, do you care? If your house has holes in the ceiling and floor because of your absentee landlord, do you care?

      There are plenty of people in Memphis who have good ideas. They just don’t have the time or resources to share them. They need to know that they have a stake in this and it’s not just to make Memphis look good. And if they do share, and it’s something you disagree with, please don’t let them be called “killing apologists’ or worse. You may lose someone who could be your best advocate in Memphis

      Thank you for listening to me.

      1. I thought the money for the shelter was donated? Not 100% sure on where it came from. Does seem like a waste of money to me, why not just clean and paint the place. Oh and demo the kill room.

      2. To trouble”
        the shelter is financed almost totally by the city. FOMAS accepts donations. The shelter is forty years old. It’s nasty. No good ventilation system. No room for the cats. And right next to one of the busiest cargo airports in the world. They needed a new shelter much more than they needed FedXForum. But guess which one we’ll be paying for the longest.
        Have a good night.

      3. It doesn’t take any money to use software you already have. To enforce rules about cleaning. To enforce rules about how to handle dogs and cats. To enforce rules about proper killing techniques. To reach out to pet supply stores to see if they’d partner up to host adoption events. Does it? Most of the things we want don’t take any resources away from anyone. MAS already HAS the resources–it just refuses to use them.

  9. I get so sick of this stupid view. If you are so concerned about starving children in Memphis and around the world, then form a group and get busy fixing that problem. I know it’s a lot harder than drawing the race card as an easy way to blame others….but go on. Give it a try. There are enough people around for each and every concern to be addressed. Looks like you are up for the solution for the suffering of children.

    1. I agree with googlethis. I have yet to see any facebook pages or advocates pushing for the poverty stricken in Memphis. You and the person writing the article are the first to come across my view regarding this agenda. I have two children and will do everything in my ability to provide for them, raise them with morals and compassion towards others including animals. I am not considered wealthy, but I am doing everything humanly possible to provide my children with what they need. I don’t make any excuses for my mistakes and I don’t blame others for my failures. If I need help I ask for it.

      I am passionate for the animals of Memphis because the word got out to the surrounding states about the atrocities going on there. IF the citizens of Memphis were so concerned about their children then I expect they’d be advocating for them and getting the word out that they need help (by facebook or other ways). I will help any person or animal that needs my help regardless of race or breed.
      I’m going to call a spade a spade (and I’m not talking racism here) and say that AC Wharton and the council members of Memphis are not only doing a dis-service to the animals of Memphis, but to the citizens of Memphis. How many quotes do we have now from Mayor Wharton saying Memphians are useless, don’t care about animals, are un-educated, blah, blah, blah. I have yet to read one nice thing he has said about the Memphis public – except when he is pushing his campaign. Why do you expect me, a KY resident, to care about the public of Memphis when their own mayor says nothing but derogatory comments about them and doesn’t believe that city of Memphis can change?

      It’s not the children’s fault and it’s not the animals fault they are voiceless and helpless. It’s not my fault and other animal lover’s fault. It’s the parents fault, the un-wed mother’s fault, the mayor’s fault and city government’s fault that there is poverty, lack of education, etc. IF Memphis is so concerned and wants to help themselves then they need to ask for help. I will help. People will help. We will all come together just like we do for the animals, but I’m not going to waste my time and my money on people of Memphis that don’t want to help themselves.

    2. I was curious about that one blog because in all my time in living here (just one town over from Memphis) I have never heard of that blog at all. I looked up the blog information out of curiosity and learned it is part of a consulting firm of some sort.


      It ^ reads as though ^ only one sole person writes for the blog and his viewpoint might be biased because of this part right here (cut and paste, obviously from the url)

      “We have worked for clients in a number of cities, particularly for economic development organizations and city governments.”

      Now I just knew that when I read this over here (on yesbiscuit) that something was fishy with that blog (smart city memphis) but I tried to put things aside until I looked it up and all.

