Updated X 3: Memphis, Please Don’t Kill This Dog

Dog #233616 at MAS is wanted.  But the city is considering denying her a chance to live a normal, happy life.  The city attorney is currently reviewing the dog’s case and deciding if she will be released to us or to anyone at all.  They are using the observations of the behaviorist we sent to MAS against the dog.  The behaviorist was unable to perform an evaluation due to the dog’s state and so did not charge us.  She did however e-mail us her observations from outside the cage.  Unfortunately, she thought she was evaluating a pet because we did not know the dog was feral then.  So she was trying to form an opinion on “adoptability” as a companion animal which we now know is not an issue.  The behaviorist’s observations from outside the cage as to the dog’s adoptability are invalid because MAS failed to disclose this was a feral dog.   Once Mr. Andrews finally disclosed the dog was feral we sought out, and found, an offer of sanctuary for her with feral dog rehabbers.

We have more than one offer for sanctuary for her from qualified, experienced feral dog rehabbers.  They are insured and will sign whatever waiver the city requires in taking full responsibility for the dog.  There is no liability for the city in releasing this dog.

She is wanted.  Please let us save her life.

Update, October 28, 2011:  The assistant city attorney says she will make a decision by the end of the day Monday regarding Mari.  We do not know if Mari has been eating while she’s been at MAS but we are concerned about the extreme level of stress she’s endured since she was first dragged down the hall by a noose around her neck there.  It is not unusual for feral dogs to refuse food when captured due to their extreme anxiety.  Keeping her trapped inside the kennel at MAS for another 4 days seems needlessly cruel to me.  Rescuers are willing to save Mari’s life.  Why is the city determined to prolong this dog’s emotional suffering while they decide whether or not they are going to kill her?

Update #2:  All of the sudden and without explanation, MAS has told us we need to pick up the dog before closing today.  So apparently we are now back in scramble mode.  Yay.  Can anyone in Memphis drop what they are doing and get down to MAS to pull the dog?  There would be no handling of the dog whatsoever.  Just put shavings in the crate and leave her in the crate.

I am getting whiplash from having my chain yanked.

Update #3:  A reader contacted MAS.  They are closing and Mari is still there so she is safe for tonight.  A rescuer will be there when they open tomorrow to bail her out.  From there, we are working out details for transport.  I will of course keep you posted.

Thank you to the boots on the ground rescuers in Memphis, Tammy in KY (sorry for stepping on your toes with both my huge feet!), the many readers who have made very generous efforts and offers on behalf of Mari, the experts who gave me emergency advice and special thank you to Steve Markwell for walking me through this and advocating for Mari as if she was loved by lots of people and must be saved.  She is and she will be.

110 thoughts on “Updated X 3: Memphis, Please Don’t Kill This Dog

  1. Sorry to hear the City Atty got involved. Hope she still has a chance. After seeing this photo, I don’t think she’s a Carolina dog after all but maybe a lab mix. Very pretty girl.

  2. I respectfully ask the City Attorney to release this dog.

    The treatment she has received so far has been inappropriate and inhumane. Her status as a feral animal must be taken into consideration with handling and housing. We have groups who can do that and they are ready to take her.

  3. Question: How did the city attorney get involved in the feral dog getting released to sanctuary or not? Is this city attorney involved in all of the other adoptions and rescue pulls? If not, why this one dog?

  4. Because Glenn Andrews and Tracy Dunlap know they lied and they’re trying to cover themselves. Someone said this might be their breaking point and I hope to God it is. They’re going to try and sell us another lie about liabilities. Wait and see.

    1. You bet. When I wrote to the Flyer and ABC TV, I provided contact info for Steve Markwell at OAS. He knows all about how cities use liability issues to condemn dogs unnecessarily.

  5. I’ve written some urgent emails to news people and left a VM at the Memphis Flyer. I recommend that readers in Memphis follow up with immediate phone calls to the ABC station that has provided coverage of the shelter issues previously. Calling the newsroom is the best way to get attention in time for the 11 news.

    Newsroom: 901-321-7668

    I think a journalist would be in a good position to get hold of the city attorney this evening (at home if necessary) and ask if they really are going to kill this poor frightened dog. Probably a good idea to include the dog’s ID # 233616.

    The email address for Jeni DiPrizio, the ABC reporter who has covered the shelter, is jdiprizio@abc24.com.

