It Gets the Chokepole Again

The clips in this post, like all those featured these past several days, are from security cameras at the Memphis pound, obtained via FOIA request.  The footage spans a 12 hour period on a single day in February.  The images range from just plain sad to disturbing and reflect a long standing culture of neglect and abuse at MAS where 3 out of every 4 pets are killed.  The city assures us that these security cameras have been monitored for many months at the police department and yet, no one has been arrested for animal cruelty.  In fact, no meaningful action has been taken by the city in response to these documented acts of animal cruelty by city employees.  The abuse at MAS stands, as it always has, and as it always will until someone takes action.

We’ve already tried writing to the mayor and city leaders with our concerns.  No action.  We’ve asked the state attorney general to investigate.  No action.  Can we ask the grand jury to investigate?  How do we go about it?  Any other ideas?

The first video is comprised of snippets from a few hours of MAS security camera footage from this hallway.  Knowing that most pets do not leave MAS alive, I wanted to capture images of some of the dogs who passed through. The first dog is dropping feces while the worker is pulling him along. The second dog is limping but still looks happy to be out of the cage. I hate to think where he was probably going. The next couple dogs look so scared to me. I just want to reach out and give them a reassuring pat. All they got was a chokepole. The last dog resisted to the best of his ability.

The dog in this clip is petrified.  He could use a patient human and a kind word.  He gets the chokepole.

It hurts to see dogs treated this way, especially by our public servants who are paid to protect pets from harm.

If anyone knows if any of these dogs are still alive at MAS, please let me know. I would like to help.


41 thoughts on “It Gets the Chokepole Again

  1. It is getting more and more difficult to watch these videos – those poor defenseless dogs……this renders me speechless.

  2. I know how you feel Jody. I can’t click on them anymore. I can’t get them out of my head. I just don’t know what else to do. I’ve written. I’ve called. I can’t foster or adopt more. It’s soul crushing.

    1. It’s understandable that some people can not watch. I am forcing myself to watch because I don’t want these pets to have suffered and (probably) died in vain. I want to give them a voice. When I watch them being mistreated and betrayed by their would-be protectors, I think to myself, “You are not forgotten. You are loved. I will remember you and keep fighting for you.”

      One day change will come to Memphis. And when it does, I will be thinking of every pet who was yanked, dragged, choked, poked, squished, starved, or made to feel as if they were worthless. I will think of them and grieve but I will also be happy to know that no more pets will ever have to suffer this way in Memphis again. That day will come. I believe.

      1. Ironically, after I posted that… I went back and watched every single one of them for that very reason.

      2. Oh, as difficult as it is to view the videos, I watch each and every one of them. I also don’t want them to be forgotten…. It just hurts so much- knowing what they went through and unfortunately, still going through. We can’t stop now!!!!

  3. I am just sick when I see these videos. There is no way this behavior can be justified. MAS needs a total makeover. NOW!

    Emilie in Brentwood

  4. You know, as more I look at the pictures and the videos from MAS as more clear it becomes to me that the Police Department of Memphis probably never has looked at this footage. If they have, then they obviously don’t give a shit.

  5. This is all ONE DAY. A single day. None of these people seem to carry treats or know how to kneel down, present your side to the dog, speak kindly and encouragingly.

    And none of them seem at all aware of canine body language…or perhaps they don’t care because that would mean that you have to, you know, LOOK at the dog you’re handling once in a while.

    It’s all force. Force and total apathy. They may as well be moving boxes or trash for all they care. Actually, I’ll bet the employees at Fed Ex employ more care for the packages they move. At least they worry about damage…

  6. All I can say is wow. These clips seem to only consist of using poles. One thing I noticed in the second clip is that the worker gave up and just ran to the pole. It didnt seem like she wanted to drag the dog, and the pole seemed like the way out. Im no dog expert and Im not defending the mistreatment at all, but it seems like she didnt know what else to do. The dog seemed resistant. Maybe more training would have helped?

    1. Sue, the dog was terrified. What he needed was for her to kneel down, hold out a hand and speak kindly to him. But I guess using a chokepole (incorrectly, of course, as they ALL do) was just easier than taking thirty seconds to try and comfort him at all.

      1. It breaks my heart when she just leaves him alone and he’s almost too scared to move but he slinks over to the other dog, as if for comfort.

      2. Mikken, I understand what you mean you obviously know more about pooches than I do! But that seems like something that someone has to be told I could be wrong but I dont think the average person knows that. When I got my first dog I was clueless and took him to behavior classes where I learned right along with him. My pov may be different because I have taken those classes, but Im no expert but it didnt seem like she was trying to harm the pooch.

      3. Sue, my thought wasn’t that she didn’t want to drag the dog but rather that she didn’t want to cause herself physical discomfort in doing so. I’ve never dragged a dog down a hall on a leash but I certainly have been dragged by dogs and it hurts my hand/wrist/arm/shoulder/back. The chokepole eases that discomfort for the handler I think while increasing the discomfort for the dog.

    2. So she didn’t want to drag the dog – what do you think she did with the choke pole! She didn’t empathise with the dog at all. They all know what they should be doing but sadly, they truly don’t give a crap about the animals that are supposed to be in their care. Just drag the dog out – it’s gonna be killed anyway!

