If the staff members are abusing and killing animals at the Memphis pound, who should be advocating for them? While members of the public can and should contact city leaders in Memphis demanding meaningful reform and an end to the abuse and killing of pets at MAS, most citizens are unaware of the day to day needs of shelter pets, never mind having knowledge that these needs aren’t being met.
But there is a group of people who are at the pound regularly, who see the conditions the animals are kept in and how the staff treats them, and who could use their influence to fight for improvements: the volunteers. One of those volunteers is even on the Advisory Board, making that person’s obligation to advocate for the animals at MAS even greater.
The volunteers at MAS should at least be fighting for the basic daily needs of the animals to be met. These include:
- Vaccination upon intake
- Appropriate amount and frequency of food and clean water
- Clean cages
- Soft bedding and toys (dogs)
- Walks (dogs)
- Life – that is, fighting to get healthy pets adopted/rescued/fostered, fighting to get veterinary care for pets who need it, and resisting all excuses made for the killing of healthy/treatable pets by continually challenging those excuses and offering proven alternatives.
As far as I know, none of the dogs at MAS have soft bedding. Old dogs with sore joints, mama dogs with nursing pups, dogs with skin conditions, injured dogs, scared dogs – all dogs are forced to lie on the floor or on those awful steel grates with unsanitary holes in them.
A mere 10 dogs got walked on the February 7 security camera footage that was obtained. I have no idea if 10 dogs get walked every day but it seems a reasonable assumption that most dogs at MAS do not get walked. Make no mistake – this is the hallmark of a lousy shelter. Daily walks for all dogs is not optional. It provides exercise, companionship, and stimulation necessary for emotional well being. It also helps relieve stress, which increases immune response, making the population more resistant to disease.
Another hallmark of rotten shelters is failure to vaccinate all animals upon intake. MAS says they “have to” kill animals due to sickness yet they don’t take the most basic step to prevent it: vaccination. This is not optional for shelter pets – they absolutely must be vaccinated immediately upon impound, if not sooner (such as in the field or in advance of an owner surrendering a pet).
The volunteers are at the shelter, seeing what goes on every day. They have considerable influence to wield, as has been demonstrated repeatedly. They should be fighting for at least these most basic needs and rights of the animals at MAS. Why aren’t they?