    1. Tammy, if you personally know anybody who’s at the vigil (not sure of the time it’s taking place) and is reachable by cell phone . . . and if TV or other media are covering the vigil . . . please call them and ask them to approach the journalists immediately and explain that MAS is threatening to kill a frightened feral dog that has a sanctuary waiting to take her, and give them the dog’s ID # 233616 to give to the reporter/s. The vigil attendee/s could ask the reporter/s to call the city attorney tonight and ask if they really are planning to unnecessarily execute a dog that has a placement, with liability coverage that would protect the city.

  6. I do not have cell phone numbers, but I posted the link to this page on their fb wall. That is why I knew about the vigil.

  7. Holding a candlelight vigil is a GREAT idea! Hopefully someone will video it so we can post it on YouTube, FB, Google+, etc. If we can just get some attention to the ongoing situation at MAS, maybe the publicity will finally push this over the edge.

    I wish I could be there–I live in Clarksville and work in Nashville–but I support the cause 100%! Thank you all, whoever is out there tonight!

  8. I hate to see dogs and cats treated like trash to throw out. So very Sad.

    Death Row is the final end… It’s the point of no return where there is no light at the end of the tunnel. It’s the ultimate place if you’re not adopted. It’s where innocence is punishable by Death when they have no advocate to adopt them…

      1. Name her Mari (short for mariposa) which means butterfly in spanish. This dog has the potential to metmorphose from a terrified animal hiding under a bed into a happy, beautiful creature

  9. Looking at the picture makes me want to cry at the thought of losing her . . .

    How about Precious? (for she truly is)

  10. Darrell the feral, also has a sister by the name of Darrell.

    I should of been there, was planning on being there, thought I would be, but was busy in the land of nod. By the time I woke up… I missed the boat. I just hope the vigil served it’s purpose, made things happen, brought hope to others & will in some way stop the killing.

  11. THIS DOG HAS A RIGHT TO LIVE!! How DARE someone think they “know best” when there are expert facilities willing to take her?

  12. I’m sitting here with two computers viewing the shelter cams. Been at this since 5:30 am est..( All but for an hour to got eat) They appear to be moving some of the animals out of the building, so I’m watching the camera where the dog was last known to be.

      1. I can watch all cameras at the same time and always do when I’m on the site. Need to keep an eye out on them, that’s for sure. They disappear sometimes but can track the goings on pretty good.

  13. Sick to my stomach, migraines and anxiety galore. WHY did this have turn into such a battle? All we want to do his help the dog.

    1. Tammy.. me too.. my heart is pounding so hard.. I can’t stop crying.. I have a headache.. I have to stop watching .. I’ve been sitting here since 8:00 am est.. 16+ dogs dead.. AC brought in 6. their treatment is no better. Dogs that were killed.. the new dogs went into those kennels without being cleaned.. this is discuss-ting. No wonder animals get sick.

      I’m off for a while.. so far.. Mari may still be alive… I hope so.

  14. If they don’t allow this dog to be rescued by someone who is obviously qualified to do so, it speaks volumes to the underlying problem at MAS: they do not care about the animals. It already appears that way anyway, but not allowing this dog to live would confirm our worst fears. Unfortunately, once they move to the new facility, opportunities to truly help any of the animals who need it most will go away. And that’s a crime.

  15. Let me tell you about feral dogs. Beverly King trapped my dog Cocoa from the grassy area off the expressway on Union Ave. This dog did not even know she was a dog. She did not even bark. Beverly trapped her & took her to my vet who quaranti…ned her until I could get off work. Took her home and crated her. She was so frightened that night, I though for certain it would be in her best interest to be put down. Well, then we took her to the backyard & let our Terrier from MAS meet her. They bonded. Maggie showed her how to be a dog. How people were there to love her and pet her. Maggie sat. Cocoa sat. Maggie barked. Cocoa barked. Maggie got petted. Cocoa got petted. Maggie ran. Cocoa ran. Maggie was the PERFECT dog to introduce this wild dog to the world of love and companionship. Now, Cocoa is a domesticated dog, because of one dog that showed her how to be a dog. If they kill this dog because it is a feral dog, they are murdering for the sake of killing. Feral Dogs can be made to be the very best companions ever. My Cocoa is living proof of a miracle. This whole situation saddens me deeply. The happenings at Memphis Animal Services continues to amaze and depress me. Dear God, what can we do to make them HUMAN? Introduce them to my Maggie Miracle Worker??

  16. By the end of the day MONDAY? What is the delay? Why continue to subject this dog to the torture of inappropriate housing (this is a FERAL dog, special considerations need to be taken)?