  7. any local news tv people that can be call??? is a petition going on???…I can’t watch things like this it will hunt me iI know how horribles things are I dont have to see it to know…any numbers or e-mail to send comments to this people….maybe send this clips to tv stations…we know this continues on !!!!!…let’s do something….upset in NY.

  8. I lit a candle. I reflected. I asked questions. All I can say is there is a chokepole in hell with the names of every jerk who dragged an animal as if it were a sack of shit. I think I would even volunteer to go to hell just to see their expressions…I’ll likely wind up there anyway, at least there’ll be free entertainment! So um, when is the OCCUPY MAS demo???????

  9. What we need to do is a petition. NOW. The petition needs to specifically ask for the shelter to be managed by a private not for profit organization. We get a ton of signatures and we send it to the mayor, the Attorney General, the news AND Steve Cohen. He will do something. If you make it public enough. I will start writing it, but I need help. Lots of it. Or if someone wants to start the text and we should all have input. I am so sick of this. Other cities have no kill shelters and we can too.

    1. First you need a group that wants to take on the responsibilty. They did a RFP back in December (granted it was a totally half assed attempt) and got no interest

  10. What about a group of Memphis animal lovers taking these videos to the Shelby Sheriff’s Department and filing charges; actually filling out papers to charge MAS with cruel and inhumane treatment of animals in their care.

      1. Perhaps an actual trip to the Chief of Police’s office would work better than a phone call. That way the charges could be filed right away.

      2. I only wish there was some other place to report it than to the place that is supposed to be monitoring the cameras. I mean, if they were to take it seriously, investigate, and make arrests, they’d basically be admitting they were falling down on the job, right? Somehow I don’t see that happening. Of course the Mayor et al *could* have been lying when they said the cameras were being monitored at MPD, I don’t know…

  11. Not to justify where they’re taking these dogs (most likely); but wouldn’t it be a lot easier on the dogs (regardless of the destination) if they were placed on some type of dolly and *wheeled* down the hallway and between rooms, instead of being dragged everywhere? I mean, I’m certainly no dog expert — I’m a cat person — but it just seems to me that a better mousetrap (for lack of a better term) would’ve been employed by now, with this recurring intra-shelter transport problem. Using chokepoles and dragging the poor animals everywhere just adds injury to insult.

      1. Well, I’m just thinking, maybe that’s one of the reforms that could be lobbied for, in addition to their getting rid of those stupid inhumane chokepoles. If the use of a dolly cart was mandated, then they wouldn’t have an ~excuse~ to choke and drag dogs around.

      2. I would be afraid they would run over the dogs with the wheels or bounce them off the cart or drag them. These workers are sick! When I was in school, we were taught, the best restraint is the least restraint. They seem to use the most restraint because they don’t care.

      3. They’ve certainly used the garbage can before. Unfortunately, the garbage is still there!

    1. The MAS Employees and administrators are the Problem the chokepole is a tool to be even more incompetent in doing their jobs. You can take the chokepole away but abuse will still continue. Those employees need to be let go.

  12. That ACO, who is in the third video, always infuriates me. Shes always pulling her weight around trying to act superior by having the dogs be inferior but really shes just being a cruel bitch. Sorry if that is too harsh, but thats how I feel.

    The lady in the 2nd video was at least going to start using a leash, so got to give her props here, but if she just gave the dog a pat on the head or got down to his level in some way, Im sure he wouldve continued on rather than having to go and get the chokepole. That dog was so scared that it made me so sad I almost cried.

    The first video was dragging dogs along, as usual, but what astonished me was just the sheer number of dogs going through there with them. Is it that hard to bring a dog along without one?? When I volunteered at the HSUS (back a long long time ago) I brought dogs out all the time and never even saw a chokepole there!

    1. Those dogs in the first video were no doubt being taken to the kill room. I’m afraid now we know where that room is.

  13. What a bunch of garbage they have employed at this hell hole. Sadly pathetic excuses for human beings!

  14. Anybody notice that the *badass* gal treated the golden retriever mix EXACTLY the same as the pit mixes? I mean, the golden was being a GOLDEN! Probably would have hopped up on the scale if she’d bothered to tap it, and was watching her body language and was hopping down off and following along behind. SHE never bothered to even look! They are indeed bags of garbage to her.
    I venture those other dogs might have reacted better too if they’d been given half a clue about ANYTHING. Almost every animal (except that lame limping one, and the little spotted guy that was leading his person to the kill room…) is in *shut-down* mode.
    It’s worse when they are coming in off the truck. I want so badly to be there for them—to greet them, to cuddle them, to give them a moment to breathe and acclimate. How awful it must be to be brought there. I’m so sorry.

  15. How difficult can it be to give pieces of dry dog food or treats to get these dogs to walk instead of dragging them across the floor with a chokepole?

    Would anyone know if these same employees are doing the evaluations of the dogs? If so, no wonder many dogs are considered unadoptable. The dogs are scared to death of these employees that are abusing them with the chokepoles.

      1. I’ve seen supervisors “making the rounds,” preparing the euth list for the next day. I personally have never seen a supervisor interact with a dog before writing their ID number down. Usually just a quick glance at the dog and their cage card. This is exactly why we added the euth list to our document of concerns/solutions we took to Hall and Hooks. We wanted to know the exact policy for who gets euthanized and why, and we thought there should be more than one person involved in the process. We were laughed at and told we didn’t know what we were talking about.

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