Pups Sit in Filth at MAS

With the opening of the new $7.2 million dollar building, Memphis Animal Services has reduced the hours the public can access the facility.  Instead of opening at 10am, MAS now opens at 11am, citing the need for additional cleaning time due to a larger building.  A reader visited MAS last week and took this photo at 11:19am:

Puppies sit on newspapers which have soaked up their urine and feces from the previous day at MAS.

There are too many puppies in this cage and it has obviously not been cleaned in accordance with standard shelter practices to promote good health. If these puppies get sick and/or get their neighbor dogs sick, will MAS kill them and blame the irresponsible public and “pet overpopulation”?

If these pups were placed in this cage in order to spotlight them for adoption – fail.  (Would you want to pick up one of these pups and love on him?)  If MAS thinks it’s going to reduce its abhorrent kill rate by decreasing the hours the public can access the pound – fail.  (The shelters I know of who have increased their live release rate have done so partly by increasing their open hours to the public.)   If MAS thinks that the public is going to accept its lame “more cleaning time” excuse for opening later while showing pets sitting in filth at 11:19am – fail.  (Looks like the same failed practices in an expensive new building to me.)

If a Memphis ACO visited a home and found the pups just as they appear in the above photo, I imagine action would be taken to protect the pups from this kind of inhumane treatment.  Who will take action to protect the pups at MAS?

41 thoughts on “Pups Sit in Filth at MAS

  1. This is outrageous! There is no excuse for this at any hour. Someone call the authorities and file charges. This is what is seen. Can you imagine what is behind closed doors? Nothing good!

    Get rid of the entire staff. At the very least they know who is responsible for this treatment of animals and heads need to roll.

    New leadership is needed at MAS. Enough is enough.

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  2. This is ridiculous. I understand puppies generally make a bigger mess than a bigger crate trained dog but I work at a no-kill shelter every Saturday. We clean our shelter in sections but if there is a cage that messy it gets cleaned first so they aren’t laying in filth. And cutting back the hours is insane. We have certain hours at our shelter for people to see the dogs but I let them see them whenever they come. How can you expect people to find the dog of their dreams if you don’t give them the time to see them?

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  3. I see no food and no water in that cage. How long have those puppies been housed there with no water?

    Mayor Wharton is responsible for this. He has done no housecleaning of staff, despite the fact that some of them were present for the 2009 raid (oh, we need more training! we didn’t know that dogs need food and water! no one told us!), despite the fact that criminal activities are happening (selling dogs and “supplies” out the back door, intentional vandalism of donated beds), and despite the fact that inhumane treatment and poor job performance happens at MAS every single day. Mayor Wharton has still not found a shelter director, leaving the place to flounder with no leadership. Mayor Wharton has publicly stated that he supports the staff at MAS (and apparently their criminal activities and crappy job performance).

    Charge Mayor Wharton with animal cruelty. Charge him with misuse of taxpayer dollars. Charge him with dereliction of duty. Make Mayor Wharton aware that he’s responsible for what goes on at MAS.

    And FoMAS? You’re the “boots on the ground”. How in God’s name do you allow this? Anyone with a sliver of heart would flip the hell out over puppies in that condition and ACT.

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    1. not that this changes anything, but i think there is a water bottle hanging on the left side of the cage- looks like its for the pups. Am i seeing that right?
      i can’t see a food dish, but i assume they were fed at some point due to all the poop…

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      1. Assumeing is not good enough when it comes to feeding, watering and changing papers for the poor little puppies. I think a change of Mayors is in order and a whole clean sweep of personnel. This is outrageous for a new building to treat animals like this. If they were found in a home in this condition, they would be taken away immediately. What is wrong with people.? Who in the world would say, they didn’t know dogs, puppies, kittens and grown cats didn’t need food and water. Put yourself in a cage and try living until someone takes pity on you and feeds you or takes away your dirty poop and urine soaked papers. Buildings are not everything. Do it now. New staff, New Mayor, New anyone who cannot take care of this mess.

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      2. Anne, where are you seeing the water bottle? I must be missing it, it still looks like there’s nothing in the way of food/water to me.

        And the wheels on that cart! Clearly sanitation is not a real concern for anyone there.

        How long did those puppies have to sit in that filthy cage when there’s a lovely wooden-framed cage with soft bedding and NO ONE IN IT right next to them?

        I say again, “FoMas, stand up for what is right. As long as you go along with the status quo, you’re just as culpable as the staff that allows this to happen. YOU COULD MAKE THE DIFFERENCE IF YOU WOULD JUST STAND UP AND SAY “NO MORE!” TO THIS KIND OF BULLSHIT HAPPENING AT YOUR SHELTER.”

        If FoMAS rejected MAS behavior en masse and publicly, the mayor would take notice. But all it takes for evil to flourish is for a good volunteer to do nothing…2009 proved it. How long before we have puppies starving to death again? Unite, FoMAS. Unite and be a force for change.

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      3. it’s in between that crate and the pen next to it- if you’re standing at the front of the pen the water bottle is hanging on the left hand side of the pen- looks like it’s clear plastic (it’s like a critter style water bottle) and if you look closely it appears that the spigot is in the pups’ pen

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      4. Anne, nope, still not seeing it.