      Weird. I will know change my user name to Brenda Starr :)

  10. Well our “not caring about the children” got your attention article writter. Maybe you should learn a thing or two. I have no idea what organization your from and really have no desire to read the article to find out. Compassion Canada came to my church and so I sponsored a child in Nicaragua from them Kimmie my friend sponsored a girl from her home country Haiti. I chose Joselyn not based on race but because she was available and looked sad. Compassion made an effort to bring the issue to me, do the same. Write more articles, visit church groups, get on your soap box if you must. I can’t care if you dont tell me the issues. Also don’t pit my guard up by fussing me caring for animals. I can spend my money on rescues if I so choose. Not a good marketing / recruitment plan dissing a group of people you know are passionate and can effect change.

  11. In my experience, it is the people who are not involved in any charity work who pull the, “why don’t you care about ” People who work in nonprofits don’t see it as a zero sum game and it is not.

    I will devote what little time and energy I can devote to an issue to the one that I personally care about. If everyone did the same we would be a much better world. A lot of people never involve themselves in any sort of charity or volunteer work so anyone who cares enough to get involved in something positive deserves thanks.

    Even among human issues how are we to decide which is the “more worthy?” Even among children issues we have so many to choose from; where do these people suggest we begin judging which issues are worth working on?

    A quality shelter run by effective and compassionate people gives back to the community and helps people in addition to helping animals.

    There is a lot of poverty where I live too. Families literally living on dirt floors without running water or telephones. But poverty is a complex issue and not anything that can be changed through the efforts of a single city department. Neglect and abuse at the city shelter CAN be eliminated, and quite easily.

    1. This is exactly true. I am pretty active in all kinds of social justice issues and I have NEVER had anyone in any of those overlapping communities denigrate animal advocacy. True humanitarians don’t do that. Maybe because we get the same tired logical fallacy thrown at us all the time. “Why do you care about X when Y is more important?!”
      X can be combating eating disorders, disability activism, raising awareness about harmful advertising, etc. It doesn’t matter. People who don’t like your cause will always pull the “starving children in Africa” card, even though they don’t do shit for kids in Africa themselves.
      If ignoring the suffering of animals did any good for the poor children of Memphis, wouldn’t childhood poverty have been eradicated by now?

  12. Oh for Pete’s sake.

    Memphis MSN law is raciest as it targets the poor and mandates that families take food away from their own families to get their dog’s s/n or let AC pick them up and kill ’em.

    Who hoped that the people of Memphis were too ignorant to realize what it meant to their dogs? Who requested that vile ineffective dog killing, poor people targeting law in? Who wanted it Mr Mayor?

    Find the person who pushed and advocated for that peice of legislation and you’re find your racist rat bastard. I have an idea it’s a person who believes that all pitbulls should be killed to prevent future potential abuse and someone who doesn’t think that poor people can be responsible toward their pets.

    You probably won’t have to look real hard for them.

  13. And I think with about half of these comments we can see a HUGE issue – lack of education! They cannot even read this blog and see who said what!!!! Shirley, you may have to edit it and have a line at the start that says the indented comments are comments you have received from articles AGAINST changing the shelter to a no kill shelter, and the other parts are your response and comments. I’m serious. And I wondered if the comment Patience made about finding the first comment offensive might actually refer to the first quote in your blog! I suspect it did, and I suspect she also does not realize WHO is saying WHAT! The uphill battle is MUCH steeper than first suspected….

    1. To clarify: I was referring to the first comment, not to anything in the Yesbiscuit post. I would like to be insulted by your insinuations, but I am too busy laughing.

      Have a good evening.

  14. Memphis, like many areas, has a host of social isues — all of which are important to address.

    But completely failing in other social areas, doesn’t make failure in another one acceptable.

    Either way, it’s failure…and fixable.

    It’s important to note that the same mayor who is accepting of this shelter situation has also shorted the school district millions of dollars. So the problems run deep….and are not isolated from one another.

    1. Sorry that was Mayor Herenton and the City Council who did that.

      Please listen. No one (especially not me) is saying the people of Yesbiscuit are not compassionate. Or Passionate about more than one cause. You do not need to give anyone your qualifications on that score. Believe it or not, we do actually know people who love animals and children, too.

