Cat Suffers for 5 Days Before Being Killed at Memphis Pound

Image of cat #241683 at the Memphis pound (via PetHarbor)

Cat #241683 was impounded by MAS on June 5, 2012 at 11:43 am. He was badly injured, possibly degloved by a fan belt.  He was left to sit without treatment (presumably in a cage and not in the trap where MAS photographed him) until the next day.  On June 6, the MAS veterinarian examined the cat and although she described him as “very stressed” due to lack of socialization, she was apparently able to scrub the multiple large wounds all over his body without sedation or anesthesia of any kind.  Perhaps the cat was in such a weakened condition that he was unable to put up a fight, as any house cat would, and especially any feral cat.  The vet scrubbed the wounds, gave the cat a shot of penicillin and a shot of depo medrol.  I am not a vet but as far as I know, penicillin is an antibiotic and depo medrol is a steroid which can suppress the immune system.  Neither is a pain medication.

Portion of cat # 241683’s MAS records, obtained via FOIA request. (click to enlarge)

In the memo of this cat’s records, the vet notes that the cat is suffering and should be euthanized “but should be okay for holding period”.  No mention is made of any pain medication or further monitoring.  The records seem to indicate that no one ever checked on this cat again to see if his suffering had worsened.  And after viewing so many MAS security camera videos, I don’t feel confident that cat #241683’s cage was cleaned daily or that he was even fed or watered daily while at MAS.

Portion of cat # 241683’s MAS records, obtained via FOIA request. (click to enlarge)

Cat #241683 was killed on June 10, 2012 by MAS, after suffering for 5 days with no pain medicine and only one vet treatment (which was at least questionable to my mind).  He was likely very frightened during those 5 days but apparently too weak to resist.  Every minute of every hour of every day at MAS must have been agonizing for this poor cat.  I don’t know if his injuries were treatable but if they were, I believe any animal shelter would have an obligation to do so in order to restore the cat to health so he could be neutered, vaccinated and offered for adoption if appropriate or returned to his home in the community if feral.  If his injuries were too extensive for treatment and the prognosis was poor or grave, I believe any animal shelter would be obligated to humanely euthanize this cat as soon as the vet determined he was medically hopeless and suffering.  He should have been rushed to the front of the line at the vet clinic immediately upon intake, not left to sit for a full day before receiving his initial exam and then left to suffer an additional 4 days after that.

I’m sorry this cat was hurt.  But once he made it to an animal shelter, the staff there should have done their jobs and taken immediate steps to help this animal.  Instead, the actions, and inactions, of the staff at the Memphis pound brought 5 more days of additional suffering to this cat.  This is not why taxpayers pay for a municipal animal shelter.

What now MAS – another compassion class to tell the media about or perhaps a new logo contest?  It is long past time to stop focusing on how things appear and address the way things are for the animals at the pound.  Shame on anyone who ever saw cat #241683 suffering at MAS and did nothing to help him.  If no one there was going to take action to help the cat, at least someone could have blown the whistle on the cruelty.  Alas, there was nothing.  And if not for the persistence of the irresponsible public in demanding access to public records, cat #241683 would have simply been another anonymous dead animal at MAS.  Fire.  Them.  All.

40 thoughts on “Cat Suffers for 5 Days Before Being Killed at Memphis Pound

  1. Those stupid people at MAS don’t have any compassion or knowledge of animal care or treatment!! The vet there has probably never been to school and ai most likely some drunk or crackhead hired off the street!!!

  2. This poor cat. If *anyone* in the community did the same thing, they could be charged with animal cruelty. The shelter is not above the law.

    How many animals are suffering badly enough for the vet to “recommend euthanasia”, but the vet doesn’t follow through on the spot? Surely it is a vet’s duty to alleviate suffering? If an animal is in that kind of shape, do something about it – either get the animal proper treatment (including pain meds, which seem to not happen at all at MAS for some reason) or euthanize immediately.

    Half-assed treatment and then letting an animal sit in a cage for days is not “care”. It’s negligence and cruelty.

