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.