Action Alert: Is There Any Hope for the Dogs in the Stray Area at MAS?

Per information posted by the “Friends” of the Memphis pound, MAS will only be open for adoption Tuesday through Thursday this week and then it will be closed for adoptions until November 18, when the new facility is scheduled to open. A request for fosters has been issued to house pets during this closure – but only for the lucky few pets who have been selected for adoption. The vast majority of dogs at MAS (those housed in the stray area) remain locked away from the public, with no online postings, and the public will not be allowed to foster them during the closure.

I asked MAS management and Memphis city officials for clarification on what will happen to the dogs in the stray area and specifically, whether they will be moved to the new building.  No response.

The only way anyone has been able to see the dogs in the stray area at MAS is via the webcams.  The webcams were installed by Mayor Wharton because of allegations of neglect and abuse  at MAS in 2009.  He promised transparency and accountability to the public.  Now, in removing the webcams, the city is not only failing to uphold its promise and obligation of transparency to the public, it is further attempting to hide completely the fate of the dogs in the stray area.

This is unacceptable.  Every dog in the stray area at MAS has a right to live.  The city has failed to reform the pound and conditions appear to be just as bad as when Mayor Wharton ordered the webcams installed in 2009.  Let city officials in Memphis know what you think about the removal of the webcams.  Ask what will happen to the dogs in the stray area and if every dog who is in the stray area this week will be moved to the new building.  Remind them that those dogs are wanted, loved and deserve to live.

Phone and fax numbers are on this page.  Here is a list of e-mail addresses you can copy and paste into your letters if you choose to e-mail:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

As always, keep your letters succinct and respectful. Request the courtesy of a reply.  Let us know if you receive one.

33 thoughts on “Action Alert: Is There Any Hope for the Dogs in the Stray Area at MAS?

  1. Friends of MAS posted about it on the ABC24 FB page and I asked them about what would happen to the animals who were not fostered or adopted and there has been no response.

  2. They are going to kill the animals so that they have only a select few to go to the new place. Gives them time to pack up stuff and sit around instead of cleaning up and caring for animals.

    How do I know?? I’m several states away, but let’s see – have they ever done the right thing? Have they ever shown that they will work harder to save the lives of the animals?? Hmmmmmm- that would be a big “No” and a bigger “Hell NO!!”

  3. My question is, are they going to keep bringing in strays and take owner surrenders?
    Which location are they taking them too? If one of my pets got lost between November 4th and November 18th will I be able to view the stray area to see if they are there, which location would I go to?
    What are they going to do with the intake animals between 11/4-11/18?
    **MEMPHIS should stop ALL euthanasia during this move.*** The logistics are not clearly mapped out and we all know MAS, FMAS, and the Memphis City Government are not competent or compassionate enough to make this transition run smoothly.

  4. hey girl;
    I just sent off a email letter to all the addresses you supplied.

    Dear Sir or Madame;

    I am happy to hear that the animals at MAS are moving to an updated facility. However, I am concerned in regards to what will happen to the dogs in the Stray Area of MAS. As they currently can only be seen on the Web Camera and are not open to public viewing.

    Are they to be moved to the new facility also? Will they be able to be viewed by potential adopters there? I hope so. May I make a suggestion? Perhaps before you move to the new facility you could hold a “Stray in and Pick up a Stray today” event. You could open up the Stray area for the day and cancel all adoption fees. Maybe even offer a free collar and leash and bag of food for the new pet. I’m sure a local pet store would like the publicity and no doubt return customer to keep the new pet on the same brand of food.

    These are just a few ideas off the top of my head. I truly hope that if your staff at MAS are overwhelmed with moving to the new site they can feel ok with asking the public for a helping hand. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help, but indeed a sign of strength.

    Thank you for taking the time to read my letter.

    Concerned in Canada.

    Joan Massey

    1. Ha – “Stray in…” I like it! The fact is, some of the strays’ mandatory hold will be up every single day that the pound is closed. As such, they should be made available for adoption or at least for foster.

