MAS Records Show Pets Killed for Space During Pound Transition

A dog in the stray area at MAS is dragged on a chokepole on November 4, 2011.

Thursday, November 3 was the last day Memphis Animal Services was open to the public for normal business at the old location.  Many of us were concerned about what would happen to the pets left in the building during the closure and move to the new facility.  The city reassured local media at the time, telling the Memphis Flyer:

Any animals left in the stray area and adoption areas will be moved to the new facility unless the shelter’s medical director determines an animal must be euthanized due to a medical condition.

ABC24 received similar information from the city:

[A]ll 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.

A review of MAS records reveals that many pets were in fact killed during the transition period for reasons having nothing to do with a medical condition.  For example:

On November 5, 4 cats were killed at MAS – 1 for behavior and 3 for space.  25 dogs were killed that day including 5 with no reason given.  3 dogs were killed for behavior, 1 was killed for being too young, 15 were killed for space and only 1 dog was killed for a medical reason.  2 Pitbulls fell over dead in their cages at MAS that day bringing the body count for November 5 to 31.

On November 10, 2 cats and 1 dog were killed for space, 5 dogs were killed for behavior and 4 dogs were killed for medical.

November 15 was the first day the new facility was open.  That day, 2 cats and 8 dogs were killed with no reason given.  12 more dogs were killed for space and 1 dog was killed for medical.

The following day, November 16, 4 dogs are listed as “died”, 23 dogs and 1 cat were killed for space, 4 dogs and 1 cat were killed with no reason given, and 3 dogs were killed for medical.

These statistics do not seem to jive with the city’s public reassurances that all animals would be transferred unless a medical condition prevented it.  Further, I do not understand how could space possibly be a reason for killing when the shelter was in transition or when it was first opened at the larger facility.

Remember that MAS refused to allow the public to foster dogs from the stray area during the transition period.  How can they deny help from volunteers willing to save pets’ lives and then turn around and kill the pets for “space”?  Are these killings the result of the city’s focus being directed toward the “safety and well-being of the animals”?  I dread to think.

The MAS fail boat sailed long ago.  The only question now is how much longer until the caring people of Memphis wage a political campaign for reform against the city.  I hope it won’t be much longer.

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22 Comments

  1. Is my count correct.. 102 dog animals in four days? 102 that they have recorded! When does a full report come out or was that it? How/ will they explain the no reason deaths… or the fell over dead dogs?

    Reply
    • Just thought I’d add. Nov 5.. i stayed on my computer and captured as many of the animals as I could going to the kill room. I didn’t see any sick or dogs with behavioral issues. I did see a few dogs going in a different direct being led by the kill guy.. I have posted all the photos on Facebook…I have a total of six albums of MAS. There are hundreds of photos.

      Reply
  2. Ann Mitchell

     /  November 28, 2011

    Surely you are not surprised! Horrified YES but not surprised. Political war being raged will do no good. The only possible way to change MAS is to, first wage a campaign of PUBLICITY, educate the public as to what is going on, Second, a campaign of education to teach people how to take care of an animal (this is very ambitious thinking) So many of out citizens do not give a happy about the lives of humans much less “animals.” Out politicians have not accepted that a city that is mean to animals is also mean to humans! When you see a city that has an animal facility that strives to be no kill, high adoption rates, etc. you see a city that has citizens that don’t shoot their neighbors, sell drugs openly on the streets, police officers that uphold the law and don’t participate in crimes, where police officers don’t condon nor participate in prostitution walking on the streets. The only hope for MAS is privatization with the ability to change all employees and get out from the city union’s hold on the facility! This is only MY OPINION!

    Reply
  3. Has there been anything in the news about this?? With the recent report you would think..wait what am I thinking. (smacks my own forehead) That they would be on their best behavior, Or at least a reasonable facsimile. Crazy talk I know.

    Reply
  4. Debi

     /  November 29, 2011

    Were there any statistics on intakes? It was my understanding that they would not be taking in additional animals while the shelter was closed. Not sure if this was the case, but if so it would further question killing for “space”. I can’t say that I’m surprized by the information. As you said, we all feared this would happen. Knowing this and seeing those idiots jumping for joy over the new facility which remains a hell hole to say the least makes me sick.

    Reply
    • Although complete records were requested, they were not received. The only intake numbers I have at this time are from 11-5 through 11-12: 2 cats, 122 dogs.

      Reply
      • Arlene

         /  November 29, 2011

        I see that on Nov. 12, 2011 there were 516 animals on hand. Don’t know what exactly that means but it’s listed at the bottom of the intake numbers form.

  5. You mean Mr. Mayor LIED TO ME on his facebook page?

    I am shocked. Shocked I say.

    Reply
  6. S -

     /  November 29, 2011

    People in this city mostly don’t care. Log onto the editorial section of the Commercial Appeal online whenever there is a letter to the editor about the conditions at the Shelter. No one cares so if you are hoping for public outrage in numbers that could make a difference, you won’t see it in Memphis.

    Reply
  7. ezbuddy

     /  November 29, 2011

    The mayor has lied & deceived us since first taking office with his promises of “transparency” & “cleaning up” the MAS.

