Memphis – Point Your Spotlight On Success

Any retailer will tell you that you have a certain area of your space in which to place your “spotlight” merchandise.  It’s generally at the store entrance since every customer who comes in, regardless of what their intention is, will look at your spotlight merchandise.  For shelters, this is an area to place pets who need a little extra push to get them seen by adopters – perhaps black cats in rhinestone collars or older dogs in bandannas.  Nice pets who, through no fault of their own, have been overlooked by adopters could benefit from being housed in the spotlight area, especially on your highest traffic days (weekends).  Shelters who are committed to getting pets into homes won’t let an opportunity for adopters to fall in love slip by.  Even visitors who stop by your facility for reasons other than adoption (e.g. to inquire about spay-neuter services) will see your spotlight merchandise and who knows, they too might fall in love.

This is the spotlight area at MAS this Saturday morning.  Since they are closed on Sundays, this is their only weekend day to showcase special pets to adopters.

Not a pet in sight.

Every empty cage in the lobby represents a missed opportunity to get a pet into a home.  And yet, the volunteer group still contends that people are the problem in Memphis.  What will it take to get this into your brains?  People are the solution.  People who would adopt (if you would let them see your pets), people who would volunteer (if you would quit bullying them), people who would donate (if you wouldn’t trash the donations).

A reader reports: Donated by the public, these Kuranda bed covers have had holes cut in them by the MAS staff so that when the dogs piss on them, the urine will leak through.
One little hole quickly leads to an unsafe and unusable bed. These beds are the only comfort item provided to the dogs in the stray area before they are killed.

I have no doubt Memphis has a percentage of people who are irresponsible and uncaring with their pets – just like every other city in the country.  Hell, let’s say for the sake of argument Memphis has a higher percentage of uncaring pet owners than every other city, mkay?  Instead of continually spotlighting that minority, why not spotlight your pets and reach out to the majority of your citizens who are compassionate and willing to help?  Your way is a proven failure.  Could trying a new way possibly be any worse?

This morning at MAS.

MAS, please – let people in to see and touch your pets.  All of them.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  People are the solution.  But you have to put in the work to harness that power.  Your years of blaming everybody else for the killing are over.  The time for change is now.  What are you going to do to get a different result today than you got yesterday?

41 thoughts on “Memphis – Point Your Spotlight On Success

  1. Maybe they moved all the pets to the new facility and there are balloons and giveaways and all kinds of specials to get pets into homes. And they’re about to bus those nice people in the lobby who didn’t see the huge sign out front about the new place over there so they can adopt, too!

    And maybe butterflies will be coming out of my butt any minute.

  2. Yeah . . . like they care. If I had donated a Kuranda bed (and I have to other places) I would be majorly upset that they cut holes in them and didn’t take care of them.

    I don’t know what it will take . . .

  3. Kurandas are expensive and we would love to have some. But cuttting holes for that reason? Proof in the pudding that the poor animals NEVEr get out of those fucking kennels except to die. ACTION needed.

    1. Morgana,

      Is your rescue group signed up on Kuranda’s site? It makes it much easier to donate beds to you if is.

      And I know someone who would be willing to donate a couple come next paycheck…

      And I’ll be damned if I’m donating any to MAS while they continue to intentionally DESTROY them with their ignorance and laziness.

    2. They sure are expensive – $49.95 – $124.95. the cheapest one is for toy size dogs. I guess if they did not pay for them they don’t care if they put holes in them.
      Not able to afford them for myself I made some with pvc pipe and fittings and heavy duty vinyl screening. Great for outdoor use and rain goes right through the screen. My dogs love them!

  4. And with all kudos to the Candlelight this weekend, I don;t mean that kind of action. But, I repeat myself again….darn, I’ll have to check that chip in my brain and see what’s wrong.


  6. Without fawning, Shirley you make me proud to be a Southern Woman! You are fearless, honest and smart and you toady to no one!
    I share every blog you write as your unflinching look at so many subjects cut right through the bullshit to the bone. Dog bless you Darlin!

  7. to make drainage holes in a hammock of any kind you can use a grommet kit, costs less than $5 at any store that has camping or auto equipment, the grommets provide a hole with a crimped metal edge so the fabric wont ravel… or after the fabric is worn out you can use a chair seat webbing kit for about $10; too bad, this place lacks both expertise and plain sense

    1. How is it that shelters all over the country are using Kuranda beds without cutting holes in them? Oh, because maybe they read the directions about how to properly USE and CARE for them.

      To anyone who used their hard-earned money to donate a Kuranda bed to MAS so that the dogs could have some kind of comfort before being dragged off to the kill room, I’m sorry. Your generous gift has been treated like everything else at MAS – disposable and valueless.