      But these are concerns that people have. Please address those concerns. Tell people why your ideas will help them and help the children of Memphis. Get them on your side. Every time you kill a messenger, you lose a potential advocate. Instead of sarcasm,condescension and defensiveness, why didn’t Yesbiscuit go over to SmartcityMemphis and ask him to discuss his concerns with her readers. Ask if you can do a guest column to share your ideas with his readers.

      I hate to say it, but this entire post looks bad.

      And why am I doing this since I am a killing apologist and think Nathan Winograd is an arrogant jerk? Because I care about Memphis and I care about improving MAS. And there is nothing that is going to make this harder than to make this a race thing. It was going to come up sooner or later. Blaming SmartCityMemphis won’t make it go away.

      I’ll leave y’all alone now. Hopefully, you’re rid of me. I won’t let the door hit me on the way out.

      1. I am not one of your no kill leaders in Memphis. I am not the person to individually engage the members of your community. I am a blogger in SC. I spotlight issues, toss in my two cents, and hopefully (HOPEFULLY) inspire others to take action locally.

        My way is not the middle ground – in case anyone was in doubt on that. My way is to turn on the floodlights at 3am and drive around at insane speeds in an ice cream truck while yelling into a bullhorn. I am not here to fight Memphis’ (or any community’s) battles for you. There is a middle ground, and I respect that, but I save it for local advocates to do their work. My way is offensive to some people and does not make for good political negotiations. My hope is that it gets people talking and helps clearly define that vast middle ground where good local leaders can step up and begin shaking hands and kissing babies. I can give you the tools to help you in your reform efforts but I am not your local no kill leader. Can you be that person?

      2. To YesBiscuit:

        If you don’t want to individually engage with members of my community,then what is this post about? I’d certainly say you were engaging with a member of my community. And you’ve certainly been willing to engage with the media in Memphis when you want.

        I admire your passion for what you do. I’ve learned so much about shelter conditions in the US and beyond from reading this blog and researching from your links and topics you discuss. I agree it is pretty disgusting and sometimes not worthy of the human race.

        I am a middle ground person. I am stubborn, can be extremely self-righteous and tend towards arrogance. I don’t listen to people. That has cost me dearly and I will feel pain and guilt the rest of my life because of it.

        I am not asking you to kiss babies or shake hands. I am asking you to think about how hard a time a local leader will have if there is no middle ground left because of this blog. Next time you want to scream at someone about Memphis, well, you have my email. Call me all the names you want. Don’t give up on you r principles, but please don’t go after the people who could help you if you gave them a chance.,

        I hope your last question was rhetorical. Not only am I not sure I believe in No-Kill, right now I couldn’t sell igloos to Eskimos.

        But you’re all right for a dog person from S.C. And I’m a cat person who grew up in N,C

        To paraphrase MLK, I hope someday we can both stand in front of a shelter that animals hate to leave when they’re adopted out to their forever homes.


      3. This post, like so many others, was shining a spotlight on an issue (in this case an opinion) and sharing my thoughts. I’m a blogger. This is what I do. As for engaging with the Memphis media, I do it in the interest of transparency but I always offer to try and find them someone local first. Sometimes they take me up on that, sometimes not.

        You are looking at the issue differently from me. I’m not saying there is only one way to look at it but I don’t see it as “no middle ground left b/c of this blog”. Firstly, this blog is hardly capable of doing that. Secondly, I pull the fire alarm, you run breathless to the mayor’s office and explain that the building is burning down and we need to handle this situation immediately. See how that works? The mayor gets to be a hero by ordering the fire dept. to the scene. You get to effect meaningful change by treading that middle ground. It’s a win for everybody. (And the “you” could be anyone who wants to step up.)

        I don’t want to scream at you about Memphis or call anyone names. I would love to use this blog, in part, to champion Memphis and its transformation to no kill. I would love to hold Memphis up as a shining example of what’s possible when compassionate people work together. But we haven’t turned that corner yet. We’re not even on the road. On the pound issue, Memphis has been sitting in the ditch for years, yelling at passersby who might otherwise lend a hand that “This is all YOUR fault!”.

        So here we are.