    I’ve seen Dot’s captured photo’s of the last hour’s & minutes of many, too many, innocent, healthy, adoptable & wanted pets that were wastefully killed for absolutely no reason. There was never ANY intention to save any lives. It leaves a broken heart with disgust for a city & “shelter” that could carry out this vicious kill fest.

    Where is the media when you need them? The mayor, MAS & everyone involved should be exposed for the unnecessary killing at their death row “shelter”. Another shame on Memphis.

    Reply
    • There’s 6 albums that I have posted on FaceBook… just one album has 189 pictures. There were days I wasn’t at home to capture photos.. so can you imagine how many animals died that we don’t even know about.. and how many went out the back door?

      Reply
  8. jcs

     /  November 29, 2011

    We are ALREADY “waging a campaign for reform”!!!

    HOW many times are you going to continue to accuse Memphians of NOT doing anything?

    If you think it is SO EASY to get the city to change their stripes, then get yourself HERE and join in the fight and see how well you do with the rest of us.

    The city has been dysfunctional regarding MAS for at least over a decade. Even scandals (like Hogan) don’t force them to make changes. They don’t care – they have no shame and they still believe that nothing will happen to them (just like some employees at MAS, per the Rotary Club report).

    So stop labeling the animal advocates in this area as “doing nothing” to get change.

    Reply
  9. I don’t label Memphis animal advocates as “doing nothing”. I have first-hand knowledge of many caring advocates who work hard to help save pets in Memphis. But they are not waging a political campaign against the city to demand reform. It doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate their efforts or see the value in them. I do. Reform efforts in other cities have shown that it takes help from many people performing many different functions to create a no kill community. All efforts are valued and appreciated.

    But without a political campaign being waged against the city by at least a small group of individuals, advocates will be permanently stuck in the same reactive mode they’ve been in for years now. I agree with you that it appears as if the city officials do not care. I would go a step further and opine that there appears to be active resistance to the point of corruption within the city. Again, this is why the need for a political campaign is so great.

    Candlelight vigils and similar type actions have their place and can play an important role in reform efforts. But they are not a substitute for the type of reform efforts Ryan Clinton and his fellow advocates made in Austin. Austin’s situation was similar in many ways to Memphis’ challenges. It took years of work from a few people dedicated to waging a political campaign against the powers that be in Austin to bring about meaningful reform. There was resistance at every level but despite having jobs and families and foster pets, they pressed on with their campaign. Eventually they got the city council to vote to make Austin a no kill community. This was not because the city council members all had a sudden change of heart or because they were all voted out simultaneously and replaced with no kill advocates. It was a direct result of the political campaign Ryan and his fellow advocates waged.

    I would love to see the same thing happen in Memphis. There are many caring individuals there. I have the honor of knowing some of them. If someone/anyone would be willing to step up and say “I/We are waging a political campaign for reform against the city”, I know that person/group would have lots of support. If you are that person jcs, please tell us your name and give us your contact information. Many readers here would like to offer their help in your efforts. I too would like to help you. Please tell me how I can best assist you in your efforts.

    Reply
  10. charlene

     /  November 29, 2011

    they killed because 1 was too young??? OMG…what would happen if it was a baby…

    Reply
    • Anne

       /  November 29, 2011

      some shelters choose to euthanize neonates when there is not a surrogate mom available (or if she’s not accepting of the baby) since bottle feeding typically is an extensive undertaking.
      The mortality rate is high for puppies and kittens that don’t yet have their eyes open without a mom (and in a shelter situation).
      A dedicated foster is usually the only solution for those

      Reply
  11. Sandy

     /  November 29, 2011

    Regardless of anything else, a well run (actually even a poorly run) shelter shouldn’t have animals dropping dead in their cages. Memphis government has proven they can’t take care of animals so it is time for Memphis citizens to demand that they outsource animal control to a private non-profit and also find a private non-profit willing and able to do it properly.

    Reply
    • Anne

       /  November 29, 2011

      yeah… i mean sometimes animals die in their cages overnight. But we’re talking maybe a couple in a year. Not a couple in a few days

      Reply
  12. mikken

     /  November 29, 2011

    The dogs who “died in their cages” is particularly disturbing. If dogs were that ill, they should have been evaluated by a vet on intake.

    Mind you, I’m not completely unconvinced that this isn’t the new code for “sold out the back door”. If we report that they died in their cages, there’s no need to have a record of euthanasia drugs and they can be “disappeared” easier.

    It will be interesting to see if we have more dogs “dead in cage” in the near future than we used to. How closely is MP monitoring the security cameras? Hm.

    Hey, now that we have the new facility, how are we doing with the logging in of animals with photos and posting them on PetHarbor? Using the Chameleon software, are we?

    And still no new shelter director. Good job, Mr. Mayor. Way to leave the whole thing flailing in the mud.

    Reply
  13. I still say OCCUPY MAS. If anyone is with me, then email me. As soon as my cast comes off my leg, we can begin organizing.

    Reply
  14. Donna Lake

     /  November 29, 2011

    someone would have takin this pretty healthy dog.
    This is just a shame, he looks so good. Why drag
    him to his death???? Heartless ahole….

    Reply
  15. mary francis

     /  November 29, 2011

    The only good thing about MAS is Yesbiscuit and the commenters in getting the word out.

    Reply
  16. It’s so heartbreaking and so cruel!

    Reply

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