Memphis Rotary Club Reports Dogfighting and Theft at MAS

The Memphis Rotary Club’s evaluation of Memphis Animal Services is available online.  Read it and weep.  The interviews with various members of management were conducted in August, while Matt Pepper was still director and the webcams were still in place.

I’m providing a summary in my own words below but please read the original document if you feel so inclined.

Everyone in management wanted the webcams removed immediately.  The public gets motivated to action when they see animal abuse on the webcams and of course what people think they see is not what they are really seeing.

The new facility falls short of expectations as far as improvements in cleaning protocols or ability to house more pets.  But it’s nobody’s fault and everyone made sure to pass the buck on that.

The “Friends” group of vols are swell but some other terrorists vols only want to share pictures on the internet of dogs locked in the stray area and they should go to jail.

The previous advisory board was a useless bunch of yahoos who incited terrorists advocates to rabble rouse and it’s good they’re gone.  The current advisory board is headed by the department division head’s personal vet and he’s a peach.

Dogs and supplies are being sold out the back door at MAS.

It’s too much work to account for all the missing animals at MAS.  They’ve accounted for some, so give it a rest already.

And then there’s this gem:

The employees at every level, while not willing to say so on the record, will readily volunteer that there has been a relationship between certain individuals and the illicit dog fighting rings in the Community. This is particularly true where those who are perceived to be in a protected status are concerned.

Oh.  Oh dear.

Notably absent from the interviews is someone, anyone taking responsibility for the abuse, needless killing, dogfighting activities and theft occurring at MAS.  Not one person.  As such, I guess it’s up to the terrorists compassionate public to once again use their voice to demand reform.

So get on the phone, fax and e-mail and rouse some rabble!

 

39 thoughts on “Memphis Rotary Club Reports Dogfighting and Theft at MAS

  1. Was anyone else confused about the dual dog cage/gullatine door thing? It appears that Matt Pepper says that would be ideal, but wasn’t in the design and someone else later notes that it is in the design, but probably won’t be used that way (each side of the kennel will house a dog)?????

    Also, all that buck-passing about the inadequacies of the new shelter… Why, if they were all aware of it, didn’t they do something to CHANGE IT???!!! Like, say, scrap the old plans and come up with new ones?!

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  2. On a positive note: AC says he is turning this over to the DA. And on the news last night he mentioned that they have requested proposals for privatizing the shelter.

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  3. I haven’t read the report yet and I intend to, but someone riddle me this: why was an evaluation done by the Rotary Club? What background do they have to even evaluate a broken facility like this? Maybe I’m missing something here and am being too harsh. Seems to me like asking a Chamber of Commerce to evaluate an animal hoarder. There is no logical connection.

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    1. The Mayor asked the Rotary Club…I guess because they were “outside” of the shelter’s shadow.

      In any case, why did the Rotary Club realize right off that unsealed cement floors in the horse stalls were completely inappropriate and there’s clearly not enough ventilation, yet no one else before seemed to realize this?

      And this huge, new facility is so well designed that it will take significantly more volunteers to help run it, but will end up only housing about 50 more dogs than the current shelter? What?

      Ok, the shelter design is apparently no one’s fault, blah, blah, but we’re still going to hose down dogs in cages because…why? Because everyone knows that the guillotine cages will be used wrong before we even set foot in the place?

      And still, no new shelter director. Oh – and I like how they couldn’t hire a new vet because of “media attention”. Has nothing to do with the current vets and administration that NO ONE WANTS TO WORK WITH because it will destroy their souls and their careers.

      And can someone, anyone please explain to me the bit about how those six fantastic die-hard volunteers who were so dedicated to animal care that they stuck around through the worst of it in 2009 STILL ALLOWED ANIMALS TO STARVE TO DEATH. How does that even work?

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      1. Because webcams were “bad for morale”. People were JUDGING the workers based on their actions! Boo hoo. At least someone was, because management sure as hell wasn’t.

        So…everyone at MAS knows that there are all kinds of illegal activities happening and has been for years. Huge surprise. What’s it going to take for the Mayor to actually FIRE PEOPLE down there? Because animal abuse, theft, and cruelty, and incompetence just don’t seem to be enough. Maybe if they started some kind of public blog advocating change, THAT would finally push him over the edge into some kind of action…

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      2. Here is a copy of the letter I sent to the Editor of the CA:
        I am absolutely disgusted, outraged and livid. After the Rotary Club’s investigation of MAS, they revealed what we animal advocates already knew. All these things have been going on for years …. DUH. The MAS was raided over two years ago, and nothing has changed at all. It is still the status quo. The Mayor promised transparency and now we have none, with the removal of the web cams. Our Mayor states there is nothing he can do and the city cannot bring criminal charges. UH HELLO, he is the Mayor, and he CAN’T DO ANYTHING????? Why Not???? And, if not our Mayor, then who?????