  3. I am a cat lover. Cats do not show their pain or illness in the same way as other animals might. It is a protective mechanism hard wired into them. Cats will do anything they can to cover up their symptoms no matter how horrible. It is one of those survival mechanisms that are part of being a cat. I have seen a cat with similar injury who purred (cats purr to comfort themselves btw) (the cat I refer to was mercifully euthanized by the treating vet )

    The “vet” (if i can call this callous individual this) says that euthanasia was in order… yet if the injury was bad enough to suggest euthanasia, then it was bad enough for some basic pain medications…Do vets not take some sort of oath to help animals – in other words to not allow pain and suffering to continue? Does this vet have a current license? I have to wonder about this. What type of vets does this place have on staff?

    Do they not have anyone on the staff who knows anything about animals, let alone about cats?

    This cat was obviously in horrendous pain. Imagine having your skin ripped off like this.

    Imagine the 5 days in the filthy cages of the place. DId not anyone, who cares for the animals, notice the horrible extent of the injury? Someone surely noticed? Was this poor thing not fed or watered or given fresh litter for 5 days? If anyone tended in anyway to this animal, they said nothing? They ask no questions?

    Is this place of torture a throw back to the days when the ignorant believed that animals felt no pain or suffering?

    I concor with mikken above, if ANYONE in any community, be they average pet owner, or breeder or ANYONE else had done this, they would be brought up with cruelty charges.

    I am sick over this. No animal should be left like this. Under no circumstances. Never.

  4. Oh. God. These injuries are so much worse than I could have imagined. Probably in shock on arrival ,and the next day. No wonder he didn’t fight. And to have scrubbed them with no pain meds? Depo is not, in my experience , at all useful in this type of case. And left him there for 4 more days with none?Seems Ms Coleman ( I cna’t call her Dr.) skipped the “do no harm” part of her oath.

  5. I was at the shelter yesterday… A friend of mine had a vet specialist come to MAS , while I was there, to check up on Greenline- the dog that was rescued from a drainage pipe. She ( the specialist) was concerned about one of his eyes and the fact he hadn’t eaten in so long. There was not any MAS vet available while I was there( from 11:30- 4:00)… I asked for Rogers but was told he was not in… He did come out to the lobby while we were still there at around 3:30… The specialist asked to see Greenline and told him of her concerns. He denied her request and said the dog was in the best possible care ( don’t get me started). She asked for the vet to call her and I heard that Coleman did…. The fact remains that there was not any vet at MAS yesterday and an offer to transport Greenline to the specialists office, where the vetting would be paid for by a non profit rescue group- Rogers denied that request. His due out date was yesterday…. Wonder if Greenline will be another PR pup like Buster and we all know how that almost turned out…
    This is animal cruelty, as far as I am concerned, how the kitty was ( or not in this case) treated. When will this madness end?!

  6. Time to stop messing around! Go file charges against the vet and Rogers for lack of proper treatment for Greenline, that poor kitty, the dog now called Noel who laid there in her cage at MAS waiting for her kill day without any treatment and any other animal you can think of.

    This is nothing but a power struggle. It has to stop. Call the sheriff of Shelby county and file charges. Memphis, you need to step up to the plate and be humane. Get that hell hole closed down ASAP.

      1. I remember this dog! A listing of photos and evidence should provide more than enough to bring charges. They have just got to be stopped. There are many more animals that have been neglected and mistreated by that staff and ignored by that vet. It is an ongoing problem there. No animal should be subjected to what some of these poor animals have been subjected to. BRING CHARGES.

  7. Here’s what I believe is the most current version of the Veterinarian’s Oath, as revised in 2010 –

    Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.

    I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics.

    I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my professional knowledge and competence.

    Allowing a cat to suffer through injuries such as this, with no care, for five days … is not, I think, at all consistent with this oath.

    I find it … horrifically ironic, that the staff at MAS, who ordinarily do not hesitate to kill healthy and readily treatable pets while kennels lie empty, nonetheless chose, when euthanasia was truly the only humane option, to allow this poor cat to suffer for days on end.

    I believe the word for this is not inhumane, but rather inhuman.