      1. Cutting holes in these beds just doesn’t make any sense. Even if a dog or cat did urinate on one of these beds it would be easy to turn it upside down and hose it off? Hey, that would take effort, thought and caring. I’m afraid from what I see on line there is very short supply of those qualities at MAS.

        I’m pretty sure that if you took anyones well mannered pet off the street and stuck it in a cage for two days with no bed and hosed it down to clean the cage and did not show it any affection it would soon become a scared or maybe even angry animal.

        These employees and their leaders are producing their own problems.

        Many of what happens there looks to be simply someone being LAZY…

    2. The thing about cutting the beds that is distressing to me beyond the fact they they are donations from kind-hearted members of the community is these poor dogs in the stray area are doomed. They don’t get vet care if needed (as we saw with Punkin), they don’t get walks, they don’t even get removed from their cages when the workers bring the hose around. Adopters are not allowed to meet and touch them – dogs need this social interaction so desperately in shelters. They are held for 3 days and then tied to the wall in the kill room, forced to watch others die before them. The ONLY comfort item they are given is a Kuranda. For the workers to intentionally ruin that just guts me.

      1. Memphis seems like such a dark corner of the world sometimes, as if they’re completely isolated and out of touch with how people do things in other places. I know of a shelter that turns down offers of kuranda beds because they say the indoor runs are too small for them–and that’s sad for the dogs there who only get a blanket on hard concrete. But I’ve never heard of a shelter where the workers are so lazy they would rather cut a hole in a bed to drain the urine (and destroy it in the process) that take time to clean it! Makes me wonder if there’s any hope for that place at all.

      2. I know Jeanne. I just can not understand why Matt Pepper or SOMEONE does not announce at a morning meeting: “All that stupid and inhumane stuff you guys have been doing stops NOW” – and then enforces it w/write-ups for violations. What’s the controversy about writing someone up for grabbing the skin on the back of cat, dragging a dog in a chokepole, or vandalizing community donations out of laziness? Why aren’t they doing this?

      3. Write ups aren’t that easy. In both the corporate and government world, they have to be approved and signed off on by at least the supervisor and the supervisor’s supervisor before being given to the employee. This is to protect both the employee and the supervisor. I’ve been in Matt Pepper’s situation with an unsupportive boss. I was also told if I fired anyone or anyone left, they would not be replaced. I finally fired the only person I could -myself. I wasn’t replaced even those I was the head person. Someone was promoted to do my job and still do his too!!

      4. It’s just impossible for me to get my brain around this whole situation. Either they are all incredibly stupid/callous or they simply do not care. And my vote is that they and will not make any changes unless they are held accountable. That will take leadership from the director and the city administration and they surely haven’t stepped up yet.

        It’s getting harder and harder to read this and see the photos.


      5. patience – I’d hardly let them off the hook that easily given the history. When we saw a cat being hanged by the neck in tongs, Matt Pepper said the cat was not being hanged by the neck in tongs and that this was a correct use of tongs. If the person in charge of enforcement is in total denial, I’m not inclined to blame bureaucracy for the failure to improve.

      6. I’m not letting them off the hook. Things need to change and change badly.. But this is the reality of what is RIGHT NOW. To say it’s Matt Pepper’s fault they’re not written up is not necessarily the whole truth. And how many have been written up? We’ll never know. Personnel records are not public records.

        And db, there are some that do care. A few are bad, a lot are burned out. Christie Keith’s column on MAS has a lot of truth in it. The ones that care are the hope of that place. The shame is that those are the ones no one hears about. But they hang on to their sanity in whatever way they can to do their job to protect the people and animals of Memphis. They push for change where they have power to change. I don’t know how they manage to go there every day, but they do. They don’t quit.
        They’re not all evil,felons who love killing animals. The vast majority of them are none of those things. That’s one reason I spend my time here annoying you guys. Even if I’m not heard, I’m going to keep on saying it as long as I can.;

  8. I volunteered for 28 hours this month at the Humaine Society and all of the Karunda beds that I saw had a material that is easy to clean and waterproof there is no reason to put holes in them

  9. @patience –
    What will it take to get these folks to at least treat the animals humanely and to kill them “humanely” (if that’s possible)? I’m not even talking no-kill at this point (although I would love to see them all in homes). This place is a cesspool of corruption and neglect/abuse and no one in Memphis (save a few) seem to want to do anything to fix it? Please don’t talk about the poverty levels/high crime/etc.

    Treating animals with kindness and compassion, allowing them to die with dignity and without unnecessary suffering cost nothing!
    And now to see these Kuranda beds with holes cut, just to make it “easier” to “clean” them is another really stupid thing. Ask the community to support MAS with donations and then deliberately ruin them.