  15. They’re grasping for excuses…any. Muddy those waters so as to not talk about cruelty and killing…ugly.

  16. This is the old divide and conquer ploy. Make groups who want better for our society think that it’s a zero sum game. There can be food for children or kindness for animals, not both, seems to be the idea. It’s a dumb idea. A kinder society is kinder for all. A compassionate society will work to help both children and elders, animals and humans. And yes,race and class enters into the discussion, it can’t fail to. They are huge issues in our society. A wedge is not what we need, a group effort is what we need. People of all races and classes care about their children and their companion animals. One does not preclude the other, and , just for the hell of it, if Richard Pryor could care about both I think I can too

  17. Thank you Vida…and to end your great comment with one of my favorite humans of all time…makes me exhale with a happy aaahhh….remember his wonderful routine about the German Shepherd? It’s worth finding….so funny and gets you right in the heart.. will always love Richard Pryor.

    1. Thanks, me too! What a guy. And his wife is wonderful and carrying on his legacy. And yes, his routines made me laugh and cry and Think! He is missed.

  18. Why go after people who are actually getting out and DOING something about the causes they care about? What about the people who have contributed very little to society? The fact is that a functioning animal shelter is undeniably beneficial for everybody, not just the animals.

    I’d love to see what the author is doing to help children living in poverty. I, personally, really want to do therapy animal work and would like to get one of my cats certified. I can think of few things that would be better than going into a children’s hospital or a retirement home and bringing joy to people. It makes me a little teary eyed just thinking about it. I am extremely passionate about the elderly, children and the disabled. I haven’t done much about the particularly issue of poor children, though, although I plan to start doing so very soon. Guess none of that other crap counts then.

    The only difference is that, while almost everybody is aware of these issues, most are not aware of the cruelty that goes on at shelters and the fact there is an alternative to killing them. That is why I focus a good deal of my energy towards that particular cause. The idea of a sentient creature being killed for no reason really upsets me and it’s something I want to change. I don’t know how that precludes me from caring about other causes. *shrugs*

    I’m not even touching the race issue, because it’s pretty silly, but if the author or anybody who agrees with the author happens to be reading this, I’m half black, half white. In other words, my racial background is the same as the current president. Amazing, huh?

  19. Y’know what I really love about animals?

    They’re colour-blind.

    While everyone is discussing “black” poverty, how about First Nations poverty? Or is a “red” skin person not as deserving of sympathy as a “black” person?

    I agree with vida, mikken, db, jamie horton, brent (I was stunned by the City not giving necessary funds to the school board, by the murder of a school principal by a student, and what is apparently a high rate of assault by students on teachers) and particularly debbie smith concerning education.

    There have been assumptions on here and elsewhere that we’re all “white”. You know what they say about making assumptions…

  20. uurgh, Fred over at Pound Dogs (formerly One Bark at a Time) has the BEST blog post for how to respond to the tired argument of ‘how can you care about animals when x is going on in the world?!’
    i’m frantically looking for it so i can post a link- it’s the best

  21. Whoever *does* go into Memphis — please read and re-read everything Patience said and *listen*.

    Because the people who live there are as they are, whether or not that’s how we wish they would be. And if your comments don’t show compassion for what it might be like to grow up not knowing “shelter” can be more than a pound, to see far more instances of animal maltreatment done on purpose to threaten other humans than of compassionate treatment & safe animals… you may have trouble getting folks to listen to you.

    Same goes for wishing that Mmph politics were less racially charged… sounds good, but let’s not make the animals wait until that’s no longer a hot issue! (Dinna hold ya breath on that one!)

    I’m more of a policy person, and I totally respect that our hostess is a passion person, these are not the same. I guess I’m surprised that anyone is surprised by that SmartCityMemphis take, though, because it’s been voiced in several local-media stories, and no one’s been countering it.

    I truly believe that the NKE can work in Memphis, and I also think Winograd did NK a disservice by calling the mayor the worst mayor in America (sorry, can’t find link, would love to be wrong, but there it was) without backing that up…

    I doubt anyone’s going to want to read this, but in case this might help good changes come, I will hit “submit”.