    2. GREAT letter – I hope you get a reply. ( hope in one hand, poop in the other….see which one fills up faster :( )

  5. I forwarded your post to everyone on the list. I asked what can we do, what will be done, who will do it, and when. I also stated there is still no accountability or checks and balances. I respectfully requested the courtesy of a reply.

    The trial of the ACO who misplaced (or kidnapped) Kapone starts this Thursday at 10:00 am, and the Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County will be there, volunteers and all. We are all going to wear our volunteer tee shirts and sit in the courtroom. I will be there myself. I hope it shows that as staunch animal advocates, the Mayor will rethink his position on the web cams and making major changes at MAS. One can only hope.

    1. @ Denise…
      Sorry, the prelim hearing (not the trial) for the ACO who “misplaced” Kapone was scheduled for LAST Thursday. Community Action for Animals was there in court, as always. The Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County was not.
      The prelim hearing for Hogan has been reset.
      The letter being circulated by the HS of Memphis and Shelby County is regarding a case set for sentencing on Friday @ 10 am. Again, Community Action for Animals has been following this case since the initial charges were filed by the Memphis Animal Services and the Memphis Police Department. The Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County was asked to deliver a community impact statement. As usual, Community Action for Animals will also be available to deliver a statement based on the over 3,000 cases witnessed over the last 4 years.
      I just saw this posted on SOS facebook….

      The letter from the Humane Society regarding the cruelty case that will be in court on Friday has been removed. This is why —

      There are many valid issues regarding the mistreatment of animals at the Memphis Animal Services shelter, just as there are many valid issues regarding the lack of job performance by the majority of animal control officers at Memphis Animal Services.

      However, when MAS performs correctly and in the best interest of the animals and the community, those actions should be identified and supported.

      The much publicized sentencing set for Friday in Judge Chris Craft’s court is one time that we, as animal advocates, must recognize the work of MAS. This horrendous cruelty case was investigated by the combined efforts of the Memphis Police Department and an MAS Animal Control Officer.

      The MAS animal control officer who made certain the proper charges were brought is responsible for the vast majority of cruelty cases CAA (Community Action for Animals) sees each week in the courts.

      CAA has followed this case from the initial charges and has nothing but praise for the MAS animal officer, the MPD officers, and the prosecutors.

      So, let us, as advocates for the animals, give praise where praise is due – to the MAS ACO who investigated the case and removed the animals from an extremely cruel environment, to the MPD who listened, helped, and brought the charges, and to the prosecutor who presented a good, strong case that resulted in a guilty verdict.See More

      1. Thank you Cindy for that info. I received an email this week from HSMSC stating to be in court on this Thursday at 10 am. Maybe they are confused, but that is what the email said. I’ll recheck. Again thank for the info.

      2. My bad, it is the sentencing hearing. Here is the email I received from HSMSC

        On Friday, November 4th there will be a sentencing hearing in Judge Kraft’s Criminal Court for Candace Stenson who has been found guilty on 14 counts of animal cruelty. The sentence for these offenses could be anywhere from Community Service to 1 year in prison. We are obviously hoping that the Judge renders the strictest possible sentence.

        Kerry Sneed, our Community Outreach Manager, will be giving an impact statement at the trial prior to sentencing on the affect of Animal Cruelty, not only on the animals but on the community as a whole. We would like to issue an open invitation to all of our volunteers to join us at the courthouse Friday for a show of strength against animal cruelty. This is a great forum to help make a difference!

        Kerry will be making her speech at 10:00 a.m. so please plan on arriving in plenty of time to get through security and up to the court room in time to be seated. We would also like you wear your HSMSC Volunteer shirts at the trial. The sentencing hearing will be at 201 Poplar, 6th Floor, Division 8, Criminal Court. We hope to see you there.

        Thanks as always for your support.