        What is it going to take to get people to wake up and realize MAS is a KILL shelter. Missing dogs, missing food, fighting pit bulls put up for adoption, pit bulls sold, pit bull puppies in a bucket taken directly to the kill room, and where in the world is Kapone????? How many dogs are missing? Where is all the food going????

        There is still no accountability at all, no checks and balances, and evidently employees who kill the animals there do it out of pure enjoyment. Not only are animals dying there either by starvation or just plain meanness, but no one is allowed in the stray area of the shelter. Yes, we have a new shelter …. yippee, but, on the inside, it is still a House of Horrors.

        Ms. Janet Hooks wants to hire people that have experience with animals …. I guess that means anyone who has been involved in dog fighting, breeding pit bulls to fight, and kidnapping dogs at the shelter and selling them for profit. My oh my, that’s a real milestone. I have experience with animals….I give them love, food and shelter. I treat them as family. I pet sit my friends pets. Yet, after applying five times for a position there, I still get turned down. I know why, because I am an animal lover, not an animal killer.

        Our leaders have failed this city in regards to MAS. No promises were kept, and now, nothing can be done. Who is there to advocate for these animals? Shame on the Mayor, shame on the City Council, shame on MAS and shame to the community that turns a naked eye to the horrors that go on at MAS.

        I for one, will never take another stray or injured animal to MAS, I will go the the Humane Society or Collierville or somewhere that will care for those neglected animals. This is unacceptable, reprehensible, and totally insane. PRIVATIZE THE SHELTER ….. IT IS THE ONLY SOLUTION.

        The nightmare continues…..stay tuned for other details.

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  4. I am going to write a harsh letter to the Editor and then send to the City Council, the Mayor and the MAS board. It is still the status quo. Like, duh, we’ve known all this all along, but everyone turned the other cheek …. the Mayor raided MAS over TWO years ago, and nothing, absolutely nothing has changed, it’s only become worse. Missing dogs, pit bulls adopted out or sold, and no accountability or checks and balances. Needless to say, I am livid. And, as of this date, I have applied for an ACO position, and I get turned down every time. Needless to say, they all need to be fired fired fired.

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    1. Kapone is most likely dead. The witch that did this won’t talk. This is why the MAS should be privatized…..since our Mayor says his hands are tied and there is nothing he can do, that the city can’t bring criminal charges. HELLO, MAS works for the city….to hell with the Unions, get those scumbags out of there. We may have a new building,but that’s just a building. It is a tomb or horror for any animal that is there. OOOOOOH I am so outraged.

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  5. I have a sneaking suspicion the new runs, which are supposed to house one dog, to make it ”easier” for cleaning, will end up housing 2 dogs, one on each side, and the spraying of chemicals will continue. Also, I’d like to point out how Pepper nagged about how much time it takes to remove a dog from its kennel, tie it to the wall hook (never seen one of those before) and clean the kennel, then untie (never seen an animal tied outside of the kennel) the dog, and place it back inside kennel. Has ANYONE EVER SEEN them do this ”practice”? Pepper flat out lied, ON THE RECORD. How is this legal? They can review the videos and see that NO DOG, EVER, was tied outside of its kennel during cleaning-they’ll actually see the total opposite. I am so GD heated right now.

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    1. He didn’t say they did it, Angela, he just said that it would take entirely too much time. So no, they never even tried it. Or any variation of it. Or anything other than what they were already doing.

      Matt Pepper with all of his education and training knew it wasn’t “best practices” to hose down dogs in their kennels, but never worked to change it.

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      1. Not only did he do nothing to change it, he locked the public out of the stray area thereby dooming hundreds of dogs to suffer and die in anonymity at MAS. The former director, currently indicted on animal cruelty charges, at least allowed the public in to see and touch ALL the dogs. How are things supposed to be getting better when you find yourself longing for the days of old, when that was PRE-RAID?!

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  6. Wow, just read the entire document. Love that their recommendation on ties to dogfighting charges is to in the future try to hire people with a desire to work with animals. Uh, thanks for that.

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    1. Right. Because dogfighters would have no desire to work with animals. Especially not at a place where they could cherry pick the dogs they wanted to use for fighting and to sell out the back door to their friends.

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  7. The Rotary Club writes –

    “A good group of motivated volunteers will also improve adoption programs, improve the image of the Shelter, and raise overall employee performance through example. Critics of the current Shelter operation should not be excluded.”

