Starving for Love

A dog in the stray area at MAS, apparently being taken to the kill room.

The stray area at MAS was designated off limits to adopters by former director Matthew Pepper.  Even though Mr. Pepper quit, the city has kept the dogs in the stray area locked away from the public.  These dogs have no chance of being adopted or even of receiving a loving touch from a compassionate member of the public.  They are kept in cages for their allotted time, never being taken outside for exercise, socialization and fresh air, forced to stay in their kennels when the workers come around with the hose, and ultimately, unless they are among the lucky few selected for the adoption hallway, are killed.

Once the city moves to the new facility and kills the public’s access to the webcams, these dogs – hundreds on any given day – will suffer and die at MAS in complete anonymity.  Exactly how the city wants it.  But until that day arrives, I will keep sharing their photos and calling MAS out for forcing pets to suffer, not allowing the public in to see and touch and fall in love with these dogs, and killing pets needlessly.  They don’t deserve to be hidden away and killed in secrecy.  They deserve to be touched by loving hands.  They deserve clean food and water.  They deserve a backyard and a big bone.  They deserve to live.

Memphis, please – stop the killing.

21 thoughts on “Starving for Love

  1. I understand that area was locked well before Matthew Pepper was at the shelter. That “policy” has been in place for quite a while according to several people in Memphis.

    Do the animals not get clean food and water? Can someone get the records on how much the food the shelter uses in a week or month? Are workers seen feeding the dogs on camera or is it hit and miss with the food. Are they ever on camera filling water buckets or whatever they use? I don’t have time to watch the cameras, but wondering if anyone ever sees feeding and water changing.

    Someone or group watching the cams should keep screen grabs for 24 hours with no feeding and water changing or filling. Now that would help a whole lot.

    1. Yeah they get fresh water…every time someone decides to actually clean the shelter then the dogs get hosed too!

    2. Your information is wrong on that Sarah. It was Mr. Pepper who instituted that policy. There was an article in the local paper about it at the time.

  2. Sarah, the food and water issue is part of the cleaning process. We’ve seen it time and again – fresh food is put in the dish, fresh water in the bowl, then the cage (with dog in it) are hosed down with high pressure sprayers, contaminating the food, the water, and the dog with urine/feces.

    It does not have to be this way. It never had to be this way. Common sense would dictate that you do NOT put fresh food and water in BEFORE you spray down the cage. But common sense is not the rule of the day at MAS. Like compassion, it seems to be at the bottom of the priority list.

    1. Thank you for explaining that mikken. I will put up a post to illustrate in case there is anyone else like Sarah who is wondering about that issue.

      1. I have seen them fill the water bowls while hosing the kennels down.. I’ve never seen the water bowls removed and washed. They get food after the workers have lunch.

      2. and I’ve also seen them remove a dog.. take it to the kill room and then put another dog in the same kennel without cleaning it

  3. There is no excuse for this. There are already policies written to tell everyone at the shelter how to do their job’s properly. If the shelter doesn’t want to train them then they should at least make it required reading material for employees. But it’s not like they have to re-invent the wheel here. It’s already been done. They just have to actually use the material. Well, and have a director that is willing to actually DIRECT.

    You know I’ve done nothing but thought about MAS for months now. I find myself watching webcams at MAS more than I ever watch TV. I cry almost every day & night over what I see. While I understand that we will probably always have shelters that do kill animals – I just really want (more than anything) to see some compassion towards the animals. They have one ACO that I actually find myself watching with enjoyment. The guy brings the dogs in – and I have NEVER seen him have ONE pancaked dog! Not one! Every single dog he brings in walks with him and goes into the cage with no problems. He even pets it and normally gives it a good scratch down before latching the kennel. I always see him make sure there is food and water for the dog. And every time I see him I can’t help but think that he doesn’t spend any more time with the dogs than other ACO’s – seriously I have timed him! But the time he does spend with them is spent reassuring the dogs, by giving them attention. Instead of wasting time finding a choke pole and “catching” the dog, then dragging it around teh shelter I can’t help but think how much happier the dogs would be (not to mention the job) if just a tiny bit of what that ONE ACO does spread amongst the rest of the employees.