    1. I am so glad to hear that you believe the NKE can work in Memphis. I believe that too. Are you the person to step up and take the lead on this issue? We need a policy person!

      As an aside, I really try to read every comment. I admit that I am sometimes forced to skim when I would prefer to read thoroughly but I make the effort. And I know some readers read all the comments too.

      1. Thank you YB, and I think you make pretty impressive efforts on the hearing-people-out dept.

        As a bluestocking yankee female who no longer lives in the South, I don’t think I can take an effective lead. I’m definitely up for serving as a sounding board/ red team, though. (“red team” is kinda like “devil’s advocate”) You’ve got my email and maybe still my snail mail info — I will also email No Kill Memphis so they have that as well.

  22. I am so sick of all this…there are starving children…..I help feed some of them, there are sick children, I donate to organizations to hopefully help them, I give money on the streets and I save as many animals as I can…I cannot go steal a starving child from the sidewalk, not can I trap it, nor can I put it in a dog house and a fenced yard…I can give $ and I do…I employ people that enable them to feed their children…and I save animals every chance I get! For the mayor to compare a passion for animals for a lack of compassion for humans is one more “race card” being played. He needs to “get” the fact that Memphis is one of the meanest cities in the U.S. This quality not only is directed at animals it is directed to humans as well and proven by the crime and killing rate in this fine city. Any organization that can improve in this environment will be an asset to Memphis and I have not heard of a cruel orphanage, church, or school, (even if the education in most of them is substandard) I have not heard of school breakfasts or school lunches not being available, I have not heard of subsidized housing not being available, I have not heard of food pantries and kitchens not being available. What I have heard of are tax dollars paying for a tremendous amount of help given to the needy…that is helping poor children, black and white! What I have heard of is a corrupt city government that wastes thousands upon thousands of dollars that should have either not been spent or could have been spent in a more compassionate way not to mention in a more honest way! For the most part, our different government agencies decide what my taxes are to be spent on…I am going to decide what me “spending” money is to be spent on…and if it is to feed a dog, a cat or a whole herd of either it is my business!

    1. The news reported tonight: Memphis city council members, at the taxpayer’s expence, get a $1000 photo of themselves put up at city hall, no matter how short or long their tenior AND the frames have no limit on the expense, all on the taxpayer’s dime.

      Several other photographers offered less costly photos, yet Memphis has a contract with the $1000 photo people.

      And you think Memphis isn’t supporting other causes? That money is flowing somewhere.

  23. The article makes erroneous assumptions, is full of logical fallacies, and goes off topic. I believes it fails as a news story & is more of an op-ed piece, and an absurd one at that.

    If the topic WAS the Memphis school system, would it be logical to bring up the animal shelter or people’s race?

    Logical Fallacy #1: No True Scotsman Fallacy (Circular logic)

    This fallacy simply defines “true” in such a way that the statement can never be false.

    General Example: No “true” Scotsman pours sugar on his porridge. However, Angus was born and raised in Scotland and he pours sugar on his porridge. Angus is therefore automatically disqualified from being a “true” Scotsman simply because he pours sugar on his porridge. Thus, Angus is not a counter-example to the claim.

    No Kill Examples: 1) No “true” advocate for children would ever suggest that your animal shelter needs to be reformed to implement the no kill equation. Harry, who has donated thousands of dollars and hundreds of volunteer hours to children’s causes suggests that that the city examine what successful no kill shelters are doing. Therefore, Harry is not a “true” children’s advocate. 2) No “true” data would ever conclude that no kill shelters could ever be effective at saving 90% or more of animals. Data from shelters A, B, C, D, & E conclude that the no kill equation has been effective at saving 90% or more of animals in their shelters. Therefore, data from shelters A, B, C, D & E is not “true” data.

    Logical Fallacy #2: False Dilemma

    This fallacy presents only two options, the one desired by the presenter versus an undesirable alternative.

    General Example: You either support the invasion of Iraq or you supported the regime Saddam Hussein.

    Reforming the Animal Shelter Example: If you support protests geared to reforming our animal shelter, you are opposed to supporting protests for changes to help people “who are being emotionally starved and educationally malnourished”.