    1. I wrote a huge reply and my computer just rolled its eyes.

      So in short, MAS cannot be fixed by Mayor Wharton, web cams, blogs or audits. Well maybe it can be “fixed” for a while by some of this, but it needs to be a forever fix.

      It has to be fixed by the community wanting it fixed. They all have to know they are stakeholders in this issue. I can get all the volunteers in the world and offer free house to house s/n, but I can’t make people do it. They have to want it(Our MSN is most definitely not mandatory BTW; it’s only a secondary offense). You can not MAKE us understand; you can only help us find the means to.

      There are plenty of people in Memphis who want change. Many work behind the scenes or not in the or not in the light of day at all (some of us would not be considered as acceptable advocates). Some are turned off by all the rhetoric, and vilification of and by both sides. If I weren’t so used to beating my head against brick walls ( and I don’t believe you’re all loonies or radical zealots either), I’d have been so offended by some of the things I’ve read here I’d have left y’all alone long ago.

      I believe in Memphis even with all its uglies. There are wonderful people here and some of them know that if we can heal the shelter, it may be a start to healing the city. But it is OUR decision and we and our animals will be the ones who have to live with the consequences, be they good or bad. No one could possibly want change more than I, and I hope this is the start.

      Well this is another huge reply. Sorry

      1. So . . . since we aren’t local, we just give up and go away? I agree that there has to be an initiative from those in the community. I’m glad that there are people who want change, and are working to make it happen. However, every day animals are suffering and dying because of what’s happening right now.

        And that’s a hard thing for me to stomach.

      2. DON”T GO AWAY!!!!!!

        You have resources, knowledge, ideas we can use. Almost everyone of you would have your butts down here helping if you could. I actually said I’d trust you with my animals on a comment to a LTTE on the CA That’s the highest compliment I can give and it was painful giving it, but it’s the truth.

        But you guys don’t listen. I didn’t say go away. I said help us. But help us by treating us as a group of sentient, sort of intelligent human beings. Do you listen to people when they spend a lot of time calling all of you and yours bad names if you don’t agree with them? Our government may be corrupt and self-serving , but there aren’t very many out there these days that are much better.

        We’re a city of human beings. If you call me a thug or a killing apologist because I’m a Memphian, I just remember you’re all Caucasian activists (that is a joke, please) and don’t know any better. The people in Memphis do not find that funny. You lose people who would gladly advocate for you and/or the animals that way.

        I’ve tried to treat you all as intelligent people and go after your actions and not yourselves (I’ve slipped sometimes and I apologize for that. My mama brought me up better).

        All I ask is that you remember that we are people too. And that in the end, Memphis will rise or fall on the decisions of those who live here.

        If you won’t listen to anything else I say, please listen to this.

        Thank you.

      3. I don’t call you or anyone else a thug or a killing apologist because you are a Memphian. There are individuals in Memphis who qualify, in my view, and I have and will continue to call them out as I deem appropriate. But I’ve been clear from the start that my belief is that MOST Memphians are caring individuals who want to see the pets in their community cared for and not killed. I’ve said many times that the majority of people in Memphis are the solution, not the problem. There are some out there who are saying bad things about the people of Memphis in a blanket statement type of way but i am not one of them. And I’ve called them out for doing so when I’ve come across it.

      4. @shirley
        But what if I’m a “friend” ? Or I defend one? What if I work for the city government or at the shelter or MPD? The media in Memphis? You’ve” called out” all of them at one time or another, not as individuals, but as entire groups. They don’t exist in a vacuum. They are MEMPHIANS. When you insult them, you insult me. I am not any of them (poor and unemployed instead), but they are my people. Good, bad, and ugly: I’m more than happy to “call them out” as individuals and for their actions. But not for being who they are.

      5. With all due respect, Patience, “it is OUR decision”…well, if not now, WHEN?

  10. @patience –
    again, I ask you what it will take to change MAS for the betterment of the animals and people who work there?

    1. Patience: You tell me how I can help YOU to get your fellow caring Memphians to stand up and rally behind this issue, and even though I am poor as dirt, I will drive to Memphis and help. You tell me: what needs to be done? Pamphlets? I will get them printed and get them to you, but do you have people willing to go to parking lots and up to people’s doors and hand them a pamplet and explain how much their tax money is going down the toilet? How NKE could work in your city? If the answer is YES – I have an ARMY ready to do so, email me privately and tell me what kind of info is needed, or tell us all here at the blog what is needed…if YOU are willing to take the bullshit by the horns (huh?) then we are ready to support you and your armies. Really, I mean it.

