Memphis – Does the city’s explanation actually reaffirm the allegations?

The city of Memphis posted a document containing intake and current photos of court case dogs in response to charges that the dogs were being neglected and starved at MAS.  The photos appeared dark to me so I lightened a couple of them and have posted both the originals and the lightened versions below:

Image of dog #234587 as it appears on Memphis document.

Brightened image of dog #234587.

Image of dog #234589 as it appears on Memphis document.

Brightened image of dog #234589.

These dogs do not look well to me. The first dog appears to have the sunken head look of a starving dog and there is diarrhea on the floor next to her. The second dog’s bones are prominent along the spine. If these are the best photos MAS could come up with to prove they aren’t neglecting dogs in their care, I’m worried.

The photos accompany a statement from the city regarding both the recent neglect allegations as well as the recording made of a Memphis city leader ordering all Pitbulls at the pound to be killed.  The statement says, in part, that “rounds are done daily by the veterinarians to address all medical issues, including weight. Animals that require increased feeding are appropriately documented and fed by the techs.”  So the vets and the techs are being thrown under the bus here?

Also in the statement, division director Janet Hooks says that “pit bulls and pit bull mixes represent the largest proportion of animals who enter MAS”.  And yet, in a mystifying effort to refute the allegations that MAS targets the breed for destruction, Ms. Hooks touts the fact that MAS currently has 15 Pitbulls available for adoption.  This is a facility which typically has more than 500 animals on hand at any given time.  Most of the dogs are Pitbulls and yet there are only FIFTEEN available for adoption?

What do you make of the photos and the explanations from the city?  Do you feel reassured?

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41 Comments

  1. Nora Sotomayor

     /  February 17, 2012

    No, this is not at all reassuring. In fact it is doubly disturbing, not only is the condition of the animals the main concern, but the fact that the situation via photos, documents, etc. is not clear and does not make sense is the second reason for worrying. When there is nothing to hide then nothing is tampered in any way at all.
    The corresponding authorities of the City of Memphis should revise the situation and invite a team of members of other animal protection services, not only because these images and information spreads doubt on the their truthfulness, but also because it is a way of getting support and help from others and will involve the public community more.

    Reply
  2. Lisa

     /  February 17, 2012

    I git a tweet from the mayor’s office (responding to my tweet) telling me to go look at these photos, and the first thing I thought was “Ugh, those poor dogs!” They don’t look healthy to me and, c’mon, if you’re going to take P.R. photos to prove your shelter isn’t a hellhole, at least clean up the flippin’ dog s**t in the kennels first!

    Reply
  3. Grrrrrrr

     /  February 17, 2012

    Wait, so they can take photos of animals and post them on the internet for other people to see? I had no idea that was even possible! If only there was a software that they could use so that people could see every animal brought in and either fall in love or find their lost pet. Someone should look into that.

    Reply
    • haha – yes apparently it can be done. And if anyone recalls, Jody Fisher was fired as a volunteer after she posted a photo of a neglected court case dog online. Do as I say, not as I do.

      Reply
  4. mikken

     /  February 17, 2012

    The fact that they submitted these photos to be some kind of proof that everything was fine speaks volumes.

    It is very clear that the people in charge do not realize that these photos are more damning than reassuring. It is very clear that Chelton Beamon (who undoubtedly was the one who took the photos) does not know what a sick/underweight dog looks like. He also doesn’t realize that it might be a good idea to clean up the diarrhea before taking a picture. What else doesn’t he know? Just how deeply does his incompetence run?

    And it’s not just incompetence. It’s the total lack of compassion. The total lack of empathy. This is not a good combination for any acting shelter director, let alone a human being.

    Reply
  5. Jody Fisher

     /  February 17, 2012

    Yes, I was!!!!. The old double standards…..just like what happens at MAS is okay (starving dogs, etc), yet, if those dogs were starved by their owners, at home, that would constitue animal cruelty…..go figure!
    @Grrrr- they DO have that software- it is called Chameleon Software. MAS has had it for years but refuses to use it …..

    Reply
  6. Grrrrrrr

     /  February 17, 2012

    Jodi, I know. It was a bad attempt at sarcasm. :)

    Reply
    • No, it was good. I got it!