    How long have they held this dog already?

      1. How do they even explain that? They take highly adoptable puppies straight from the lobby to the kill room, but torture a feral dog with more than two weeks of confinement???

        I would chalk it up to incompetent management, but it looks a hell of a lot like intentional cruelty.

    1. Dot, I don’t see where you put in a request for chore time. I have not authorized this absence. Remain at your station! If necessary, you may do your chores during your authorized bathroom break from 1:00am to 1:01am.

      -The Management

  17. The games they play! I call it posturing. How do we even know Mari isn’t already dead? I originally thought Mari was in the end kennel but last night ACO put a smaller dog in that end kennel. Before that there was a lot of activity back there….in the dark.

    1. I saw the guy with the gray hair taunting the dog in the kennel next to the end, then he went into the slot area between the kennels.. he stayed there for a while…

    1. Well, they’re back from lunch, aren’t they?

      If the new shelter has so much space (and we already have empty cages here), why are they killing any animals at all?

  18. For anyone who would like to contact the media about this, I am posting below a template of the email I sent to two media outlets. Here are addresses for media that have not yet responded — I have included phone numbers as well as email contacts:

    ABC24 TV
    Jeni DiPrizio: jdiprizio@abc24.com
    Please cc: the newsroom: newsdesk@abc24.com

    Commercial Appeal
    Newsroom 901-529-2322
    Email to newsroom (it’s an online form you fill out and submit):
    Phone for John Stamm, Executive News Editor: 901-529-2541
    Email contact form for John Stamm:
    Phone for Michael Rabkin, News Editor: 901-529-2249
    Email contact form for Michael Rabkin:

    Fox13 TV
    News Desk: (901) 320-1340
    Email: news@myfoxmemphis.com


    Dear Mr./Ms. _______,

    I have followed your coverage of Memphis Animal Services with interest, even though I live in _______. I am a reader of YesBiscuit!, the blog that has been so critical of MAS in recent months. I have been following (and trying to help with) a desperate effort that Shirley Thistlethwaite, writer of the blog, is undertaking to save the life of a feral dog at the shelter.

    Shirley has been trying to help this dog since the middle of the month, when she posted these pictures of the terrified dog flat on the floor, being dragged into the shelter on a chokepole:


    The shelter withheld the vital information that the dog is feral. Once they finally disclosed this critical information, Shirley’s effort changed from trying to get the dog out and adopted, to getting her out and placed in a sanctuary.

    Her effort has involved people from all over the country, starting with this post on Tuesday:


    and continuing yesterday with this post:


    and then this one:


    Glenn Andrews at MAS had threatened to kill the dog (ID # 233616) if she was not out of the shelter by the end of the day yesterday. Now the city attorney is going to decide by the end of the day on Monday whether the dog will be released or killed — even though there is more than one offer to place her in a sanctuary. And the city is using the observations of a behaviorist that Shirley herself arranged for, which will work against the dog — because at the time the evaluation was done, the shelter had failed to disclose that the dog was feral, which would have completely altered the evaluating behaviorist’s frame of reference. (These kinds of assessments should not be done on feral dogs at all; they are unadoptable and belong in sanctuaries.)

    Even worse, the city attorney is the person who threatened Shirley with a SLAPP suit a few months ago in response to her efforts to raise money for the care of animals rescued from MAS. So this dog’s chances of escaping the needle are very, very poor.

    It’s worth noting that there is a question of why the city attorney has become involved in this particular dog’s fate. To my knowledge, he is not involved with decisions about individual animals at MAS. Given his previous threat of a SLAPP suit against Shirley, one can’t help but wonder if the shelter is taking punitive action against this individual dog (that is, involving the city attorney in a way that’s likely to condemn the dog to death unnecessarily) in order to punish Shirley, who has criticized MAS so many times. Another explanation could be that Glenn Andrews is providing cover for himself for having withheld the information that the dog is feral.

    Regardless of their motives, it is fundamentally unjust for the city attorney to use the assessment attempted by the behaviorist that Shirley arranged for. Had the shelter disclosed what kind of dog she was, the assessment never would have been undertaken in the first place, and the effort to save the dog would have unfolded much faster — and been successful.