  6. I also sent an email. I love the idea of the Humane Society volunteers, etc. in the courtroom! GREAT idea!

  7. I used parts of Joan’s letter asking about whether strays would be moved and available for adoption. I received a response from the MAS Board ( ) within 30 minutes:

    Good Morning:

    Yes, and they will be available to the public if deemed adoptable by the veterinarian. Please feel free to visit us at our new location, 2350 Appling City Cove beginning November 15 and consider adopting a cat or dog.

    Have a pleasant day.

    1. Thanks Linda for sharing the reply.

      The problem here is the “if deemed adoptable” part. MAS has, by design, limited the number of dogs who may be “deemed adoptable” by allowing the public to access a 30 cage hallway for the dogs and nothing beyond. If they would simply open up the pound to adopters, people could meet, touch and fall in love with the dogs – ALL the dogs.

    1. No, Chris, there won’t. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe there will be ‘supposedly’ be cameras that are ‘monitored’ by the Sheriff’s department or police and they are ‘supposed’ to take any corrective action. But I’m thinking that’s not going to happen. MAS didn’t care that there were cameras installed in the old facility. They thumbed their noses at anybody watching and did what the wanted. I cannot imagine what’s going to happen to the animals with virtually no accountability. :(

      1. As of right now, no, there will be no web cams. Security cameras are being installed; however, we do not know what they will cover or where they will be. We are still trying to change that. I forward the posts here showing the cruelty and inhumane treatment of the animals at MAS to the Mayor and City Council. I do this daily and hope that somebody will sit up and step to the plate to keep the web cams. All I can do is to continue to send as many as I can, stating that nothing has changed, it is still the status quo, and there are no checks and balances. No reply yet, even though I respectfully requested the courtesy of a reply.

  8. That’s wonderful, Denise, that you take the time to do that. I just don’t know how anybody with a heart and a conscience can watch those pictures day after day after day and not see the huge problem that is MAS. Prayerfully one day soon, someone will open their eyes and want to change things.

    1. We’re working on that ….. hopefully tomorrow in court our show of strength and numbers will have an impact. I hope this person gets the maximum for all 14 counts of animal abuse. That is why we are going, to advocate for our helpless 4 legged friends.

      Thanks for your response.

      1. That was my bad. THIS ONE is a case of a woman vacating her house and leaving her pets behind to starve and die a slow agonizing death. It is terrible, absolutely disgusting. They were left with no food water or anything else. They literally starved to death over months. She never came back to check on them. She should never own or have a pet again, not even a snake or badger, not even a rat.

  9. This is the info on the Friends’ page and what has been sent to all the local media outlets. They are seeking out fosters.

    Friends of Memphis Animal Services
    Here is the press release from the city about the hours etc. during the shelter move:

    MEMPHIS, TN – Beginning this week, Memphis Animal Services (MAS) will start its transition from the current facility on Tchulahoma to its new home at 2350 Appling City Cove.

    The move will kick off with Last Call Yappy Hour Thursday, November 3rd, from 4 – 7 p.m.; all animals available for adoption will be $10 during that time.

    As MAS moves into its new, state-of-the-art facility, they ask for the public’s patience during the transition.

    *******Friends of MAS are currently looking for foster homes for the shelter’s adoptable animals. Interested parties should contact Friends of MAS on Facebook or call Tracy Dunlap, Senior Animal Care Technician for MAS, at 362-5310.********

    Beginning Friday, November 4th, and continuing until the new facility opens to the public, MAS will have limited hours of operation:

    · On Friday, November 4th, and Saturday, November 5th, it will be open from 1 – 5 p.m. solely for owner reclamations and owner surrenders.
    · The shelter will be closed to the public on Sunday, November 6th, and Monday, November 7th, as usual.
    · Tuesday, November 8th, through Thursday, November 10th, the shelter’s volunteers will be handling owner reclamations only from 2 to 5 p.m.
    · The Tchulahoma facility will be closed to the public beginning Friday, November 11th.