    Now THAT is good advice – get people who are critical of the current operation in there to help turn things around. Because right now preserving the status quo seems to be the goal.

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    1. Yeah, I liked that advice but then in another part, they say they should make the volunteer application process more difficult, which seems counter intuitive. There is also a clause in the vol agreement, which I believe to be a clear violation of volunteers’ civil rights, restricting their speech. Can’t imagine that makes any “critics” feel empowered. At any rate, for so long as the “Friends” have carte blanche to bully people and whitewash the abuse and killing, nothing will change.

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    2. The best part of the whole report. Yes, PLEASE let the critics in the building. The enablers have been enabling long enough.

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  8. And this –

    “…but there remains the clear understanding, on the part of all the Employees that certain individuals are exempt from the rules. Whether this is a result of personal relationships, or a misguided
    attempt to favor certain groups or categories, is unclear.”

    This is discussing “the interference of City Hall”. Hmm. So “certain individuals” have backing from above to do as they like. Who is backing them? And are THEY playing a role in “illicit activities” as well?

    I’d love to see a full legal investigation into the shelter and its employees…and where that leads higher up the food chain.

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    1. I sent this to the Commercial Appeal this morning, and the city council and the mayor and the Humane Society and MAS Board:

      I am absolutely disgusted, outraged and livid. After the Rotary Club’s investigation of MAS, they revealed what we animal advocates already knew. All these things have been going on for years …. DUH. The MAS was raided over two years ago, and nothing has changed at all. It is still the status quo. The Mayor promised transparency and now we have none, with the removal of the web cams. Our Mayor states there is nothing he can do and the city cannot bring criminal charges. UH HELLO, he is the Mayor, and he CAN’T DO ANYTHING????? Why Not???? And, if not our Mayor, then who?????

      What is it going to take to get people to wake up and realize MAS is a KILL shelter. Missing dogs, missing food, fighting pit bulls put up for adoption, pit bulls sold, pit bull puppies in a bucket taken directly to the kill room, and where in the world is Kapone????? How many dogs are missing? Where is all the food going????

      There is still no accountability at all, no checks and balances, and evidently employees who kill the animals there do it out of pure enjoyment. Not only are animals dying there either by starvation or just plain meanness, but no one is allowed in the stray area of the shelter. Yes, we have a new shelter …. yippee, but, on the inside, it is still a House of Horrors.

      Ms. Janet Hooks wants to hire people that have experience with animals …. I guess that means anyone who has been involved in dog fighting, breeding pit bulls to fight, and kidnapping dogs at the shelter and selling them for profit. My oh my, that’s a real milestone. I have experience with animals….I give them love, food and shelter. I treat them as family. I pet sit my friends pets. Yet, after applying five times for a position there, I still get turned down. I know why, because I am an animal lover, not an animal killer.

      Our leaders have failed this city in regards to MAS. No promises were kept, and now, nothing can be done. Who is there to advocate for these animals? Shame on the Mayor, shame on the City Council, shame on MAS and shame to the community that turns a naked eye to the horrors that go on at MAS.

      I for one, will never take another stray or injured animal to MAS, I will go the the Humane Society or Collierville or somewhere that will care for those neglected animals. This is unacceptable, reprehensible, and totally insane. PRIVATIZE THE SHELTER ….. IT IS THE ONLY SOLUTION.

      The nightmare continues…..stay tuned for other details.

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    2. I’ve been reading the comments on the CA regarding the Rotary Report. One of the comments made was that there was a “thick” thread between the MAS being investigated and another program that was investigated under the umbrella of the departments headed by Janet Hooks. Very interesting.

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      1. Yes, the “Second Chance” program, for convicted felons, is being investigated for fraud, favoritism, and felons with more than one felony being hired and, guess what? A lot of them are at MAS. I’m not sure it is under Janet Hooks’ realm, but, who cares? This city is fraught with fraud, stealing, embezzlement, selling cars from impound lot, taking items from vehicles at impound lot, even the county courts have employees taking money for themselves. Not only high in crime but blue collar criminals to boot. Even our city council is full of crooks. It’s a damned shame and they wonder why no one wants to live here.

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      2. The Rotary Club report states that there were only 2 Second Chance program employees at MAS. One of them was Hogan, and the other remains employed at MAS. They described this employee as “stellar” and knowing who that person is, I would say I’ve always found him to be good at his job and helpful.

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  9. WTF? Forget AC and the DA, where the blankety-blank is the State Attorney?

    Selling dogs for fighting, supplies (probably drugs) out the back door, these should be felony charges.