    Logical Fallacy #3: Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc (After This, Therefore Because of This)

    This fallacy is committed when a causal relationship between two events is assumed just because one event preceeded the other.

    General Example: In the ten years before I moved to Los Angeles, Boston sports teams didn’t win a single championship, but they’ve won six in the ten years since. Therefore, by moving to Los Angeles, I caused Boston to be a more successful sports city.

    Webcam Example: Because the webcams were capturing MAS staff mishandling animals, the cameras and anti-cruelty advocates are to blame for Matt Pepper’s

    Logical Fallacy #4: Subjective Fallacy

    This fallacy confuses subjective and objective arguments. This is the fallacy we call out when we remind people that they have the right to their own opinions, but not their own facts.

    General Example: You think the Capital of Texas is Austin but I think it’s Dallas. I guess we’ll just have to “agree to disagree.”

    Expert Animal Shelter Director Example: You imply that Matthew Pepper is some kind of experienced leader who “never had a chance” to turn things around, but that is your opinion, not a fact. Matt Pepper has demonstrated no understanding or expert knowledge of all the things needed to successfully turn the shelter around, and did not engage supporters who would have helped him. He did not reach out to true experts from successful shelters in equally poor areas who could have mentored him. Evidence is available that experts offered to help. You will have to ask him why he did not do this as we all know that if you’re doing and saying the same traditional things over and over and they don’t bring results, then logically you need to reconsider what you’re thinking, believing, doing and saying.
    (Some logical fallacy examples adapted from outdoorcatsandwildlife by ?).

  24. Maybe we would like to see those poor needy African American children (and their families, too!) able to enjoy the many benefits of pet ownership, just as much as anyone else can. Maybe we see that for some people, particularly people who are less well-off than others, or for people who are handicapped, or elderly, or, yes, young, THOSE FOLKS STILL DESERVE TO BE NEEDED BY ANOTHER CREATURE. Animals are the most unprejudiced beings on earth. And everyone deserves to feel they can offer something to someone else. If “shelters” like MAS would open their arms to the entire community, black, white, GLBT, immigrant, whatever, we could get ON already with not worrying about pets and we all could focus on the issues animal advocates are fighting. But let’s not try to march everyone in lockstep, please, around one single social issue. As many have said more eloquently than I can, we are all individuals.

  25. Article says “Matthew Pepper didn’t have a dog’s chance of success at the Memphis Animal Shelter.”

    Given the save rate at MAS for pets, & Matt Pepper’s lack of experience with reforming animal shelters following the methods of successful no kill shelters, that is likely the only accurate statement in the article!

  26. This discussion proves that there are even more reasons why those on and off this blog are going to have to take matters into their own hands and not wait for those in Memphis to make the changes. They can’t, they won’t, they don’t want to…they don’t care. Any and all excuses are up for grabs to avoid doing the right thing.

    I read each and every comment and learned a lot, but I came to the end wondering why we had this discussion when in the end, none of this matters. There comes a time when we all have to ask ourselves, “Are we part of the problem because we’re looking for things to discuss instead of things to do?” We come here wanting to learn more about the issues, but we end up just getting drawn into philosophical arguments that don’t change a thing. As long as we keep typing…instead of doing…those poor animals are just gonna keep on dying…

    If this is a real revolution, and Memphis is the city you want to change, then do it. There is only so much time for the dissemination of information in blogs and on FB and the debate that goes with it. It can’t be endless. We MUST start making the changes needed instead of kibitzing about it. This is war and we are losing too many battles. We need to start making plans and acting on them. When is enough, enough already? Haven’t you noticed that this has been going on for years because no one really wants to DO anything?

    My suggestion is to take the best post today…Mikken’s thoughtful post about Bob and the wonderful shelter he creates…and create that shelter in Memphis. Start working on a plan and make it happen. Help the most successful rescue become the best No-Kill shelter in Memphis. Let go of MAS. They will never get it right.

    If you still think MAS is the way to go, then do whatever you can to get a No-Kill director for them. Someone ought to know somebody who can do a better job that this! Just don’t talk endlessly and do nothing about it. Otherwise, thousands of healthy loving innocent animals are going to needlessly die while everyone rots behind their computers talking about it.

