What is happening in the effort to reform the Memphis pound? As far as I know, nothing. While I am hopeful that there is in fact meaningful work being done of which I am unaware, it pains me to know that may not be the case. That is not to say that there is no one doing anything at all. Indeed there are kind-hearted people working to save what few pets they can from MAS and others, such as those who attended the recent advisory board meeting, who are trying to give voice to the homeless pets in Memphis. All of these efforts are valuable and I am very grateful for them. But they are not change. They are status quo.
Like so many other communities, Memphis is spinning its wheels in the Save a Few, Kill the Rest, Blame the Public ditch. The city leaders who either sit idly by or actively defend the pound’s regressive and barbaric practices are enablers. Concerned citizens who accept excuses such as, “We’re trying but we just can’t do it” are enablers. This is a very comfortable position for MAS to be in – surrounded by enablers and easily resisting change. Human nature tends toward comfortable positions.
But unlike most other pet killing facilities, MAS has a vacancy in the director position. Historically, we know that this is the moment that real change can occur. Because leadership is everything. When Washoe Co brought in Bonney Brown, the killing began to end. When Tompkins Co brought in Nathan Winograd, the killing began to end. When Austin brought in Dr. Ellen Jefferson, the killing began to end. Is there any reason Memphis couldn’t be added to this list? No, there isn’t. But if Memphis isn’t added to this list, it will be because compassionate locals did not step up and demand it. And that would be a tragedy.
Will anyone in Memphis stand up and take the lead on engaging the mayor in a political campaign to reform MAS? We’ve already established there would be lots of support locally and nationwide for this effort but we still lack the person willing to do it. Will anyone step forward and make their voice heard in the hiring of a compassionate director at MAS who is committed to bringing the killing to an end? The time is now. This is a chance to effect meaningful change but without leadership, the opportunity will be squandered and there will likely be another sorry excuse installed as director. From there, it will be Save a Few, Kill the Rest, Blame the Public. The enablers can stay in their positions of comfort and the pets will continue to suffer and die as a result. Memphis needs one person willing to lead a campaign for reform and one director committed to saving lives. With that, the whole nightmare ends.
I know you are out there. The only thing I don’t know is, what are you waiting for?