MAS: Still Failing on the Transparency Front

Memphis Animal Services hasn’t posted its numbers since last year.  Transparency is important in creating a no kill community and it’s a shame that MAS refuses to do its part while blaming the so-called irresponsible public.

Obtained via FOIA request, the January 2012 stats from MAS indicate 950 pets taken in, 173 adopted, 21 died in cage, 2 escaped (lucky critters), and 658 killed.  Number of animals on hand as of January 31, 2012: 528.

The February 2012 stats indicate 974 pets taken in, 10 died in cage, 621 killed and 69 “other” (no idea what this means – anyone?).  Number of animals on hand as of February 29, 2012: 515.

The March 2012 stats indicate 1032 pets taken in, 24 died in cage, and 633 killed.  Number of animals on hand as of March 31, 2012: 557.

The April 2012 stats were requested under FOIA on May 1.  There have been numerous follow-up requests and the open records office in Nashville has been contacted as well.  Today is May 15 and the stats still have not been provided, nor has any reason been given for the failure to make the records available.  We will continue to try to get the city to do its job and allow taxpayers access to public records.

In the meantime, here is a summary of the first 3 months of the year at MAS.  Setting aside the mystery “other” category, the kill rate for January and February at MAS was 66%.  Interim director James Rogers was appointed by Mayor Wharton in late February.  The kill rate for March was 61%.  The kill rate for April remains hidden by the city at this time.

Via the FOIA requests, we have learned some information but serious questions remain:

  • MAS is still killing well above the abysmal national average.  Why isn’t Memphis implementing the proven programs of the No Kill Equation to end the killing?
  • An alarming number of animals are still falling over dead in their cages at MAS.  What is going on at the facility that results in so many dead pets?
  • The number of animals on hand according to MAS records is consistently higher than the number typically posted on PetHarbor.  Are hundreds of animals being hidden from the public at any given time or are the MAS records consistently wrong?
  • MAS sends out select animals to foster homes without maintaining foster agreements, vet records or documentation of any kind.  Where is the protection for these animals?
  • Why is the city repeatedly failing to comply with both the mayor’s executive order and the state open records law (Tenn. Code Ann. Section 10-7-503) in allowing the public access to MAS records?

MAS continues to hide its stats from the public, forcing taxpayers to file FOIA requests, to which the city does not respond in the legally allotted time period and perhaps might never respond if taxpayers weren’t diligent in making follow up requests.  This is not transparency.  Our petition to bring the webcams back to MAS for the protection of the animals has over 1000 signatures.  Please consider signing if you haven’t already.

The next public meeting of the shelter advisory board is June 13.  If you are in Memphis, please attend and show support for the pets at the pound.

Photo of dog #A240565 at MAS, as posted on Does the pound want this dog to get adopted? Does anyone at MAS care about ANYTHING?

27 thoughts on “MAS: Still Failing on the Transparency Front

  1. These numbers don’t add up. Assuming the number of 528 animals on Feb 1 we have:

    528 + 974 – 10 – 621 – 69 = 802. but they say 515. What happened to the other 287 animals?

    if we go with their number for march:

    515 + 1032 – 24 – 633 = 890. That is 333 animals unaccounted for. In just 2 months 620 animals went “missing” from their records. Something really fishy is going on down there. Unless those are the animals that were adopted out?

    I did go to the Feb document and added up the Adoption, AdoptionX, foster, permit, relocate and RTO and got 255. So that is at least 32 animals unaccounted for. I

      1. It still doesn’t add up.

        528 + 974 – 960 = 542. But they say they have 515

        515 + 1032 – 958 = 589. Their figure for March is 557.

        Either their math in the columns is off – I don’t have time to go through it line by line right now – or they have an awful lot of animals going missing on a monthly basis. Unless there is another spreadsheet out there they didn’t publish with the intake and outcome ones.

      2. They used to have a “missing” category each month but stopped including it after too many people began asking questions. That may be the answer.

      3. Ahhh – the old “if we stop explicitly saying it people will assume we fixed the problem and we don’t have to deal with it” explanation. Can’t help but hope that they made a mad dash for freedom and escaped.

    1. I truly hope this dog is not being forced to lie on that metal platform 24/7 and that veterinary treatment was begun immediately upon intake.

  2. They simply do not care! And for some reason, they seem to operate in a parallel universe where the laws and rules and regulations do not apply to them.
    God help every animal unfortunate enough to end up in their “facility”.
    I do not understand why the people who are paying for this farce of an “animal shelter” with their tax dollars allow it to continue. Can’t imagine that the rest of their city government is any better.
    Just sad – so very sad.

    1. Joyce – I put up an Open Thread each week for people to share links. This is not an open thread and, unless the link goes to an article about MAS and its failure to be transparent, it is off topic. Please be respectful and follow standard netiquette.

  3. I really want to know why pets are dying in cages. Are they not being taken care of? The numbers are outrageous.

    1. Well, we saw on the February cameras how an entire room of post-surgical cats was left completely unattended – in the dark, no food, no water, no cleaning, no one checking to make sure that the cats were recovering properly.

      People walked past that room all day and no one even thought to turn on the lights.

      There is a level of apathy at MAS that goes beyond anything many of us would think humanly possible.

      1. Actually, if it’s the footage I’m thinking of, that was the cat iso room, not the post-surgical recovery room.

    2. It’s spring in the Mid-South after an unusually warm winter. Parvo has been and continues to be worse than in normal years and not just in the shelters. Several vet/vet tech friends have commented about how many cases they’re seeing in their clinics.

  4. Those numbers are like WOW, insane!and how do they expect to get any animals adopted if they post a picture of that poor dog,bearing it’s teeth?People will be put off by that.Sad but true.

    1. That photo made me wonder what was setting that dog off – I have a few ideas, none of them happy. Poor pup! Hope the teeth baring doesn’t interest dog fighters . . .

  5. How do I contact the person That wrote this article? I may have a few things of interest for them? Thank you

    1. Sorry I’ve been dragging my feet on this latest batch Dot but there is a reason. I will write more about it soon but suffice to say, I feel this whole batch of footage has been compromised. I did get Casey’s half mailed off to her and hopefully she got it today.

      1. MAS’s incompetance & mistreatment recorded on disc is a liability for the city/MAS that I find hard to believe they would allow anyone to see. I also believe it’s easier for them to fight charges of fudgeing the discs than fighting charges of cruelty at MAS.

        I’m also wondering how so many animals die in their cages when sick animals are generally killed immediately, not die mysteriously in cages.

  6. Everything at MAS is sad, all the way around. Whats sad in particular though is how they still havent even bothered to at least have a 50% save rate after all of this time!

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