    There should be big boots coming down on heads at MAS. I’m eying the State administration to do it, since the City is impotent.

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    1. @Dennis—This is the person from the CA comments that I was referring to:

      meanjean writes:

      “There are very THICK threads between MAS and MSARC.

      Until the fallout fromt the MSARC scandal, it was run by the city under Public Services and Neighborhoods.

      MAS is run by the city under Public Services and Neighborhoods.

      Get it?

      Public Services and Neighborhoods has been run by incompetents for over a decade.

      Many citizens have claimed for YEARS that shelter employees are involved in dog fighting and that ‘missing’ dogs from MAS are going out the ‘back door’ to dog fighters.

      The theft at MAS of over 2 dozen pit bulls in late 2007 was an inside job (as reported by the news). MAS had security cameras even then.

      But that case was NEVER solved. Ever wonder why?

      I think that now we know why.

      Hogan was offered a deal by the Mayor if she would tell them where Kapone is. She REFUSED. I think just about anyone can guess why she refused …

      So, what INDEED will Wharton do about this? That – as the old cliche goes – is the $64,000 question.

      For now, I am not holding my breath that anything of any substance will be done to fix any of it or hold ANYONE accountable.”

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  10. Wasn’t ” the fallout fromt the MSARC scandal” debacle under the previous administration and Ken Moody and King Willie? That has nothing to do with the department now from what I can tell.

    The people who are out there supporting breeders breeding whatever whenever are the people everyone needs to go after along with the people who view pets as property to do with what they please.

    People Have to spay and neuter ALL their pets and take care of them.

    It does not matter who is running the shelter or under what “mantra” there will always be problems as long as the numbers of animals entering the shelter stay the same. If you don’t want your tax dollars poured into a shelter go after the root of the problem:THE PEOPLE CAUSING ANIMALS TO HAVE TO BE TAKEN CARE OF BY SOMEONE ELSE.

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    1. Community outreach is important and must include access to low/no cost spay-neuter services for those who need it. But part of the community outreach equation requires that the community has a sense of confidence and pride in the shelter. Otherwise, why would anyone be receptive to the efforts? In order for the community to feel confident and proud of the shelter, the shelter needs to stop killing pets and clean house from top to bottom. When you say “animals have to be taken care of by someone else” – you’ve hit upon the problem. The animals are in fact NOT being taken care of. They are being abused, sold out the back door and killed. Who could be proud of that in their local shelter?

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      1. There will always be animals in need of homes. That is not the root of the problem. A properly functioning shelter acts as a safety net to the animals of the community, no matter how they get there (just lost or human ignorance and callousness). A properly functioning shelter is an asset to the community as a whole, not just to the animals housed there.

        An improperly run shelter is a blight on the community and a perpetrator of abuse and cruelty. An improperly functioning shelter doesn’t just hurt the animals, it hurts the entirety of the community.

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      2. There will always be pets in need, and animal shelters will always be necessary. People get into accidents. People die. People go into care homes. People lose their homes, and can’t always find new ones that will permit pets. People do terrible things to one another – and their pets. And then too, pets sometimes do get loose and wander. Pet sitters aren’t always careful. Scared dogs or cats may do a runner between feet. There are so very many things that can go wrong.

        Focusing on the community and trying to reduce the need based on a few modifiable variables like spay/neuter is a good thing. But in the community as a whole, the numbers of variables which can affect the lives of pets is immense, possibly incalculable. At the shelter, on the other hand, they’re comparatively limited – and we already know what a functional shelter looks like.

        MAS is not a functional shelter in any sense – the Rotary Club report makes that clear. Forget no-kill for a moment. MAS is a hell-hole even by traditional impound standards. Turning your eyes to the community and saying, ‘It’s all their fault for being so irresponsible’ is to ignore the rank irresponsibility – the criminal abuse and carelessness and neglect – right under your nose at the shelter.

        In fact, it’s just another way to pass the buck.

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  11. Obviously there are those who are afraid to come forward to name names at MAS who are responsible for criminal activity. I guess their silence is also their approval, or are they ALL involved & just setting up smoke screens?

    The only people who shouldn’t lose their jobs there are the ones willing to come forward and spill the beans. The 6 FoMAS who have been there through all of the criminal behavior has to know what has been going on or even likely involved.

    I believe the Rotary has done a good job except for the fact they were also afraid to name names & tell the complete truth about what the acusations are. It would surely clear some air.

    The mayor saying he “can’t do anything” about obvious crimes is AGAIN passing the buck. The dogs & cats will again be the ones to pay the highest price for it.

    Bring back full view of the web-cams as the only “visibility” option.

    Like

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