      Reply
      • Jody Fisher

         /  February 17, 2012

        I thought that might be the case – but JUST in case we have a new reader, here, I wanted to make sure they knew that MAS has ALL of the resources they need to showcase EVERY animal in that place, but choose not to because that would mean they actually wanted to adopt out the pets instead of killing them…

  7. I think they’re trying to cover up misdeeds and make excuses! We need change and frequent follow up!

    Reply
  8. Grrrrrrr

     /  February 17, 2012

    Good point Jody. :)

    Reply
  9. bektex

     /  February 17, 2012

    I sent MAS an email this morning about the reform that is needed and the pics that were posted. I got back this in response:

    Sent from MASboard@memphistn.gov:
    Upcoming Events

    Yappy Hour Adoption Event every Thursday, 4:00 PM through 7:00 PM Adoption price $40 (please stop by at your convenience)

    Upcoming off site Adoptions:
    Thursday, February 23 – Volunteer Mid-South Expo at Oak Court Mall.
    March 2, 3, 4 – Home Builders Association at Agri-Center International.

    OTHER NOTEWORTHY EVENTS:

    WE OFFER SPAY/NEUTER VOUCHERS TO MAKE THE SERVICE AFFORDABLE TO CITY RESIDENTS.

    OUTREACH TO THE SPANISHI SPEAKING COMMUNITY
    MAS FEATURED ON PREGUNTAS REALES. RESPUESTAS REALES. (REAL QUESTIONS. REAL ANSWERS.), Wednesday, January 25, 2012, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. The show represents one of many efforts that we will pursue in 2012 to educate the Spanish speaking populations of ordinances pertaining to pet ownership in the City of Memphis.

    We recently produced and posted on-line the MAS ordinance card that can be shared with citizens of Memphis whose primary language is Spanish.

    Animal Behavior Training Class was offered to citizens free of charge on 1/14/2012

    I have been sending emails daily to the Members of the MAS board and Mayor Wharton, and I will continue to send an email a day every day, until I start to see change.

    Reply
  10. mikken

     /  February 17, 2012

    Apparently, the volunteers (minus the FoMAS leader, who will not back them up – remember, she was there in 2009 and continued to say and do nothing to change things) have been trying to speak up and are not being supported or listened to. The ACO who filed the report with the police risked her job to do so.

    There are good people there who are desperate to fix things…how can we help them?

    Reply
    • Occupy MAS! Obviously e-mails, letters, petitions, phone calls, and protests aren’t having an impact. Maybe a new approach?

      Reply
  11. Very sad state our animal facilities are in these days, not just here but throughout the U.S., it’s just a testament to how we care for abused & abandoned animals, not very well I’m afraid. I used to work with a woman who rescued Pitbulls & Mastiffs in NYC and each and everyone of those beautiful creatures were amazingly gentle, so unlike what most people are led to believe only because of uncaring unfeeling individuals who use these animals for their own gain. Looking at those pictures it just breaks my heart to see that kind of care.

    Reply
  12. mikken

     /  February 17, 2012

    According to the ABC24 article comments, there are only 11 active volunteers. Those who support Jeanne wouldn’t back the rebels. That likely leaves only a few willing to come forward.

    For an effective occupation, they’d need backing of other groups – SOS Memphis, etc.

    Reply
    • Arlene

       /  February 17, 2012

      They need the Shelby Sheriff’s Department to investigate! They’ve done it before and gotten results. Sorry to say the justice system is still not finished with those three, but at least get these abusers out of there.

      Reply
    • The volunteers who met with Hooks/Hall did not try to “recruit” other volunteers. Many volunteers had no idea the meeting was even taking place. The group was made up only a handful of volunteers who felt the need to try and affect a change and see some improvements. No one was trying to stage a mutiny or turn any volunteers against the shelter. The shelter needs as many good volunteers as it can get and I hope they don’t see many resign over this. The volunteers are all those animals have and a mass exodus of volunteers would only hurt the animals.

      Reply
      • “It will only hurt the animals” is the rallying cry of enablers. It is an attempt to justify their consent by silence of the abuse and needless killing of shelter pets at the facility where they work/rescue/volunteer. It happens everywhere. And despite the efforts of the enablers, the animals are still hurting.

      • mikken

         /  February 18, 2012

        “it will only hurt the animals”. How about “nothing will change, ever”? Because nothing has changed. This is 2009 all over again.

        If the volunteers united, staged a strike, contacted the media and told their story, the administration might be embarrassed into some kind of action. Even if it’s just giving the volunteers more leeway to clean and tend the animals…

        The other alternative is for the volunteers to start documenting EVERYTHING. Photos, writing things down, all of it. Names, dates, activities. That way, when the Sheriff’s dept comes down on MAS, the volunteers can *finally* be a force for change in the form of witnesses.

    • mikken

       /  February 18, 2012

      S, so only a handful of volunteers are looking to affect change? The others are…ok with what’s going on?

      Well, huge props to those who stepped forward and initiated the discussion! That took guts.

      But I have to wonder what the internal politics of FMAS are that they don’t present a united front *demanding* change at their shelter where they spend their blood, sweat, and tears every day?

