One Visitor’s Experience at the “New” MAS

A Facebook posting from the "Friends" of MAS inviting people to come see the new shelter on Saturday, November 26, 2011.

Reader Annie Hannigan attended the opening of the new MAS facility on Saturday, November 26, 2011 – the first weekend day the new building was open to the public.  She writes:

On Saturday I went to visit the new MAS facility around 3 pm with my 5 year old daughter. There was a friendly volunteer in the lobby and a puppy named Miss Wendy as the Pet of the Day in a playpen. The volunteer’s name badge was twisted so I didn’t catch her name. I told her I am interested in cats and she told us we may step into the cat room but to be careful not to get scratched because any cat that scratches will be euthanized. I didn’t dare pick up a kitty because I was afraid to jeopardize lives there.

After looking at the cats we came out and wanted to see the adoptable dogs. There were about 3 or 4 people standing with another volunteer, Eleanor, who was explaining dogs to the visitors. I joined the group, casually mentioned that I am interested in seeing the dogs as well. I overheard Eleanor describe the guillotine type kennels and their hygiene and also mention that there are only about 20 stray dog kennels. Then she interrupted herself, looked at me and asked me whether I was here “to adopt or blog”? Pretty rude tone of voice. I was taken by surprise because I am not aware of ever having met this lady before and also – I don’t blog. I answered that I don’t blog (not a smart come back but I was just so taken by surprise) and she rudely informed me that I would have to ask MAS staff to take me to see the dogs.

So I went to the MAS staff glass window, knocked and asked if someone could please let me in to see the dogs. There were 3 people sitting there, obviously working on computers, phones, papers. One lady told me I could go with a volunteer. I told her no, Eleanor said I would need to MAS staff to help me. They gave each other a very surprised look but one answered “Sure, we will send someone out”. I stepped back from the window and nobody came. Another woman with a little boy joined me. Eleanor’s group had grown by 1-2 people and they proceeded behind the locked door into the dog area. The other lady and I still stood in the lobby unattended.

The friendly volunteer returned from walking a dog, I told her that I was still waiting for someone to take me to the dogs. Now Jeanne Chancellor walked by, gave me a very unfriendly look (???!) when the friendly volunteer told her to please let me and the other woman into the dog area. Which she did, being very curt, pointing us towards where to go in order to catch up with Eleanor’s group.

I definitely was not there to adopt a dog because I rescue cats and cannot have a dog. But this was the Grand Opening and from my understanding visitors were actually not only welcome but invited.

 You here to adopt or blog?  Way to roll out the welcome mat, MAS.  Sounds like things have totally changed now that there are new walls to house the bullying tactics used to protect the status quo.

Thank you Annie for sharing your experience.  I hope you will not be discouraged in your kitty rescue efforts.  The cats in Memphis need you.

23 thoughts on “One Visitor’s Experience at the “New” MAS

  1. Check out another visitor letter to the Commercial Appeal today regarding the puppy area at the new MAS facility. New place nothing changed.

  2. Holy shit – why is a cat scratch a death sentence? I’ve been to many shelters’ cat rooms and NEVER have been told this! WTF MAS???

    1. I never have either, not even way back in the 70s. Talk about an unrealistic standard.

      I can only assume they’re looking for excuses to label cats as ‘aggressive’ or ‘feral’ and kill them.

    2. If they are so worried about a cat scratching someone, they could trim their nails. Not hard to do, just takes some caring and forethought. Hmmmm, caring and forethought….. nevermind….. such crazy talk.

  3. Thinking about this – now I’m over the initial shock of a policy to kill cats for incidental scratches – it occurs to me that if only the people there had been friendly and helpful, they’d have had little to fear from someone ‘there to blog.’ It’s not as if we don’t already know MAS is a pit, especially after the Rotary Club report (and how pleasantly surprised I was to find it wasn’t all fluff), and I know I for one would love to hear about ANY signs of improvement.

    As it is – adding in the letter to the paper linked above – I’m thinking … same policies, same asshats, same problems, just in a shiny new building. Now let’s see them put some lipstick on this pig.