    ********MAS will also have limited field operations from Monday, November 7th, to Monday, November 14th. During that time, ACOs will only be responding to Memphis Police Department calls. ACOs will resume responding to loose/stray calls beginning Tuesday, November 15th.********

    ******Any animals impounded by MAS during that week will be held until the new facility opens, and MAS will waive any fees or additional costs associated with housing the animals during that time.******

    Additionally, all animals housed at the facility on Tchulahoma during that time will be transferred to Appling City Cove unless the Medical Director determines that the animal has a medical condition that would prevent its transfer.

    “MAS’ primary focus during this time of transition is the safety and well-being of the animals,” said Public Services and Neighborhoods Director Janet Hooks.

    All operations, including owner reclamations, owner surrenders, and adoptions, will resume Tuesday, November 15th at the new facility at 2350 Appling City Cove, and a grand opening will be held Tuesday, November 22nd.

    Friends of Memphis Animal Services
    A HUGE thank-you to more Pet Placement Partners of the shelter. Shelly Bookwalter of Southern Jewel Rescue came in and is taking 12 furry friends from the stray area. Shelly loves big dogs which are harder for the shelter to place, so we are thrilled! We always love when Shelly comes!

    Brian Young also came in and took some kitties, Brian also found a home for the sweet Hannah Rose the darling Pittie girlie, and he was able to help a huge Cane Corso who came into the shelter in terribly sad condition. This Coro boy is literally a bag of bones, had a terrible skin condition, probably needs entropian surgery, and has heartworms. With all these problems, this boy is still just as sweet as he can be, and he takes a treat ever so gently as thin as he is. This boy will be a project, but Brian was able to see the stunning dog he will be.

    Linda Reed had come through again, and she was able to rescue Rusty another Doxie that needed help and a Pug boy in the stray area. There have been so many Doxie’s needing help lately! Thank-you Linda for always being there for the Doxies and Pugs in need!

    Everyone is so grateful to the Pet Placement Partners at MAS. They help so many that might not otherwise find help. Again, a huge thank-you!!

  10. I sent them an email just a moment ago. I used the template listed above and then tweaked it to address the concerns that have not yet been answered. Here is the email I sent, anyone feel free to use it:


    I read about Memphis Animal Services moving to an updated facility. This raises concerns with many of us who advocate and care for shelter animals. In particular, we are wondering what will happen to the dogs in the stray area at MAS who currently can only be seen on the web camera and are not available for public viewing.

    I have read there are no plans to continue with web cam monitoring of these dogs in the new facility. I can’t figure out why this would be, because I thought MAS had made a commitment to provide transparency and accountability in their care of these dogs. This was a promise made by Mayor Wharton back in 2009. Can you explain this lapse?

    As you well know, dogs are highly valued in our society as guardians and companions. Every day you see news stories about them saving humankind in ways large and small. Therefore it is not surprising the public outcry for change at MAS has been steady and strong. I would like to know: are you on the side of the dogs and the side of public will? Will you advocate for change at MAS?

    I know I am not the only one asking questions about MAS and this move in particular. I would greatly appreciate a response to my questions here, either in an email or a link to a web page where you have addressed these issues.

    Thank you for your time.

  11. I honestly think the only way Mayor Wharton will ever do anything to help the MAS animals is if it hurts him not to. I don’t know enough about US politics but there must be a way to bring him down.

    1. Not in this city. He just won reelection…. of course only 24% of registered voters turned out, so it definitely not a landslide. But, he’ll stay put and the citizens here just keep putting up with the status quo.

      Right now Mayor Wharton is more concerned about updating the city web site. Gotta keep his priorities in order, ya know. Forget about MAS, jobs and poverty, these aren’t important. Not even the fact that Memphis is the poorest city in the nation for its size. My oh my.

      1. Yes, it’s been going on for years and years now. Memphis has a lot of attributes, but the bad stuff outweighs the good. We are taxed to death, projects that take years to bring to fruition, failed projects. discrimination, racism, crime, poverty, it all runs rampant. All the politicians are crooked. City Council is crooked….people who are crooks are serving, just because of their name. It’s a really sad state of affairs. i HATE IT.

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