    Realize that Memphis doesn’t care and it’s going to take everyone else who does to change it. Think of it this way…if you create the solution, you can eliminate the need for MAS.

  27. My suggestion is to take the best post today…Mikken’s thoughtful post about Bob and the wonderful shelter he creates…and create that shelter in Memphis. Start working on a plan and make it happen. Help the most successful rescue become the best No-Kill shelter in Memphis. Let go of MAS. They will never get it right.

    Love this idea – anyone local know of a rescue group up to this challenge? How can we non-locals help make this happen?

    1. MAS has an obligation to get it right. They owe it to the taxpayers of Memphis. As pet advocates, we owe it to the pets at MAS to not let them off the hook. Whether they take in 16,000 pets a year or 16 pets a year, MAS has a duty to protect those pets from harm.

      1. I agree that they have that responsibility, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. I’d love for someone to step up and take charge of animal sheltering for the Memphis community, but the reality is that it may not happen. Not giving up . . . just trying to think of something in the meantime that might save more animals from the horrors of MAS.

    2. This world is big enuf for all of us. Here’s hoping we can recruit Bob and support his excellent shelter (it’ll be hard with the local government stuck in their good-old-boy quagmire, but worth the effort!) But I also agree that MAS has an obligation to the taxpayers of Memphis to clean up their act and do better.
      Sounds like the people of Memphis have pretty low expectations. That’s a shame.
      Locally, I’ve taken to doing my own rescue work. I decrease the load on our local Animal Control just a little bit. Cooperation and collaboration make things go better for more creatures, but it isn’t easy.
      A local vet sued the borough because Animal Control euthanized pets for free and the vet said the government was competing with local business!
      There is no perfect world. But, life goes on, we hope, for many.

      1. I think what we need to ask ourselves is what is the more important focus in this situation? Is it forcing MAS’ obligation to ‘get it right’ because they owe the taxpayers and the animals, or is it saving the animals that might enter MAS?

        While I understand the desire to fight the system to make things better (and hopefully that will happen in Memphis), if the mayor doesn’t care, the council doesn’t care, the advisory board doesn’t care, the director doesn’t care, the staff doesn’t care, and the community doesn’t care, and we don’t have the power to make them care, haven’t we lost our way focusing on forcing these people to care? Are we stuck on forcing integrity into a corrupt system and, like Don Quixote, railing at the windmills?

        As animal advocates, we owe it to the animals to let them ‘off the hook’ and do what’s right for them. Justice will not happen for those who continue to go through this grisly mill of death as long as we do nothing to save them. It says a lot when there have been so many posts, but only one or two dogs saved. Think about all the good that could have happened by now if the focus had been usurping this shelter years ago.

        I guess what I’m trying to say is shouldn’t we stop being Reactive and start being Proactive?

        Isn’t the point of it all to fight for the lives of the animals in the smartest way possible? Or is that not the focus here? Is it more important to fixate on those awful web shots and kibitz about them and then end it with an ‘Oh, well.’ every night? Because this seems like Chinese water torture instead of animal advocacy. Shouldn’t we be advocating for a new system without all the chains of bondage and time this one will take to mend? And without all the waste of life as these debates and gnashing of teeth continue?

        We can spend time every day trying to force change by rubbing peoples’ faces in the dirt and trying to shame those who feel no shame, but while we are doing that, we are forgetting that more animals are walking through the doors of MAS that we could have saved. Because we are getting caught up in the drama at MAS, which is the ONLY focus here, we are forgetting what is really important.

        And what if we did focus on saving animals from going to MAS? If we did a good enough job, there is potential to relieve MAS of its duties, or better yet, to take over MAS. A successful shelter means a great reputation, profitability, and power…and those in power seek to be near success.

        It is a back door approach, but one that may work much better than trying to knock down a locked and barred front door. At the very least, it will benefit many more precious lives IMMEDIATELY, than none at all.