  4. Please let’s not overlook that there actually was a very friendly volunteer present. I just don’t know her name because her badge was backwards. Also, I have received friendly and polite information about MAS from the volunteer Shelby Ward Hartman on the No Kill Memphis Facebook wall.

    It just amazed me that the volunteer Eleanor seemed to have a specific policy that applied to me only of all other visitors present at that date and time. Even the MAS staff seemed perplexed by her refusal to show me to the adoptable dogs. Jeanne Chancellor was not welcoming but that’s her privilege as I have a thick hide – she did eventually let me into the dog area, so no harm done there.

    Another prospective adopter might be more easily hurt. I can only hope that nobody who looks like me ever goes there and comes across Eleanor or Jeanne – one potentially lucky dog might miss out.

    Nothing MAS could ever do would keep me from rescuing animals.

    1. I’ve had the same unfortunate “welcome” from Jeanne Chancellor. I went to adopt a puppy (which turned out to be in the stray area and very close to the needle) and had been in phone contact with an MAS employee. It was on a Friday and I explained that I wouldn’t be able to get there until close to their closing time of 5pm. I did arrive at MAS (old building) at 4:55, but the sign on the door said “Open”, and they knew I was coming to adopt the puppy. Ms. Chancellor was the first person I saw and I asked her where I needed to go to adopt the puppy, explaining that a staff member was expecting me. She very curtly said, “We’re closed”. I wasn’t budging so she sent me over to Bill, who was kind enough to stay a few minutes after 5pm to process the paperwork. They then kept the puppy over the weekend to be spayed and we prayed that nothing would happen to her before I could pick her up on Tuesday. Fortunately, Abby escaped from that hell hole and it’s Queen of Mean! If the so-called “Friends” were true animal advocates, they would go the extra mile to save a life!

  5. I got this today from someone I am not familiar with from MAS, thought you might find it entertaining: Her name is LaSonya Hall:

    Good Afternoon Ms. Caccamisi:

    Thank you for alerting us to the gross misinformation recently posted on the Yes Biscuit web site regarding the Memphis Animal Facility. The kennel stats as well as the euthanasia records from Saturday, November 5 through Saturday, November 12 are attached for your review. The attached data reveals that there were no euthanasias conducted on November 6, 7, 9, & 11. The data further reveals that the euthanasias that were conducted on November 8 & 12 were deemed necessary by the Memphis Animal Facility’s Medical Director, a licensed veterinarian.

    Further, the euthanasias that were conducted on Saturday, November 5 included animals for which 1) their hold time had expired prior to or on 11/5/11, 2) owner surrenders, and 3) animals with medical conditions for which euthanasia would alleviate any further suffering. Please note that the the two pitbulls identified as #234328 & 234325 on the euthanasia report dated November 5 were two small pitbull puppies that were sadly unable to survive. The Yes Biscuit post indicating that the two animals “fell over dead in their cages” is a complete prevarication and unsubstantiated.

    Unfortunately, the Yes Biscuit post does not acknowledge the very positive strides taken during the transition. Following are just a few examples:

    1) Held aggressive adoption campaigns including a major Yappy Hour adoption event on Thursday, 11/3
    2) Worked tirelessly with our rescue and pet placement partners
    3) Fostered out many animals prior to the transition
    4) Successfully transitioned ALL of the animals in our care from the old facility to the new facility on 2350 Appling City Cove
    5) Upheld our commitment to the community by suspending euthanasias during the time frame from November 5-12.
    6) Provided the public with owner reclamation and owner surrender services at the old facility on Friday, November 4 and Saturday, November 5 from 1PM – 5 PM
    7) Continued the provision of owner reclamation and owner surrender services at the old facility (through the gracious assistance of our volunteers) on Tuesday, November 8 –Thursday, November 10 from 2 PM – 5PM

    Further, you may also note that during this same time frame (i.e. November 5-12), the facility took in 124 additional animals (e.g. owner surrenders, strays picked up in the field, etc.). Hence, we entered the new facility with all of the animals from the old facility plus the additional 124 animals. Additionally, we resumed our field operation full-time on November 15, which consequently increased the number of animals brought into the new facility. On day 1, within the first hour of opening the new facility, we sadly witnessed more owner surrenders than adoptions.