    My own prediction is that the city attorney will claim that the city would face liability if they let the dog go to a sanctuary. Please know that this is not true. Steve Markwell, founder of Olympic Animal Sanctuary, in Forks, Washington, could tell you a lot about how cities use claims of potential liability in order to needlessly condemn dogs. Markwell is the founder of Olympic Animal Sanctuary in Forks, Washington, and offered assistance with transferring this dog out of the shelter and finding placement for her. He is an expert in feral dog handling and rehabilitation and has taken in dogs from all over the country. If you are interested in his perspective, the best way to get hold of him is to use the sanctuary’s emergency phone number, 360-320-OLYMPIC (6596), and leave a message. The page from their website that speaks to placement, and their expertise, is here:


    Thank you for reading this. It has been painful to watch this story develop and to see how hard it is to save just one dog from MAS, despite the efforts of so many people. This single incident makes it clear what shelter reformers are up against all over the country. I hope you will take an interest in this fast-developing, and very time-critical, situation involving an innocent dog that should — and still could — be saved.

    BTW, although the shelter still refers to the dog as ID # 233616, YesBiscuit!’s readers have named the dog Mari, short for mariposa, which means “butterfly” in Spanish. They (we, since I am one of them) believe that this lovely dog has the potential to metamorphose from a terrified animal hiding under a bed into a happy, beautiful creature. It’s pronounced Mah-ri.


    (Your name)

      1. Someone please please get this poor girl out….faster than fast. It can’t be done soon enough.

      1. Yes, Steve Markwell from OAS has been helping us quite a lot. He is reaching out to his FB fans to see if anyone in Memphis can get to MAS before 5pm.

    1. They’ve apparently run into some issues that are slowing things down:

      She’s alive for now, and our offer is on the table. It’s likely to end up taking more than the remainder of the day to be resolved, so we no longer have need of transport today. She will not be released now unless the city attorneys OK it. Frankly, this is never good news. We hope the attorneys make the right decision, however they are basing it on a temperament test that was conducted without the knowledge that the dog was feral. As shelter workers know, or at least they should, temperament assessments should never be conducted on feral dogs in the first place, but in this case the assessor was never told that the dog was feral, so the result is very skewed.

      The Internet is a great tool for networking and getting information out there, and without it we’d never have known about this dog, but unfortunately it also facilitates a tremendous amount of counterproductive activity. This case was being handled by individuals with a relationship to the shelter, who already had an ongoing dialog with them with regard to this dog. All that was needed was someone to pick her up and hold her overnight; that’s all we asked for, and unfortunately that’s the one thing we didn’t get.

      Between people attacking the shelter on one website and people who were not involved with the case calling them, a simple transfer became more complicated, and a public relations issue. Now attorneys are involved, and the dog’s chance for survival is considerably less than what it was even a few hours ago. Please, to anyone reading this, we know you want to help, but if you can’t provide the specific help being asked for, click the share button and leave it at that. To insert yourself into an already tenuous situation only hurts the animal we’re trying to save.

      1. Hello, this post from Steve was a post he did yesterday. He is actively trying to find someone to pick up the dog before 5 pm today.

  19. I live 30 minutes away from MAS. Will they release that dog to me if I tell them I’m there for dog #—-? Will someone get the dog from me in the morning or what? Will I need a carrier, because I don’t have one. Will she allow me to lead her to my car on a leash?

    1. ezbuddy,

      This is not a dog you load into your car on a leash, no. Whoever picks her up will need a large carrier with straw or shavings in the bottom. MAS workers will load her into the carrier. You cover it (to reduce her stress), bring it home, put it in the garage or a bathroom or some other quiet place where you can leave her alone and that’s it. After that, it’s down to transport.

      As to whether or not they’ll release her to you…I don’t know.

    2. You would need a large dog crate (vari-kennel type) with generous shavings on the bottom as the dog will be living in there during transport which will be many hours. You would not be handling her at all. Definitely no leash walking (she doesn’t know how and is afraid of people) and definitely no removing her from the kennel for any reason. We do have someone who could get the dog from you tomorrow but I don’t have the details immediately. I don’t know how we could get you a crate right away but I’m open to ideas. Thank you for offering.

    3. If you haven’t already, PLEASE go to the facebook site for Olympic Animal Sanctuary. They have placement arranged and need someone to pick the dog up by 5:00! If you’re not on facebook, I’ll be glad to send them your contact info. Their latest post says:

      Placement for this dog is arranged — we have ONE HOUR to get her out. Someone please help.

  20. I don’t know the status of finding anyone. I realize that only 1/2 hour remains for the pick-up. I also know that Steve is only asking for yes/no responses on FB, so I won’t post over there.

    Question: Is 5 pm a hard drop dead time? What happens after 5? Can she be picked up at the next available day the shelter is open? Reason I am asking is that I have an idea, but it is only worth pursuing if this isn’t a hard deadline at 5 pm today.