    I find myself wondering if the employees don’t care OR were never trained correctly. At the end of the day it all comes down to leadership – if the Director isn’t doing his job it shows in employee performance. You know the whole crap travels downhill thing? So while Mayor Wharton and FoMAS tooted Pepper’s horn continually about how wonderful he was, and what a great job he did….his track record has followed him from shelter to shelter – with minimal to no changes. (What ever happened to him, by the way?) While I understand that MAS was horrible under it’s previous director (Alexander) – and I truly DO think Mayor Wharton *thought* he was doing a good thing hiring Pepper – I find myself praying that the next Director (whoever it ends up being) that he or she can be the leader that MAS needs.

    Obviously the Memphis city government is sick and tired of being picked on because of MAS and the issues…and I keep thinking how easily that can be fixed. Just hire the right person – and right now I think the right person is ANYBODY that has a true love of animals AND doesn’t have the shelter experience that the job description requires – new blood! Don’t get me wrong I am sure there are qualified folk that DO have the experience, but with some of the *light* that has been shined upon MAS in the past few years are they willing to leave the comfy position they currently possess for a possibility that might not work out…..Sorry I started thinking and this all just came out. I’ll shut up now! LOL

  4. I adopted a big, black street dog from the stray area….shortly before the public was locked out. Matt Pepper instituted the “locked door rule.” So, I know there are adoptable dogs behind locked doors. He has become a bigger, wonderful, loving and well loved PET! When we do get a new director I hope that he or she is not a “yes man” as Matthew Pepper was. The union employees are so well protected that there is no firing or changing them. With very few exceptions anyone working there now should go! If anyone can tell me how all of the people that work there or volunteer there could stand by and watch dogs, not just the sad JUSTICE, starve to death, when an $8K reward will not get any one to talk or tell what happened to KAPONE, when cruel, heartless treatment and killing continue year after year, when Mayor Wharton, Janet Hooks, Matt Pepper and ALL OF THE REST OF THEM know the what’s and the why’s and continue the the same horrible atrocities year after year….I might reconsider and let one of them stay. These employees and volunteers know what is happening and will not tell the truth. I have never needed money or a job bad enough to work in, not only a killing field, but a dungeon that revels in atrocities being perpetuated on the most helpless, hopeless among us and I will assure you I have worked all my life in many jobs….so I always needed to earn a living!

  5. Ann, you just talked about the workers that are protected by the Union. I wonder how the Union feels about when “Union” workers abuse animals in front of a camera? I’m not really familiar with the Union setup in Memphis (I’m far away in MD) but did anybody in Memphis at one point try to contact the Union itself to make them aware of what the “Union workers” are actually doing in that Shelter?

    1. The union is the one who requested the city remove the cameras. If that answers your question about how they feel about their members being caught on tape abusing pets.

      1. Ah yes, that says it all. Thank you. So let’s see, we have a Mayor, City Council, Union and Shelter Management plus employees who are all accepting and/or participating in animal neglect and abuse.

      2. Shirley – do we have any update on what’s going on with the TN AG in regards to MAS? I have tried to find something online and have not been very successful….

  6. Are there any large-scale active movements currently underway in Memphis to change how the animals are treated at MAS? I’ve been following 3 dogs in Everett, PA, who have been chained to trees for 9+ years. Through a concerted effort and new involvement by the HS in that area, one of the dogs has FINALLY been removed and placed in a foster home. The leadership there is corrupt and laws are sorely lacking. But, after nearly a year, things are beginning to happen.

    Unfortunately, it has to be continuous ongoing pressure to effect any change or have hopes of it. Sporadic movements tend to be blown off. It’s hard to find enough people to have that type of commitment, but nothing less will bring the results. I just wondered if anything is in the works in Memphis?

  7. Just to clarify …

    The stray area was ALWAYS open to the public before Pepper became director.

    Locks were put on the doors of the stray area in 2007 or 2008 – BUT, the public could still GO in the stray area and look at the dogs there. They just had to be ‘accompanied’ by an employee or volunteer. Now, I think that ‘policy’ was also ludicrous, but that can be worked on after the total ban of the public in that area is changed.

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