Although Memphis Animal Services does offer a small percentage of its dogs to the public for adoption, most of the dogs are kept behind closed doors. They are either taken directly to the kill room upon intake or held for a few days in a cage in the stray area and then killed. They are not taken for walks. They are not touched by humans. They are not even removed from their cages when the workers come around with the hose.
And so, when I look at the dog in this shot, I have little hope. I know that most likely, he is feeling the sun on his face for the very last time. Most likely, he will be killed by those who are supposed to be protecting him from harm, never having been offered for adoption. To my mind, it’s abuse and betrayal and should be prosecutable under the law.
And this will continue. The abuse and the betrayal and the killing will go on, unabated, until someone in Memphis does something to stop it. I believe with all my heart that someone will. The only thing I don’t know is how many more pets must get sucked into the black hole that is MAS before that happens – 100? 1000? 10,000? It could be zero – if someone in Memphis decided that this moment is the moment they are stepping up to wage a political campaign to force the city to reform MAS.
In Austin, the local pound was needlessly killing the community’s pets and animal advocates were horrified and outraged. One of those advocates wanted to do something. He was an appellate attorney with an extremely demanding schedule and most people would understand if he said, “It’s not me”. Another taught remedial reading to special ed students in the poorest area of Austin. A third was battling a terminal illness. All three had their own pets to care for as well as commitments to their foster pets. On the face of it, they were three individuals who simply didn’t have the time to wage a political campaign against the city to force the shelter to reform. But while acknowledging the demands of their daily lives, they also realized that if they didn’t step up, no one else would. Maybe no single one of them had sufficient time to devote to fighting for the community’s pets but if they coordinated their efforts, it would mean someone was doing something. And that was infinitely better than no one doing anything. They had nothing to lose and everything to gain for the homeless pets in Austin. And they did something.
If you are a Memphis resident who wishes someone would do something to stop the killing at MAS, I hate to be the one to break it to you but that someone is you. There are no doubt, very good reasons why people would understand if you said, “It’s not me”. You probably have personal commitments and/or a job, etc. It would be ideal if someone came along who said, “I have no job, no pets, no friends, no family, no health issues, no financial concerns, no personal commitments and all I want to do is reform MAS.” Please let me know if that person contacts you.
In the meantime I would ask you this – Do you have any time to devote to waging a political campaign for reform? Because if you do, that would be more than what the pets in Memphis have right now. And there may be several people who each have some time to give and would be willing to form a coalition with you. In which case, someone would be doing something. And I know a blogger who would give you all kinds of support, just for starters.