      Reply
      • Shelby Hartman

         /  February 19, 2012

        It’s because if too much get stirred up by the volunteers, they fear they will shut down the volunteer program. And the volunteers do make a difference, scary as that may be. If they weren’t there I can’t imagine what that place would be like but it would make the current state of it look like a luxury pet hotel. And some of the volunteers probably aren’t aware because they are new and haven’t gotten as involved as deeply, or they choose to ignore it because they know if they say anything outside of the confines of the shelter walls they will be asked to leave.

      • Shelby Hartman

         /  February 20, 2012

        And volunteers do document things, photograph things, time the length of time that staff are standing around doing nothing, etc . And when that gets forwarded to LaSonya Hall, not only does she do nothing, she doesn’t even respond to the email.

      • In that case, why would Jeanne write Lasonya Hall’s e-mail on a post-it note and hand it to you when you went to her with concerns? When you are a leader, you must lead. Leadership means addressing issues and trying your hardest to get results. A post-it note with an e-mail address of someone who is known to ignore concerns is not leadership. If Lasonya Hall is ignoring the documents and evidence presented to her, she does not deserve to be in a position of leadership either. There are many ways to work around these kinds of people, as I’ve outlined in countless posts and comments so I won’t bore everyone again here.

      • Shelby Hartman

         /  February 21, 2012

        I have no idea why she did it. Someone just told me she had outed the ACO who filed the complaint, as well. If this woman provided evidence on which the 2009 raid was based, you would think she would be all for people trying to point out problems at the shelter when they are valid complaints.

  13. Jennifer

     /  February 17, 2012

    Is the first dog pregnant or just recently had pups? She could have an issue regarding this-malnutrition, problem with pregnancy, etc. She definitely does not look good. Too bad the picture does not show her standing so we could see how thin she is!

    Reply
    • That girl is pregnant and diverting all her resources to her puppies, as mothers will do. She’s just starting to bag up on her rear teats, so she’s due pretty soon.

      The diarrhea suggests that she is being fed something, and that she is likely shot through with intestinal parasites (as will often happen in late pregnancy) and unable to get the benefit of whatever starchy crud is in her bowl. Three days of fenbendazole would do a lot to put her right.

      I’m sure whomever took the photo would say “See, great big belly!”

      There are people who see photos of starving babies in Biafra and say “See, great big belly!” too.

      I wanna see her spine.

      Odds are not good on her pups surviving. This can be a deliberate population control strategy in certain places.

      Reply
    • 1 Voice

       /  February 18, 2012

      Jennifer, the dogs are bloated. When Hooks, et al, got wind of the police report filed by the ACO, they went into action trying to fatten the dogs up. The lady whose dogs they were holding in the court case area had been given permission by the Judge to get her dogs back. MAS would not let her have them. In other words, they wouldn’t return them until they had them fattened up and could send out their propaganda.

      Reply
      • Overfeeding is the most common cause (in my experience) of diarrhea. MAS probably loaded up their bowls with some crappy kibble that yields little digestible nutrients under the best of circumstances and caused the poor dogs further harm.

  14. What is up with the first dog’s eyes? One appears to be an empty socket.

    Reply
  15. Ann Mitchell

     /  February 17, 2012

    I agree, OCCUPY MAS. Nothing to date has changed Mas. I think hundreds of cititzens should appear there on a set date with signs and signed petitions. It will need to be a large number of humane folks….but with the media,it just might start a change. Of course a civil gathering but a determined gathering.

    Reply
  16. I will feel reassured when Hooks, Wharton and Co. are locked behind those bars instead of those poor dogs.

    Reply
  17. 1 Voice

     /  February 18, 2012

    To start, there will be a protest tomorrow (Sunday) in Memphis at 2:00 PM at the corner of Poplar and Highland. If you can make it, we really need your support!!!

    Reply
    • Laceysmom

       /  February 18, 2012

      Which corner of Poplar & Highland?

      Reply
      • 1 Voice

         /  February 18, 2012

        All 4 !!!!
        Park in the retail center parking lot facing Highland. We’ll meet there by Spin City record shop.

    • Jessica C

       /  February 19, 2012

      Plz let us know of the details (those who cant make it).

      These pics and stories just get more and more heartbreaking. We really need Nathan Winograd or something here.

      Reply
  18. Carla

     /  February 19, 2012

    if this http://www.cityofmemphis.org/pdf_forms/MAS_Statement_Pictures.pdf is supposed to be before and after pictures of the dogs on hold…. these are not even the same dogs! Please tell me that this is not what they sent out to show that the dogs are in good shape. 234587 “might” be the same dog, but she didn’t have her tits swelled up in the first pic (please tell me she didn’t get pregnant and give birth while she was there) the other dogs aren’t even the same color or breed! Please explain. I really hate MAS.

    Reply

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