      1. I have just a few minutes before I get kicked off.
        First, convince us that you really are not loonies, zealots or a bunch of kooky women who hate Memphis. We listen better then.
        Then debate. You want No-Kill, tell us why it’s better for Memphis than the options. Be prepared to discuss NK shelters that have failed and why. Let people know how bad other shelters are and that y’all are not just picking on our city because of “whatever” (any reason people can choose).

        Don’t bring an army. We still remember the last time that happened and plenty here still resent. Bring yourselves and let people see that you are actually a lot like us.

        Bout to get kicked off, YB has my email but I won’t be able to check till Mon AM. Thanks for asking Morgana
        And thank you to YB for posting what I say.

      2. You lost me at “convince us you’re not crazy women”. You’ve got us sunk before we’re out the gate. No one can convince anyone they’re not crazy. Hello Salem Witch Trials. Prove to us you’re not a witch by either drowning in this pool of water or not drowning, in which case we’ll know you’re a witch and will burn you at the stake.

        Anyone truly interested in reform is not going to approach the situation from this standpoint. It takes normal people (which is MOST everyone), willing to discuss ideas and do the work to implement changes. In theory (since I have no indication that anyone seriously wants to talk about reform), I would welcome most everyone to the table save for those who engage in criminal stalking activity, animal abuse and similar aberrant behavior.

      3. @Morgana
        I am sorry I left you such a hurried and horrible reply. I should never try to type, much less think under time constraints. I was going to try to do a better one this morning, but after reading all the comments – well, I guess wordless comes the closest, I apologize, you deserve a real answer to your question (I thank you for asking it), but I can’t find a thing to say.

        godspeed yesbiscuit – thank you for the extreme latitude. I hope I haven’t abused it too much or too often.,

        take care of yourselves – while I hope the City of Memphis kicks your collective asses to the curb and lets us make our own decisions, I wish each of you nothing but the best in your personal lives.


      4. Your comment implies the city of Memphis is listening to our concerns, engaging us in discussion, and including us in reform efforts. If that is the case, I missed the memo. AFAIK, our asses have been on the curb the entire time.

        As I have said repeatedly, it is up to the people of Memphis to fix MAS. I am ready, willing and able to lend support from afar. When someone decides to step up and engage the city in a political campaign to reform MAS, please let me know and give me a job to do. I want you to succeed Memphis, just let me know how I can help.

  11. Yes, I’m afraid patience has shown repeatedly that she is interested in SEEMING interested, but will not actually get behind promoting No Kill. That’s my opinion, anyway. She is resentful of people criticizing something in HER city (as if we all live in perfect places and no one should analyze them or say there is anything wrong), but covers it up instead of admitting it. She won’t take a stand for No Kill, she is too caught up in the rest of the denial of some Memphians. Instead of thinking about the animals and really believing that saving their lives is a terrific goal, now that she is put on the spot she backpedals with comments about No Kill being “crazy ladies”. I guess that proves she does not know about Nathan Winograd, Mike Fry, Ryan Clinton and other men (some of them are lawyers, Patience, I guess you didn’t really bother to find out about this movement),nor does she REALLY know the facts about the No Kill shelters that exist. And she probably doesn’t want to, wouldn’t have the personality to take this kind of a stand. Perhaps Patience has too much of it (patience) to do anything. You can be so patient with the status quo that you don’t really bother to participate in changing it. She is a waste of time as a contact in Memphis, you need someone with more drive and more guts and more curiousity about finding out what the turmoil is actually about. Anyone serious about it would already know the founders, the history, the facts about the No Kill shelters, the steps in the No Kill Equation, etc.

  12. Patience, it seems that you are much more interested in defending Memphians than taking an honest, objective look at your city and the people who live there. We are not bad people here, but we are also not willing to say “oh well, they live in Memphis so they get a pass for . . . (fill in the blank).” There are situations in Memphis (for both humans and animals) that need to be faced and dealt with unless you are happy with the way things are. Admitting what is really happening is the first step toward change.

    I’m sorry that you feel the way you do, but I will never apologize for caring about people and animals and doing whatever I can to help them. If you want to call me a looney or crazy, go for it. I can look myself in the mirror in the morning and feel comfortable knowing who I am and what I am doing to try and make this world a better place. I hope that you are able to do the same.

    1. AMEN db. I can look at myself in the mirror each day and, bad hair aside, say “You go girl”. I can sleep at night (lifelonginsomnia aside) because I know each day I have done what I can to make the world a better place, that I have tried and reached out to other people whom I don’t even know (are you listening Patience?) to help make THEIR lives better. If that’s kooky then call me a kook. If that’s crazy, then call me crazy. If that means you’d rather live in de Nile, then feel free to do so. Alonze mes enfants!

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