UPDATED: Raising Funds for a Memphis FOIA Request

HALT!  No more donations needed.  We have reached our goal. Thank you everyone.  I will keep everyone posted, as always.  I had initially thought we had exceeded the goal because ChipIn sent me the “goal reached” notification before I received notification of the final donation.  I guess ChipIn puts a stop to the collecting after you reach your goal.

Original post:

Memphis will allow us a brief look at what goes on behind closed doors at the pound – but it will cost about $200.

The webcams were installed at the Memphis pound to reassure the public that pets were not being abused after sheriff’s deputies raided the facility in 2009.  But what they appeared to show was that pets were still being abused and the webcams became a thorn in the side of the city politicians and those caught perpetrating the abuse.  So the webcams were removed in November 2011.  There are however 48 security cameras throughout the pound which record footage 24/7.  I don’t know how many people, if any, monitor these feeds.  But I think someone should.

A TN resident, Lou Ann, has filed a request with the city to obtain 12 hours worth of footage from the security cameras at the pound.  (Regular readers will remember Lou Ann helping to save Henry and Mario from being killed at MAS.  She has also filed numerous FOIA requests as part of the effort to hold the city accountable for the needless killings at the pound.)  The city has stated that it will take approximately 4 hours to copy the DVDs at a rate of $50.06/hr.  They will also be charging 45 cents per DVD.  So the good news is that despite a tough economy, someone in Memphis gets paid $50.06 an hour to copy DVDs.  (You locals should be on the lookout in case this person ever vacates his position although I can’t imagine why anyone would leave that sweet job.)  The bad news is it’s estimated to cost slightly over $200 to buy this security camera footage.

A ChipIn has been set up to help with this cost.  Lou Ann has generously offered to put up the funds to pay the city but I’m hoping we can collect enough to reimburse her ASAP.  If you would like to donate towards the effort to hold Memphis accountable for how they treat pets at the pound, please visit this ChipIn.  (There is also a mailing address at the link for anyone who prefers to contribute via check.)  Donations of one dollar or any amount that is comfortable for you are welcome and appreciated.  I will post some (not all obviously) of the security camera footage on the blog so the public can see what’s going on at the pound.  It’s not nearly as good as having the livestreaming webcams, but it’s something at least.  And the pets in Memphis can use every little something they can get.

Please take note:  Any funds raised will be used to reimburse Lou Ann for the purchase of security camera video from the Memphis pound.  This money is not being used for any other purpose and no such alternative purpose is implied.

This is the only known image of Dog #A227027, captured by MAS webcam after she was left to suffer in a cage behind locked doors for more than 3 days. She is pictured here being led away to the kill room.

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20 Comments

  1. I don’t have much, but I donated. Thank you, Lou Ann! Thank you Shirley for setting up this chip-in. Now lets hope they don’t give you footage of the shelter between 8:00 pm- 8:00 am. I hope I have the option to buy a copy

    Reply
    • Shared on FaceBook..

      Reply
    • Thanks Dot. The hours requested were from 7am to 7pm on a day the place was open so I assume the footage will reflect how the workers are caring for pets there normally. I am pretty limited in my knowledge of video and I honestly don’t know what to expect with 48 cameras but we’ll see what we get. Whatever the case, I don’t charge $50 an hour…

      Reply
      • I would love to get $50 an hour.. just one hour a week would be a big help to me and my fur babies.

      • Maybe the city of Memphis will allow you to telecommute!

      • I’m not sure what that means, but I have a feeling MAS is not going to let anyone do anything positive for any of the companion pets imprisoned in that place

  2. Lou Ann

     /  February 14, 2012

    Thank you, Shirley, for help via your blog! I tried several times to set up my own chip-in but must be technology challenged because I could never get it to work! Thank you very much.

    Reply
  3. HALT! No more donations needed. We have reached our goal. Thank you everyone. I will keep everyone posted, as always. I had initially thought we had exceeded the goal because ChipIn sent me the “goal reached” notification before I received notification of the final donation. I guess ChipIn puts a stop to the collecting after you reach your goal.

    Reply
    • OK, I think I got it straight now. We DID collect over the goal but one of the donations (for $20) was not listed as being officially received yet because it was made in the form of an e-check. There is a slight delay on ChipIn getting those funds so what we have right now is $190.78 (after the fees were taken out) and in a few days, we’ll have $20 more dollars (less fees) so it should work out to be just about perfect.

      Please no one ask me to do any more math today. I’m whipped.

      Reply
  4. elizabeth tracey

     /  February 14, 2012

    It is a shame and a disgrace that cameras are needed to make sure pets are not mistreated while in the Memphis Animal Shelter. Most of them don’t stand a chance of getting out and so sad to know that some people don’t have enough compassion to treat them kindly in their last few hours or days of life on earth. Only people that love animals should be hired as a policy.

    Reply
  5. I’m curious about something…when I made the request for Security footage from my County ($780) and yes they did everything to deter me. Their camera footage was erased after 9 days and they have 10 days to comply with a Public Records Request. So I was getting the good old fashion shelter run around.

    I’d love to know what exactly you asked to get them to comply, because all I got was…avoid…avoid…avoid…and $780.00…avoid some more..

    Thanks for any help on this issue!

    Reply
    • Memphis erases after 30 days. That killed one of the requests. But they have 5 days to respond to the FOIA request and so, even though they were late in responding on this request, we made it clear that we did not want the footage erased in the meantime. Is there someone in the county who can be cc’d on your requests so that they don’t feel so free to work you over like that?

      Reply
      • I’m working with the Compliance Officer now and I have also found out who made these Security Cameras including the model number (since I have experience with Security Cameras). I have research the cameras through the company that makes them.

        I will redo my records request to be very detailed when I do it a second time so they can’t squirm out of it with their excuses and extreme cost that was used just to deter me. I’ll put the same language in that you did about not erasing that specific day.
        Thank you.

      • You are also entitled to an explanation as to how they arrive at their so-called reasonable fees. Keep me posted. Good luck.

  6. Linda R

     /  February 14, 2012

    I just feel ill.

    Reply
  7. ezbuddy

     /  February 14, 2012

    When a request for footage is requested, do you actually believe any incriminating footage will be left intact? You are dealing with a city that isn’t above unethical behavior.

    I once requested my personal records from a city owned hospital. What I received was a fairy tale. Any implication of foul actions were completely removed, changed or falseified. I’ve learned that only a court order to IMMEDIATELY provide records, without any chance of falsifications, is the only way to keep them honest.

    Reply
  8. ezbuddy

     /  February 14, 2012

    I don’t believe for one second the city of Memphis will ever release a document, film or video, that is intact, that hasn’t been gone over with a fine tooth comb for ANYTHING incriminating to them.

    I support any effort to access video footage from MAS (Memphis Animals Suffering), yet I cannot trust the city to comply with valid untouched video. It’s yet to be seen.

    Reply
  9. Jessica C

     /  March 10, 2012

    So you have to spend $500+ in order to obtain records that could be for free since they have the webcam technology anyway. Unbelivable. And then they say they dont have enough money.

    Reply

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