        This reminds me of the story of the woman who pounded on the front door trying to help a drowning child in a backyard pool. She pounded and pounded away trying to get the homeowners to pay attention and care enough to unlock the door, and didn’t bother to see she could walk through the open gate on the side of the house to save her…

        While the fight to force MAS may continue, I hope some part of this focuses on a more proactive approach…the animals will be grateful.

  28. Shirley, I understand that you picked that ridiculous comment as a place from which to start your blog post, precisely because it was a stupid comment that would generate discussion – and I applaud that – but I think it would have been much more sensible to point out more of the completely asinine words and premise of the writer of the article “The Dog Days of Summer Take Toll at Memphis Animal Shelter.” From the first sentence to the last, it is riddled with head-shaking wtfery. As Cee points out, if Peeper wanted to have “a dog’s chance of success” perhaps he should have realized that improving the crappy save rate, by more than a couple percentage points, was really, really important.

    Whoever the author of this piece of wrong-head bs is, I’d like to know where they get off claiming that Pepper “believed his professional background and personal commitment were strong testament to his seriousness about his job” without finding out that his abysmal record in Caddo Parish and elsewhere showed that he’s deluded about his qualifications to make change and run a facility better than it was before.

    And for dog’s sake, I spit out my apple juice when I read that Pepper is “the kind of animal control official that doesn’t ask anyone to do something that he’s not willing to do himself – from chasing down animals to cleaning cages.” Does he wear a special Cloak of Invisibility when he’s doing these things, because although I don’t watch the webcams constantly, I never saw him doing any of those things. Does that mean that he spent his time in the kill room, because if he’s going to ask his employees to do that, I guess he spent at least an hour or two every day, so he could share the biggest job in the building, right?

    And lastly, before getting to the vile “where’s their compassion for children” f*tard card the writer pulled, but after she/he wrote “In this environment, it’s often opinion first, facts later” there’s the description of the dogs in a tangle, doing something and two brave employees dealing with the best way they know how (snark), being a case of employees “simply trying to control a troublesome dog” without even one micronanosecond of a thought as to why the dog was being “troublesome” which was because the jackass employee was doing a shitty job of moving animals in the first place, being completely at fault for creating the situation in the first place.

    Oh, and I do have to question why s/he thinks babies of any socioeconomic status are born in a potter’s field. I’m fairly sure s/he meant to say they were buried there – which is because their parents couldn’t afford fancy funerals, obviously because the city decided to pay it’s electric bill instead, right? – but really, could s/he have gotten someone else to proofread the article before it was dumped on the website?

  29. As the article insinuates, as long as we have hungry black kids, lets all go home, do nothing, not care about any other issue because hungry black kids are the only thing that counts.

    Don’t hungry kids of all colors have one parent who speaks for them? The cats & dogs have no one but us to speak for them; the shelters don’t speak for them.

    Don’t all kids have people around to keep them from being killed? The cats & dogs only have our voices to protect them from death; the shelters don’t yet care enough to stop the mass murders.

    Everyone who cares about the cats & dogs also cares about YOUR hungry kids, the planet, recycling, wars, deaths, along with every issue, yet those responsible for the hungry kids allow it. Who but us is going to be responsible for the cats & dogs about to be killed? Just allow those who care to do it.

  30. If Smart City Counseling cares so much about impoverished children, then they should champion their cause. Bitching and whining about another social justice issue being silly or not as important only dilutes and diminishes your opinion and perspective.

  31. SOS Memphis is going to hold a candlelight prayer vigil at the new building for the MAS.

    Saturday, August 20 · 8:00pm – 9:00pm

    Memphis Animal Services (New Location)
    2350 Appling City Cove, I-40 and Appling Road N. Exit

    The International Society of Animal Rights (ISAR) dedicates its efforts and resources to improve the lives of animals by being active on the legislative front as well as through educational campaigns. This year ISAR will be celebrating the 20th International Homeless Animal Day with activities around the world. SOS Memphis will be joining in these activities by having a candlelight prayer vigil in front of Memphis Animal Services’ new facility on Sat. Aug. 20 at 8 PM.

    I do not know if this will work on a blog or not at all but here is their Facebook all the same http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002463685405

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