  21. Is the adoption fees already paid or how does that work. They usually require all dogs leaving to be sterlized. Will they put that off or delay her leaving until she’s fixed?

    I’m also unclear on rescue groups; do they require the full adoption fees or discounted to rescue groups?

  22. Hi, All!!! We are still working out the details of transport. The dog has been vaccinated for rabies and HW tested and micro-chipped. We will most likely get a release form so that the dog can be spayed at a facility different from MAS. We will update everyone as we get more concrete information.

  23. Just made phone calls with the numbers provided by Karen F. above…spoke with 3 different people all knew of your efforts Shirley. And were sympathetic at least they said they were….left message as well.

  24. Thank you, Shirley, and thank you to everyone involved! And if there are any media people reading this, KUDOS for reading your email and answering your phones!

    Steve Markwell at Olympic Animal Sanctuary, who was so helpful with this rescue, is ferociously smart and a real hero. Thank you, Steve!

  25. I meant to add:
    We are looking at various transport options suggested by Steve Markwell. The one that would be easiest on Mari involves only one leg of driving still needed: Jackson, MS to New Orleans. All the rest is worked out. Again, there would be NO DOG HANDLING INVOLVED. Just put the crate in your vehicle and drive. If anyone is able to drive this leg, please let me know. TY.

  26. Hi. Gone for the weekend after this post. Don’t know how you’re doing on the last leg of the transport. A thought. Don’t know if it will work. See if Penny Eims at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Animal-News-Examiner/157498381013413?sk=wall will post Mari’s story/plight on her facebook (which goes out nationwide to millions of folks). Maybe with Steve’s organization’s recognition and the fact that your a smaller rescue working together might be what it takes to have her do a post on Mari. Maybe you might catch a break on the transport issue. Good luck!

    1. I posted on this FB page, Laura — thank you! Also posted regarding the transport leg on Red Rover (formerly UAN).

  27. I don’t know whose name the dog is being pulled from the shelter under. If the organization pulling the dog has to sign out of the ordinary liability waivers, be sure you have rescue insurance. The waivers are only as good as the lawyers involved if anything happens, but if something happens in the future and the dog does somehow bite someone the pulling rescue will have pulled a dog that they knew was dangerous, and the signed forms prove that. Please make sure your insurance is in good working order just in case something happens. With the dog being chipped this is extremely important as the dogs will be traced back to you forever even if the chip is changed later.

    This is extremely important for the protection of the group actually pulling the dog from the shelter. Be careful what you sign and realize what the consequences can be. There have been some good people financially ruined by situations like this if the dog is as aggressive as they have said.

    1. Steve Markwell of Olympic Animal Sanctuary has been walking us through this. He has taken care of the insurance requirements and the person pulling the dog is covered. So we should be all set in that regard. What a learning experience this is turning out to be!

  28. Any updates? Are the logistics worked out and if so, where is Mari going? Pets Alive? Somewhere else? I am so confused!!!!

  29. No one has mentioned a bite or bite history, so the dog is feral but shouldn’t necessarily be considered a “dangerous dog” at this time. Steve Markwell mentioned that frightened feral dogs run before they bite and only bite if cornered and given no other alternative. So unless someone does something very stupid, like stick a hand into her crate, she will probably be fine during the temp hold and transport. Ultimately, the receiving rescue has
    the responsibility for her safety and the safety of those around her. Typically, the rescue pulling a dog from the shelter is acting on behalf of the receiving rescue and should sign the dog over to them asap. In my state (not TN) this is made explicit in the shelter paperwork. Paid transporters usually carry their own liability insurance even though they’re working on behalf of either the sending or receiving rescue, but volunteer drivers usually don’t.

  30. Where is Mari’s destination?

    What kind of discounts on adoption fees and/or spay/neuter do rescue groups get, if any?

    1. Depending on whether we find a volunteer to drive from Jackson, MS to New Orleans, LA today – her destination is up in the air. But if we can get her to New Orleans today, Steve Markwell of OAS arranged for a feral dog rehabber to meet her there tonight. So that’s what we are working on.

      IDK if MAS gives rescue groups any discounts. Most places do.

  31. Okay, just e-mailed a request for help to 2 transport coordinators/moderators I used to work with. One is the OTRA mod for LA and the other one is a well-known transport coordinator who covers AL and LA. Both have wide networks of drivers so hope they will put out the word and someone will offer to drive.

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