        Did you zoom in on the picture? I think you’re seeing the bowl in the next cage, but if you look carefully, the bars are definitely between them.

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      5. you’re right- when i zoomed in it’s clearly the bowl in the other cage- nice catch
        *shakes fist at visual trickery*

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  4. After watching Ac’s step-and-fetch-it performance at the “grand opening” of the new shelter, and seeing this, I suggest that some “wise” volunteer take all these filthified newspapers and dump them on the Mayor’s desk and demand their tax money % for the shelter and its bad workers be refunded. JUst another day at MAS – Must Assassinate Sanity.

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  5. Instead of just talking about taking action, why do we not form a group & get lawyers to file a lawsuit for the inhumane treatment of the animals. In reading about MAS, the Mayor does not care. Nobody on the City Council seems to care what happen to Kapone. I do think they do need to clean house at MAS. If we could get volunteers to take over MAS, the money the Memphis Government spent on salaries, they could put it to better use Vet care, food & numerous other ways to make MAS become a no kill shelter.

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    1. If it has not been apparent, private shelters are the only answer. With the bust in the real estate market there are plenty of buildings available.

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  6. The local police will not solve the problem, there may very well be a corruption problem throughout this region. The Human Society and ASPCA needs to lead the charge, involve the local District Attorney (or Attorney General’s Office if there is widespread corruption) to accomplish a change. The overall history of the City of Memphis to respond is insufficient and animals lives are being impacted every day that real change is stalled. The Mayor needs to leave and the cabal that support him. The entire staff needs review and if necessary, replaced.

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  7. It continues to be business as usual in Memphis. When, if ever, will the good people of Memphis get sick and tired of the embarrasing publicity and outright flagrant disregard for the law, and continued inhumane treatment of these helpless animals?

    Anyone who takes an animal to the MAS is directly responsible for their
    suffering and death!! You can’t live in Memphis and pretend you don’t know what is going on!

    Get rid of these people who are not doing their jobs, and are being paid to treat animals inhumanely, unless these are the kinds of people you are proud to support!

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    1. I disagree that you can’t live in Memphis and not know what is going on. Look at all the people who see those ASPCA commercials on TV and sign up to donate monthly. NONE of that money actually helps shelter animals, and the words Humane or Shelter tend to fool people into thinking the facility is kind, good or helpful. Or, people are desperate to get rid of a pet (for whatever reason) and they don’t research and dump at MAS thinking that’s the best they can do.
      p.s. I’m looking for the place to start opening at NOON…I mean, after all, you nosy public come in with cameras at 11? They need more time to clean…yea, right.

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    2. i agree with Lynn. the general public is woefully uninformed when it comes to Animal Welfare agencies- even if it’s in their own backyard

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  8. They get the new building, a supposed fresh beginning, but the staff are just carrying on where they left off. With no thought, consideration or care for those dogs. What is wrong with them? Is there anything being done about this? If there is can we all know about it??
    And as for the hours to view the dogs being reduced this is just crazy they have no idea how to run this shelter. These poor dogs are doomed in a place worse than a jail. Murderers and rapists get treated better than these innocent darlings and that is wrong.
    Mayor A C Wharton will refuse to answer questions to do with MAS because he cannot answer. He has no idea whatsoever. And he does not care. I posted questions to him about MAS several times on his facebook page and they all get deleted. What does this tell you? Got the SPCA! Go to the media. Get celebrities involved. Pink loves her dogs, can anyone email her with all of this??

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  9. Who would one report this to? Is it the Shelby County Sheriff Office? I am not from or live in the Memphis area so I have no idea. If a petstore had these conditions, I know they would be forced to clean it up and/or possibly close for cleaning. I call this animal neglect!

    Is MAS required to have a USDA license?

    Is there a local attorney who specializes in animal law/rights that someone could contact?

    Here is the City of Memphis Ordinance that I obtained from this website:
    http://www.animallaw.info/statutes/stustnodgermantown_memphis.htm:

    Sec. 5-2. General maintenance requirements for animals and fowl.

    No animal or fowl shall be kept or confined where the water, shelter, ventilation and food are not sufficient and wholesome for the preservation of its health and safe condition. No animal or fowl shall be kept in such place or condition as to become a nuisance either because of odor or contagion of disease.

    (Ord. No. 3189, § 1, 3-9-82; Code 1967, § 7-20)

    Since this cage is unhealthy where the pups could pick up worms/disease from the other pups, I believe MAS has violated this ordinance!

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  10. In many other states the Agriculture Department is in charge. The state vet should be able to inspect and see that charges are filed. I know here the state vet closed down a puppy mill that got out of hand.

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  11. how awful…if it was any person letting dogs live like that it would be cruelty charge,and these are the people who are supose to be looking out for and taking care of and protecting these babies…need to get rid of all the people in charge there and find some that loves and wants to cares for all furbabies not just want a check.

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  12. From an animal welfare perspective, obviously this is a terrible picture to see.

