Action Alert: Contact Memphis Mayor Regarding Neglect at the Pound

In 2009, on Mayor Wharton’s first day in office, sheriff’s deputies raided the Memphis pound and the subsequent investigation determined that MAS was starving dogs to death.  In response to the public outcry, Mayor Wharton promised reform and transparency at the pound, installing live streaming webcams accessible by the public.  Mayor Wharton broke his promises.  After the webcams revealed apparent abuse of pets at the pound, Mayor Wharton had them removed in 2011.  Reform never came.

In 2012, there are again allegations of dogs being starved at MAS: uncovered an animal control worker filed a police report earlier this month about shelter conditions.

According to the police report, there has been and continues to be neglect at the shelter. The animal control officer stated that as of last week, she found several dogs emaciated and sickly. The report also said the animal control officer advised management on several occasions that the animals were not being fed or cared for, and after telling management, no one took action.

Management does not care.  I am thankful one ACO stood up and took action but this person needs support.  There is a systemic rot in the politics of abuse and needless pet killing in Memphis.

Please contact Mayor Wharton and speak for the pets at MAS.  Demand that the mayor keep his promises of transparency and reform.  A sample note is included below which anyone is free to copy.  If you prefer to write your own letter, please keep your comments respectful.

Dear Mayor Wharton,

In 2009, you promised the pets at the Memphis pound would no longer be starving or neglected.  You had public webcams installed so that there would be no secrets as to how the pets at the pound were treated.  But when those webcams revealed what appears to be mistreatment and abuse, you had them removed.  Now there is a report that dogs are again being neglected and starved at your pound.

Please reinstall the public webcams immediately and bring meaningful reform to the pound.  Memphis can not afford to remain a pet killing city any longer.  The link below provides information about how Memphis could restore the public’s confidence, save money and pets’ lives by transforming the community to no kill.  Please let me know if I can help in any way.


Mayor Wharton, contact information:

Office of the Mayor, 125 N. Main Street, Memphis, TN 38103

Fax:  (901) 576-6200

Phone:  (901) 576-6000


Mayor Wharton on Twitter

Post comments on his Facebook page.

29 thoughts on “Action Alert: Contact Memphis Mayor Regarding Neglect at the Pound

  1. Since the Memphis PD is monitoring the Shelter with cameras, there is nothing to worry about, right? Right?

    1. The fact that the place wasn’t raided the day after the Memphis PD starting (supposedly) monitoring the security cameras 24/7 tells me all I need to know about that.

    2. I can almost assure you that MPD is not monitoring the videos! In fact, the new shelter has been open for months and the city just now figured out that the “backup system” for footage was not even working. Duh.

  2. Why is the mayor’s facebook page blocked – preventing posts?
    And as a side note: security cameras or not, the city officials and city employees don’t give a crap about the shelter – otherwise the situation whould have been cleaned up and running right by now. This abuse and blatant negligence has been going on for years…YEARS! If the squeaky wheel gets the oil we need all the squeaks we can get…….PLEASE bombard all of the city officials you can and help us force them do the right thing!

  3. Great job Officer [redacted] the best ACO MAS has ever had! We need more like [redacted] You are the only hope we have.

  4. Does the Dept. of Ag. have any say in TN shelters? Would it be at all helpful to contact them, do you think? It’s just very frustrating to know that we’ve been pointing out the issues at the shelter for YEARS now and the Mayor et al continue to handwave the concerns…

    1. It’s not really structured that way in TN. That’s why we wrote to the AG requesting an investigation be opened. Still waiting by the phone for that call.

  5. The only office that helped shut down the previous administrator there was the Sheriff’s office. Couldn’t hurt to ask them to investigate. The police are too connected with city hall.

      1. I’ve never gotten a polite letter back from the Gov or any letter at all. As far as I know, he could care less about shelter pets.

      2. Well, that would put him right up there with all of Memphis officials, wouldn’t it?

  6. In the past two days, you have seentwo stories from ABC Eyewitness News about horrific things that are going on at Memphis Animal Services. Many who are out of town do not know what to do at this point. My first suggestion would be to pray as hard as you can that reform will soon come to Memphis Animal Services. We cannot continue with these atrocities. Pray for Memphis Police Department as they conduct their investigation. Pray for the animals who continue to suffer at this facility.

    Here are some other suggestions on how you can help now.

