Under No Circumstances

In looking at webcam grabs, two things strike me about the handling of pets at MAS – way too many dogs are on chokepoles and way too many cats are mishandled.  The pound’s policy on scruffing cats is clear:  It’s to be used sparingly, it means grabbing the skin on the back of the neck, close to the ears and the pet’s weight must be supported from beneath.  And in all caps, bold lettering:


Does the policy seem clear to you?  It does to me.  And yet:

The cat in the previous shot is now in an open wire cage on the floor. She looks scared to me.

To me, this is such a simple thing. It would cost the city no money to fix this continual mishandling of pets by staff. They wouldn’t have to wait for a new building to be ready or send staff to a national conference to learn these magical techniques. All someone in charge needs to do is to announce at the morning huddle that the policies in the employee manual that they’ve all been trained on are going to be enforced – to the letter. And then do it.  Write violators up for infractions every day until the union criteria for discipline and termination is satisfied.  Then get some people in there who aren’t afraid of pets.  I repeat, there is no cost or risk involved in enforcing your own policies MAS.  It would make you look better in the eyes of the public too.  What’s stopping you?

13 thoughts on “Under No Circumstances

  1. The workers in that place don’t care how they look to the public. They know that there are cameras there and that there are people who watch them all the time. They don’t care.

  2. In the top photo, it seems as though the cat is at least being supported underneath by his other hand.

    But clearly, he has no idea where to grab the cat in order to properly scruff her.

    I’m looking at the cat’s body language and it seems to me that this is not a cat who needs scruffing anyway…but we know that they’re not very discriminating about which animals are safe and friendly and which are frightened/dangerous and may need special handling.

    Totally agree on the write ups – if you cannot handle an animal properly, you get written up. If it happens again, you get written up again. And again.

    This is where Matt Pepper’s apologists about how he wasn’t “allowed” to discipline staff missed the mark. If I had been director, you’d see a paper trail a mile long on repeat offenders. Their records would be covered with so many red marks that the next employee assessment would make it clear that they needed to seek other types of work.

  3. OMG, they’ve got a PHOTO in the manual to illustrate correct procedure. And yet, we still have people who don’t know/care how to do it…

  4. 2nd chance citizens have an inbreed way of doing things….. Stupid and Demonic. That’s why they have to be given and labeled 2nd, 3rd, 4th chance people and they have no business working with helpless voiceless animals …..They aren’t allowed to work with children are they? So why do we turn them loose on our defenseless animals.

  5. I’ve been rescuing cats from the Memphis Shelter and other local shelters for many years now. I have to say that MAS is one of the most horrific places a cat can find itself. From the noise, the unclean cages, the improper handling, etc. etc. Also, the euthanasia rate for cats at MAS is higher than the average rate quoted by the shelter. And even thinking about the methods of euthanasia used at MAS is sickening. MAS euthanasias are performed by employees and not by a veterinarian and without anesthesia.

    1. Thank you, Villy, and your rescue group (Meows and Bow Wows) for rescuing as many cats as you all do. What a sad state of affairs for those cats to have to endure such inhumane treatment!

  6. They are scared of cats.They don’t want to get scratched. Most of those people at the shelter don’t like cats. They say cats make their flesh crawl.

    1. Why do they continue to work with things they don’t like? It’s obvious where there heart is, and it’s not helping the animals in any way. I will continue writing until I at least get a response, which I haven’t yet. How many times must they be reminded of how bad of performance & mistreatment these morons continue with?

  7. It appears to be a combo of workers who undiciplined and uncaring coupled with a union mentality that usually ensures job security for all but the most egregious acts. Does anyone know what union these employees are under and has anyone contacted the union rep

  8. It is clear that alot of the shelter workers are simply afraid of animals, firstly. Then, they are afraid of BEING SEEN on camera to be afraid of animals, and on and on….ACTION!

  9. Many businesses have cameras. It’s outrageous that Mayor Wharton wants to discontinue the cameras. It’s common sense that if good things were going on he would be delighted to DEMAND tax payers see the improvements! There are none! Mayor is still supporting his belief in second chance felons….put them on the garbage trucks or at the impound lot but not handling lives or, better yet, don’t hire them at all. How are we going to get the shelter out of Mayor Wharton’s and Janet Hook’s control? That, in my opinion, is the only way that Memphis will ever have a decent shelter.

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