    But if I were a Memphis resident, seeing something like this would make me concerned about all facets of my city government. The fact that this sort of treatment is not only tolerated but apparently endorsed by leadership is mind-boggling.

    Fortunately or unfortunately, we get the leadership we deserve. Why does Memphis want leadership that produces results such as these?

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  13. Those of you that do not live or work in Memphis don’t seem to know that you “cannot fight city hall.” Corruption abounds! We all know it, not suspect it, but the same folks just keep getting elected. So, in my opinion, the citizens of Memphis get what they deserve for not voting the crooks out of office BUT the animals do NOT deserve the neglect, suffering and death that they receive at a tax paid for shelter or any shelter! It is an absolute disgrace and all of us knew that the new building would not change a thing! Until the employees are NOT protected by their union, until the employees are held accountable, until the management is held accountable and changed from top to bottom NOTHING will change! Privatizing is the only answer and I don’t know how to get that done!

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    1. I don’t pretend to know what all of the answers are, but I fear that privatizing is not the be all end all that everyone suggests.

      Please look at the situation in McCracken County, KY – that was a PRIVATE shelter under contract with the county. There was no accountability in that situation either and because they were privately owned they were able to prevent anyone from coming in and are still doing it today…

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  14. The people of Memphis should hang their heads in shame for their continuing tolerance and enabling of this horror show. These jerks are paid from YOUR tax money, morons! How about at least caring about THAT!!

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  15. Why can’t the Mayor be sued? He’s not doing the job he was elected to do, and he promised to clean up this mess. He didn’t and he apparently won’t and therefore he lied. He can be sued!

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  16. It doesn’t matter who anyone reports anything to. The corruption in this city runs very deep! Deeper than any outsider can imagine. Sure, report filed, investigations conducted, & the outcome…. Everything is just peachy keen. How is that possible? Because MAS staff are warned well in advance of what’s going down. They know who & when people will show up. They clean up & practice their lines and it all goes away. That’s how Demetria Hogan ended up killing “Max”. They called her while she was in the city vehicle and time her the police were at the shelter to arrest her, she stayed out until they went away & Max died. She wasn’t charged with anything as a result of that day.
    Many people often speak ill of FoMAS. Sure they could speak up & fight back from the inside. What’s the reward for that? Being kicked out if the shelter, being told they are no longer needed, and if they show back up as a visitor they are stalked & followed by staff.
    There isn’t a new director yet because AC needs to find someone the city hasn’t heard of before & is easily corruptible.

    The only answer, the only solution, the only way to save the animals is to privatize and AC won’t allow that for some reason.

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    1. Privatization alone may well be worse – just look up ‘Berger Blanc Montreal scandal’ some time when your stomach is up to it. Run by a company for profit, and pretty much a poster child for the concept of ‘perverse incentive.’

      Private *non-profit,* now, that might be an option, provided there were one capable of the work.

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  17. I forwarded your post to all my MAS contacts, as usual. I asked why the employees could not come in an hour earlier to clean the “facility”……fail, fail, fail. Then I asked, Any comments? Any? Anyone? I’ll get a snippy supply for sure.

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  18. Not only is this disgusting but it’s very painful. Their skin will be burned from sitting in urine and feces. There was a horrible case of just this kind of thing when the police department was called to a domestic violence case. When is this insane city going to act on the report from the Rotary Club and privatize this hell hole!!? I’ll send this photo to WREG. I did write to AC Wharton….not that he cares.

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  19. How about volunteering a few hours a week? If everyone that has posted here would volunteer just 2 or 3 hours it may help to clean the cages clean.
    Irresponsibility and the lack of concern for the pet population is where the blame lies…not on the mayor or anyone else….

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    1. Oh Daisy, I’m sure your heart is in the right place. But the fact is that there is no excuse for puppies sitting in filth with no food or water available to them. If you were caught doing that in your home, you could be charged with animal cruelty. But at MAS, it’s business as usual.

      The question is, “Why is this STILL being permitted to happen at MAS?”

      The answer is, “Because they don’t give a rat’s ass about animal welfare and because there’s no leadership to hold them accountable for their actions.”

      The answer is not more volunteers (and heaven knows, people who do want to volunteer have been turned away and treated with hostility). The answer is leadership. MAS needs a shelter director. It does not have one. MAS needs a shelter director who can manage people AND understands the needs of animals in a shelter situation AND is motivated to get those animals out of the shelter alive. As far as I can tell, MAS has never had such a director.

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  20. That’s like saying it’s the citizens’ fault…not the administration. It’s our fault that we won’t volunteer. That’s the same thing that happens in a “blame the victim” case. Do any of us know of anyone who has offered to volunteer and never heard back from the “shelter?” Does anyone remember the night that the mayor’s assistant said that they didn’t want our kind of people working down there?

    It IS the fault of the administration, to be ok with the way things are there….including the fact that there aren’t enough people to take care of the
    animals….for starters. That’s not even going into the corruption, the staff, the “missing dogs”, the ties to dog fighting rings, the fear to speak up.”
    When the shelter is privatized….that’s when you will see a line of people willing to volunteer.

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