    Step 1: Send the information about the two stories to as many people as you can, including via social media;

    Here are the links to both stories:



    Step 2: Post comments to both stories underneath each story on ABC24 news

    Step 3: Email Mayor Wharton, Director Janet Hooks and Deputy Director LaSonya Hall

    AC Wharton – Mayor of the City of Memphis
    City Hall
    125 N. Main St. Room 700
    Memphis, Tn 38103
    Phone: (901) 576-6000

    Janet Hooks, Director
    Public Services and Neighborhoods
    125 North Main
    Ste. 200
    Memphis, Tn 38103
    Phone: (901) 636-6564

    Lasonya Hall, Deputy Director
    Public Services and Neighborhoods
    125 North Main
    Ste. 200
    Memphis, Tn 38103
    Phone: (901) 636-6564

    Step 4: Go to abc24 website and post comments on both stories;

    Step 5: Submit Letters to the Editor of the Memphis Commercial Appeal and let them know you are not from Memphis

    Step 6: Visit our website at for more information.

    Thanks again for your concern.

    Jan Courtney

  7. I have been forwarding all these emails to the Mayor, City Council, my congressman, and the MAS board. I always ask for comments, but, of course, don’t get any. Sent the one last night with the photos of feces in the cages. It is absolutely abhorrent. But I try everything I can. They read them, but too scared to respond. One time they asked me to clarify some paperwork. I nearly blew my head off on that one. I think I will stop by tomorrow, just for the heck of it. I know they just love me….hehehehe. I’m very determined though. Guess I will just have to write another letter to the editor, they hate when I do that. Yep.

  8. The mayor would like you all to go look at photos taken of dogs said to be starving in the hold area. Take a look –

    Mind you, he’s posting these photos to show you that all is well at MAS (and promoting the fact that they have 15 pit bulls available for adoption right now! whee!). I’m just not sure he looked at them, first…

    Let’s go through them together, shall we?

    234587 – dog is standing against cage front, unable to determine from this angle. the diarrhea on the floor in the current photo is very clear, though.

    234588 – oh dear. this is not even the same dog in both photos. typical of MAS’s excellent record-keeping. the dog’s position and coat may be hiding ribs, but the muscle loss in the skull is disturbing and enough to make you go, “hmmm”.

    234589 – I think this was 234588 in the original photo. No matter, because this dog’s vertebrae are clearly visible. This dog needs groceries asap.

    234590 – this dog may be ok. hard to tell from body position. nice poop on the “bed”, though.

    Remember kids, these are the photos that the mayor put out there to show you everything is A-OK at MAS!

    What do you see? Share with the class, won’t you?

    1. I see enclosed boxes reminesent of sardine cans. There is stark nothingness for a reality of the last days inside a tin can. How’s the echo chamber effects? All they have to look forward to at MAS is death.

  9. I currently have foster kittens from their that probably won’t ever see that place again. I have already gotten them their shots and will be getting them spayed and neutered soon. I had them for almost three months before anyone chose to call me to check on them and this is after I called and left countless messages asking about vaccinations for them. I really feel for any animal in there. When I picked up these babies, I watched someone feed a group of 6 kittens in a cage one very small can of food. They did not even bother taking it out of the can. They had to eat it out of the can…6 kittens had to eat from a can. One of the kittens I picked up (and its cagemate – his brother) had clearly not had any water all day. Their water bowl had litter in it…dry litter, none was clumped as if there had been any water in the bowl anytime that day. When I asked a technician at the desk to put some water in that cage for the other kitten, he said no, not in that cage.This place needs lots of help even if it has to be run by the volunteers. All the animals got when they moved to the new place was a “new place”…not better care.

  10. This has gone on long enough and is obviously out of control. The mayor needs to know that the people of Memphis will not allow things to continue as they are! Emails and editorials are simply not enough. They have already received scores of them and have done nothing.

    If someone could please organize a public gathering at the mayor’s office to demand an immediate plan of action for the reform of the animal shelter, I’m sure there will be many supporters who will show up!

    Utilize Facebook and Twitter will help to spread the word, and thousands will likely respond, and show up in support of immediate reform.

    1. here’s a comment on his wall from
      Shelley Hamilton..
      I hope you both prayed for better days at Memphis Animal Services. Are you doing anything about that besides deleting your FB post?

  11. I emailed the governor and the editor of that website someone gave a link to. At this point, Im desperate. How can we organize another sherrif raid on that place or something?? What else can we do (more so us who live out of state)??

  12. i am still sick over what i read about the the three men charged for horrific animal abuse a couple of weeks ago , who hires these monsters?! iam so disturbed by it and so very angry! i cannot believe their are skum like these sorry bastards who i hope go straight to hell working at the memphis animal shelter. i hope they get what they deserve and then some! reap what you sow! what goes around comes around!NO MORE EXCUSES FOR THIS TYPE OF TORTURE! i am sure i am not alone on this one!!!!!!!!!

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