  8. I would report both incidents to the state Vet Board. I do not know if it would help but perhaps if there were a lot of reports for different animals at MAS not getting proper treatment, someone might look into it!

  9. There are rules for shelter animal care. As far as I can see Dr. Coleman falls far short of her duties! Proper food, water, pain management and proper treatments given, not causing distress; she needs to take courses in Shelter Vet Care. She should be reported to the American Veterinarian Organization for failure to care for her charges.

    1. Coleman ought to lose her license to “practice medicine”. She is incompetent and morally bankrupt. Ever hear of “do no harm”?

  10. This is just so awful. I completely agree about calling the state board for veteranarians, Im just not sure how to do that. If anyone can tell me how, Id do it too.

    1. Here is the link to the TN Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners:

      On it is this link to Complaints, Disciplinary Actions, and Peer Review:

      One can download a complaint form and fill it out. In my experience, if one decides to go this route, one should have one’s facts in order–the more facts (as opposed to allegations) one can include, the more seriously this will be taken. I believe the Board has an obligation to investigate any Complaints from a citizen.

      If separate Complaints are filed for separate incidents it will help to build a file against the Vet; having one Complaint to respond to is bad enough–having several (especially from different persons) is very significant. Each individual Complaint should have its own set of facts and evidence to back it up.

      1. Thanks Lorraine! :) I emailed them. If a few other people could do it as well, the better!!

  11. SOMEONE ON THE GROUND THERE NEEDS TO TAKE LEGAL ACTION NOW! How many animals will have to be mistreated and die before someone does something? I don’t know where it’s the state board of licensing or who do go to, but someone local please take the necessary action to get things started.

    RIP little kidden boy – I’m sorry that you were so badly hurt and then made to suffer before you died. That never, never should have happened.

    What is it going to take to shut down this place of horrors? And the fact that Rogers was not willing to let the dog be examined or released to people who could help him speaks volumes.

    1. This is just speculation on my part but I would guess one possible reason for the refusal to release the pipe dog was that the city is planning to use the dog for publicity. The reason I am guessing this is due to the pattern of focus on how things *appear* rather than how things actually ARE for the pets at MAS. Why let a pet get out for free vet care when you can use him to make it look like your pound’s own vet has been taking care of him?

  12. It IS the TN Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners that handles such complaints about individual Vets; their Complaint process is clearly outlined on the website. Again, this is an excellent route to take to have an individual Vet investigated, but all the FACTS must be clearly outlined and well-documented for the Investigation to go anywhere. If the Board determines that there is no substance to the allegations they’ll dismiss the Complaint. The Goal in this situation would be to get it to the Public Hearing stage–that’s where there would be the most publicity and it would do the most good.

    My suggestion would be for several Memphis-based supporters to form a committee to work together to gather all of the required facts and evidence and then fill out the Complaint forms so they look very professional. I am willing to provide some guidance, wherever possible (I have been involved in this type of process from the human-medicine side), but the actual Complaints should be coming from Memphis citizens, preferably eye-witnesses to the alleged abuse, to carry the most weight.

    I also suggest that once the committee is formed, that most of the work be carried-out offline, since we already know that this Blog is monitored by MAS-lackeys–no sense tipping ALL the cards!

    1. Lorraine,
      I totally agree. I feel like such a dud in all this as I can hardly keep up with everything. I DO, however, see that things are anywhere but right in this hell-hole these babies are made to suffer in. I would be honored to help in backing this pursuit to shut these guys down. Has anyone talked to an attorney? Has anyone filed any suit? I don’t know the legal processes necessary to fight the “big dogs”, but would be willing to do whatever I could to help those who do know.

  13. The cat should have also been given fluids- even a SQ bolus- to see if she perked up. Unless there were internal injuries the skin with proper treatment could have healed. As far a pain meds – if she was in pain they should have been AdMinistered prior to the debrieding and wound cleaning if they were that deep.
    Who is the Vet at MAS- my experience is that very few of the vets in AC are any good (even their private practice operations are questionle$ – it usually only about the money for them. That is why the shelter needs protocols in place that are followed- not left up to the Vet alone.
    That is of course if they give a rats behind about the animals.

