MAS Interim Director Interviewed on Local News

On the one hand, I expect a certain spin when our public servants speak to the media.  On the other hand, if the spin is so great that it obliterates any sense of transparency and accountability, I have to call foul.  The newly appointed interim director at the Memphis pound gave an interview to the local Fox affiliate yesterday.  Did he tell us anything we haven’t already read in the paper?  Did he give us a sense that meaningful reform has come to MAS?  Did he even answer a single question?

I love that his response to the question of public access to the security cameras is FOIA.  He must have forgot the part about how it takes months to get the footage, how the city erases the day you’ve requested, how they say they’re protecting it for you and then say oops – it no longer exists, how they won’t tell you what the cameras show and oh yeah – the city charges hundreds of dollars for it.  But yeah, it is in a theoretical sense a v a i l a b l e.  Like the way the lottery jackpot is a v a i l a b l e, I guess.  If Mr. Rogers’ idea of public transparency from a pound bearing ample evidence of animal cruelty is FOIA, I don’t think we are on the same page.


25 thoughts on “MAS Interim Director Interviewed on Local News

  1. Interesting. I just sent an email this morning to the Mayor, James Rogers, and all Council Members echoing your comments as well as a recent post from Nathan Winograd regarding a Shelter Director in Seagoville, Texas who is taking his shelter to No Kill with very innovative work. Shortly after I sent the email I received a response from Lee Harris – Memphis Council Person which said this: “Are you from Memphis? Why are you so interested in what goes on here? Unless you are a Memphian, I would like to be removed from your list if you don’t mind.” Quite frankly I am dumbfounded! I have not yet replied and want to give my response careful consideration but…it’s no wonder they’re in trouble over there in Memphis!

    1. I might ask Lee Harris why he seems to be so UNINTERESTED in what’s going on at MAS that rather than address the fact that people from all over are horrified at the abuse in Memphis, he is sticking his head in the sand.

    2. Right, because only locals should care. So I guess that next time Memphis has a natural disaster or something, they’ll shun help from outside and just “take care of their own”?

      Someone seems to be missing that compassion training that’s going on in Memphis.

    3. Maybe the Memphis Council Person Lee Harris should be told that he lives in America and you are American and the animals in the MAS are American and that his statement doesn’t deter you from doing whats right even if he is not. What is his e-mail address I’ll send him a note and I am from NY state and I will speak up for the animals at MAS to him.

      1. sassybrat1904

        Excellent! I have provided within the body of these comments the email addresses for the Mayor, Interim Shelter Director and all of the Council Members.

    4. I was just thinking about Mr. Harris asking if you were from Memphis and I really got mad. I got so mad because I thought when my nephew join the service and many other men and woman during war time to defend this country against terrorism they didn’t think they were just defending their own city,state. They were fighting for the whole country. Mr. Harris can’t have it both ways to suit his needs. It doesn’t matter if you are from Memphis or not when our men and women fight in a war Memphis is also included in the protection. We are only trying to protect the animals in MAS.

      1. I could not agree more! Just to let you know that is the second time Mr. Harris has asked me to discontinue sending him emails. I have sent 3 emails to the Mayor, Interim Director and Council Members in the last few weeks – all curtious and informative but firm. I found it so very interesting that Mr. Harris ran for that position but does not want to be contacted regarding problems in his city. I agree, he cannot have it both ways – and, the best part is he’s an attorney! You can check him out at:

    5. Jackie posted this on the previous thread, but I think maybe Lee Harris et al should see it, too –

      “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”
      -Martin Luther King Jr.

      1. mikken…I love that phrase and use it often myself but…do we think the powers that be and shelter workers in Memphis can actually discern what’s right? And…another note I did respond to Lee Harris letting him know that indeed folks all over the country have concerns (and disgust) about what’s happening to the animals of Memphis. And that by being on the City Council, emails addressed to him, from anywhere in the world, are appropriate as he is one of the city’s lawmakers. Essentially, I said….”you campaigned for this job, then won and now the problems of your city are yours to deal with.” Possibly they are receiving lots of other feedback or I have hit a nerve because I received two emails this AM – one from the Mayor’s account and Bobby White the Mayor’s Advisor. The entire content of both emails was a YouTube link to a short talk the Mayor produced a couple of weeks ago. is the link and I’m guessing most of you, like I, saw this right after it became available.

      2. I guess that way they can say that they “responded” to your concerns. A useless, generic and non-relevant response, but hey, you got a response so you should be happy, right?

        I swear, if someone would just man up and face this thing head on instead of dancing around the issues, I would fall over dead from the shock…

  2. At the end of the interview Mr. Rogers says he is serving the Mayor….not the citizens or animals – not a minor slip to me.

    It’s so typical when the officials get caught – they always circle the wagons to protect themselves and their jobs…

    The famous writer Dickens called it the Office of Circumlocution where corrupt officials work….they will try to kill your hopes along with the animals.

  3. Wow. What a disappointment. Avoiding direct answers, pretending that FOIA requests are an answer to transparency issues, and — above all — failing to make lifesaving the centerpiece of his work at the shelter . . . this is very telling. Vague allusions to “better outcomes” will not get the job done.

    And he looked SO uncomfortable. This man is not a communicator.

    Shame on the anchor for softballing the interview, too. A really poor job.

    1. I was wondering why he hasn’t met with local rescue groups, yet…it looks like he’s keen on farming out the adoption process to other shelters! Adoption should be the HEART of the shelter – it’s not something you farm out.

      Well…maybe the other shelters will help him learn the process. Heaven knows that MAS could use some instruction.

  4. Rogers solution is to expect to partner with the Humane Society and other shelters? He doesn’t think they have enough of their own animals to find homes for? Sounds like he’s trying to pass the buck to me! Shame on him. There are advocates and rescue groups willing and able to help the animals of MAS. Why is he so afraid to let them help? Maybe the goal of MAS is just to keep killing and allowing cruel treatment of the animals there after all.

    Open you eyes Mr. Rogers. You are not serving the animals in your care by keeping cruel workers employed there. Get rid of them. There are those who would love jobs and they would treat the animals with the respect that they deserve.

  5. He also states the the video are available, but he didn’t say it was at the cost of $200 for 12 hours of viewing. Is that another “OPPS” .. I forgot to add that part?

  6. Below find the email addresses of the Mayor, Interim Shelter Director and all Council Members
    for any who might like to share an opinion with them. In particular I think it may be helpful for them to know that indeed people all around the country ARE interested in what is going on in Memphis.

    Interim Shelter Director James Rogers – ‘’

    Mayor A C Wharton

    ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’

  7. This might help some folks and what Robbie wrote of made me think of it. It is not fully on topic all soo much and I am sorry.

    Memphis has a whistleblower hotline and web site now. It is only for citizens of Memphis and that is it.

    The gist of the thing is that if you see a city employee (like a MAS employee, hint hint) engage is something bad you can either call the whistleblowerhotline or go to their web site.

    Here is the Memphis Flyer article about the whistleblower stuff…

    Here is the number for the hotline…

    (877) 918-2055

    Here is the web site for the hotline…

    I am thinking that the section of the web site which pertains to “Environment, Health, and Safety” would pertain to MAS.

    There could be an ethical way around the “you have to be a citizen of Memphis” rule with the hotline. For example, I live one full town over from Memphis, but if I went to MAS with a pal of mine who lives in the city of Memphis proper to take a tour or what have you and we both saw something unmerciful, I am thinking we could make a note of the times and dates and all that good stuff and that my friend could call the hotline or use the web site.

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