    We hope that you will help us by encouraging more folks in the community to adopt animals from the Memphis Animal Facility on Appling Cove. We will celebrate our grand opening on Saturday, 12/3 at 11:00 AM.
    Again, we appreciate your partnership in identifying the communication error and for helping us to ensure that the general public has the correct information.

      1. Well, that explains it then. The stray area is now open to the public and the grand opening is this Saturday at 11. I will be there to witness the wonder of the “House of Horrors”. Humph.

  6. “Please note that the the two pitbulls identified as #234328 & 234325 on the euthanasia report dated November 5 were two small pitbull puppies that were sadly unable to survive. The Yes Biscuit post indicating that the two animals “fell over dead in their cages” is a complete prevarication and unsubstantiated.”

    Soooooo…the puppies were bottle babes taken into foster care and tended around the clock by a caring volunteer who kept them warm and fed and hydrated? Or…did they get put in a cage, given kibble and water and left to their own devices until they died from cold/stress/malnutrition? Because if it’s the former, then ok, no fault of MAS and huge kudos to the volunteers for trying. If it’s the latter, MAS is completely at fault and it is a shameful display of carelessness and cruelty.

    Wonder which it was?

    1. I think we both know the answer to that one. I got another email from Janis Fullilove on the council who said she will go adopt a puppy. WHY? What will that prove? I wrote her back with another email like my previous one to MAS contacts. They can say whatever they want since the web cams are gone. I asked her, how many of our city leaders visit the shelter weekly. How many times has the Mayor visited since the raid in 2009? I think we all know the answer to that. Still no transparency, accountability, responsibility or checks and balances. Humph.

  7. Does anyone know what the Mayor, City Council and the District Attorney think of the Rotary Club Report? It doesn’t seem to me that the volunteers put much stock in it….or why else would they be defending what has been and what is going on out there.

    There are just two completely opposing points of view and groups and that is unlikely to change. I have always looked at the volunteers as the “good guys” but I don’t know why they continue to defend shelter employees who have been found to violate rules and laws.

    I don’t know why they don’t want the shelter to be improved, privatized and new people brought in. Why do they prefer to keep the status quo and continue to have criminal behavior there rather than call for a house cleaning?

    It’s been said that in order for the shelter to be able to take care of all the animals, there will have to be a big increase in volunteers. However, anyone, like us, who disagrees with the way things have run and are running at the shelter, are not welcome. Either agree with the cruelty and criminal behavior out there or stay away.

    The Rotary Club report said that the criminal behavior out there is well known but people don’t want to speak on the record.

    The volunteers see the same things the workers see…case in point Stanley. His suffering was denied, covered up and lied about. It is what it is…there just is no denying certain things.

    1. Why is FMAS the only group of volunteers with access to the shelter? If I were local, I would propose that another group also be allowed access and volunteer status at the shelter. FMAS doesn’t need to be the one and only group.

      Let them coordinate with another group – alternating days or such. If they truly wanted to serve the animals’ best interests, they would not object to more hands/helpers on board.

      1. Totally agree. Who decided FoMAS was to be the only volunteer group? Why does anyone volunteer WITH them instead of volunteering WITH the shelter? There isn’t a contract with the city, is there? Who hands out the “Volunteer Application”? I don’t understand the deal.

        As that article on the “shelter” said, on the first day of operations a potential cat adopter was questioned if she was a blogger by a FoMAS volunteer. There shouldn’t be any concerns about bloggers if the volunteers & employees were doing their business according to the set rules & regulations. Everyone should know what the rules are, so even if potential volunteers ARE bloggers, FoMAS shouldn’t have a problem if they were not breaking some rules or covering for employees breaking rules. Right?

        I’m sure they are doing some good job or they wouldn’t be there but I’ve heard more bad things about FoMAS than good. Why is that?

  8. The comment in the news of the potential cat adopter was questioned if she was a “blogger”. That’s the typical attitude of FoMAS. So what if all the volunteers were “bloggers”?

    If everyone is doing their duties according to rules & regulations a blogger wouldn’t have anything to complain about, would they? Everyone already knows MAS kills dogs/cats unnecessarily, so what else could they blog about, unless someone isn’t doing right or maybe covering up for someone else.

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