  14. Why isn’t there an effort by MAS to get more volunteers in there when regular employees aren’t available to feed & clean cages? Is FoMAS still running off good volunteers & refusing to to accept new ones?

    It is unacceptable that any dog or cat has to go without food, water, cleaning or medical check-ups just because business hours are over. That alone constitutes neglect. Neglect IS abuse.

    The new building hasn’t brought about enough positive changes as was promised or expected. Abuse is still rampant & I still don’t like it.

    1. Well this is some funny business. Anyone who looked at George Brown’s story last night saw that it said city spokesman Mary Cashiola said the cat WAS given pain meds but it was not noted in the records. The story has now been updated and that part has been replaced with Mayor Wharton’s office saying the wounds were “superficial” and no pain meds were necessary.

      Huhwow – Here’s your morning challenge. Use the following in a logical sentence: degloved, suffering, superficial, pain meds not necessary.

      1. I kind of sort of asked about that in my latest comment. We’ll see what happens. I hope that George Brown is willing to stand up to wharton and his pressure, for that’s what I fear is happening behind the scenes.

      2. Well, we don’t want to say that we’re issuing pain meds without recording it, that would be BAD…

        So better to say that the cat wasn’t REALLY suffering horribly…

        If Mayor Wharton had the smallest finger on his hand degloved then debrided, you can you bet your ass he would be DEMANDING pain medication and lots of it. The statement that the cat wasn’t in enough pain to warrant medication is frighteningly stupid.

      3. IDK what pain meds could be used that is NOT a controlled drug.Since the cat was given Depo ( a steroid) they should NOT have given Meloxicam ( an NSAID). Meloxicam is the only non controlled pain drug I know of. And ,as a vet, Ms Coleman knows steroids and non steroids aren’t used together.And controlled drugs have to be accounted for by DEA regs.Not accounting for them is a BIG infraction.Worthy of Huge fines.

      4. Jennifer, no pain medication was given. The official story is now that the cat did not need it. As if.

  15. @ mikken
    I think they are getting desperate to keep all their balls in the air, so to speak. They keep lying and then have to make sure they tell more lies to protect the first lies.

    Given enough rope, I believe they will hang themselves . . .

    OTOH, I wonder how much the mayor is paying the employee to monitor YB to see what’s going on in his city.

    1. @db
      Well, at least SOMEONE is telling them the truth. I think the Mayor’s office relies entirely too much on what Hooks and Hall and the rest tell them without investigating.

      After all, remember how things at the shelter were “fine” and the employees were “compassionate professionals”? Multiple arrests say otherwise…

    1. No NSAID would have been adequate to control that level of pain, first of all, and second, whatever could have been given would have required multiple doses over a 5-day stretch, so that’s an awful lot of “not recording it”….and if 5-days worth of a narcotic (the only appropriate med to use in this type of injury) was NOT recorded, that falls into the category of “possible diversion”, which is a State and Federal crime, and which the State and Federal DEAs are required to investigate.

      What ELSE is MAS and Wharton covering-up, I wonder? Could it be more than animals that is disappearing out the back door? Inquiring minds want to know….

    2. ez – you’re right. Tramadol isn’t controlled, yet. All the vet offices that I know of here , in SC, treat it as such due to the possibility of use/abuse by humans. It is also known as Ultram , in the human world. And I was only speculating on Metacam , ’cause it’s not controlled and was the only other pain med I could think of that’s not. What ever they used, as is stated elsewhere, even a single dose of anything , would not have been sufficient. The words deglove and superficial do NOT go together. And where did Wharton get his DVM to make the call that pain meds were not needed?

    1. Comment added to thank George Brown for doing this. Please consider doing the same thing.We talk about someone from Memphis stepping up and George Brown is doing just that! He needs our support.

    2. at the end of the article.. there is this statement….

      Click HERE to adopt from MAS.
      If you are interested in becoming a volunteer at Memphis Animal Services, please call (901) 362-5310 for more information or return a completed application to Memphis Animal Services, 2350 Appling City Cove, Memphis, TN 38133, Memphis TN 38118 or fax to (901) 362-6876.

      hummm.. are they kidding?

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