More than 2000 Pets Killed in 2 Months at Memphis Pound

This dog was available for adoption at the Memphis pound on Saturday, July 14.

Records obtained via FOIA show that in May, 32 dogs and cats died at the Memphis pound, 2 escaped, and a total of 972 animals were killed. Among them were 34 puppies and kittens who were killed for being too young, 1 dog listed as too old, 7 dogs were heartworm positive, 1 cat was feral, and 577 pets were killed for time/space. None of these is a medically hopeless condition. In June, 27 dogs and cats died at MAS, 2 went missing, and a total of 1123 animals were killed. Again, the vast majority were killed for time/space.  In both months, hundreds of pets were killed without any classification on the reports.

I would like to think that no one at MAS would allow the killing of pets for “time/space” unless every other alternative had been fully explored and exhausted.  However, knowing that the pound continues to turn away volunteers and to leave paid positions vacant while the unemployed in Memphis desperately seek work, I don’t believe that to be true.  In fact, I don’t believe MAS is even trying to do its job.

Here are 10 basic reforms which could be instituted immediately to help improve the live release rate at the Memphis pound:

  1. Accept help from volunteers.
  2. Hire people to fill the vacant positions.
  3. Unlock the doors to the animal rooms so the public can see and touch and fall in love with the pets.
  4. Let owners of lost pets have them back without charging exorbitant fees.
  5. Stop impounding feral cats for killing.  These cats already have a home and there is no reason to impound and kill them.
  6. Open up the shelter 7 days a week so that more adopters can visit.
  7. Hold at least 7 offsite adoption events per week, 1 per day in high traffic areas, to get started.  Increase these over time.
  8. Straighten out the listings on PetHarbor to include accurate information for every animal at MAS.  Post a link on the city’s website so people know to visit PetHarbor to look for their lost pets and adoptable pets.
  9. Issue pleas to the public and rescue groups at least 2 days prior with details of any animals MAS intends to kill.
  10. Turn the webcams back on to reassure the public that animals are not being neglected and abused.

Lastly and most importantly, implement the proven programs used by other open admission shelters to save more than 90% of their pets.  Unlike the previous suggestions, the programs of the No Kill Equation can’t all be fully implemented today, but today would be an excellent day to start saving pets.

Will someone in Memphis please organize an action to bring attention to the plight of the animals at the pound this week?

44 thoughts on “More than 2000 Pets Killed in 2 Months at Memphis Pound

  1. You do know that anything that is said or done for the benefit of the animals is falling on deaf ears. Right now MAS is concerned with their little “new logo” contest, not filling jobs or saving animals. They don’t listen to our concerns in the MAS Advisory Board meetings or in any other forum for that matter. I forward what I can to my MAS contact list, but never get a reply. Probably because they KNOW we speak the truth, but they turn a blind eye and a deaf ear. Sad, but true to fact. I’ll do what I can.

    1. I understand your frustrations Denise but I don’t see how the failure of the city workers to do their jobs releases animal advocates from their obligation to take action. Imagine if Dr. King announced, “Our marches aren’t working. They haven’t changed any laws and they are just beating us up whenever we get together so I guess there’s no point.”

      The reason for demonstration is valid, despite the city’s failure to respond appropriately. I would argue it makes the need for action even greater.

      1. Of course it does; I was just saying that all our concerns and any action we take falls on deaf ears. We can protest all we want and we can act as much as we can; however, nothing ever changes. That is a result of the good ole boy network and mentality. Just do your job and don’t worry about those crazy people. I wish we could close it for at least one month, get all the animals taken care of, make a huge overhaul; fire all current employees and really make a change. However, that is wishful thinking.

      2. Denise, you could always try to e-mail/contact the TN board that deals with veteranary licenses (not sure how to say that lol). I am doing it, but if more people contact them, then maybe we can at least get one part of MAS taken care of. Obviously Hooks/Rogers/etc aren’t going to do anything about this, but maybe if we go to other places, it could help. Just a thought :)

      3. Okay, I will do my research, and I will contact them. The vet at MAS now is a good person, her hands are tied. However, we could ask that more vets are put on board? I’ll see what I can come up with.

      4. @Denise
        I’m confused by your comment that the vet is a good person, but her hands are tied. If you are willing and able to better explain that, I’d be interested in hearing. I don’t know how anyone could walk through those rooms, see what’s happening and not do something about it, especially someone who has made helping animals her life’s work.

      5. When I had my personal tour of MAS given by Mr. Rogers, I spent some time with the vet. One vet had recently quit and she is the only vet on site. Not sure if she is still the only one or not. We talked about the dog with the bleeding leg, and Mr. Rogers said the dog had been treated and was in recovery. They wouldn’t let me see the dog, which means the dog was probably dead. However, after spending time with this vet, she explained how she only had limited time to treat injured or sick animals, and sometimes she never even saw them before they were sent to the kill room. She explained it by comparing it to a natural disaster or war zone: you know that this one animal is so beyond help to survive that you leave them to die; one has only minor injuries and can be taken care of with meds and the other needs to be treated immediately with good chances of survival. Of course, there are other things she would like to do or see changed, but she really can’t buck the “system” or her boss, Mr. Rogers. It is apparently an uncomfortable situation for her, because she is not the ultimate decision maker nor does she see every animal that comes in. All it boils down to is that she answers to Mr. Rogers, plain and simple. I hope this clears up some of the confusion. Of course, as is the rule at MAS, ANY animal brought in that even has a PAW or TAIL that looks like a pit bull, they are sent to the kill room…..or maybe they just disappear. The vet has no control over that issue.

      6. Well I didn’t go to vet school and I don’t make $80 grand a year but I’m bucking the system. There is no conscionable alternative.

      7. I understand, and I don’t either. I don’t know how much money she makes and I don’t care. I know she is better than the other two vets who were there and she truly cares about the animals. The administration needs to be changes, as we all well know. Even volunteers who try and implement change or bring forward what they see as horrific conditions and treatment are fired. It is not the fault of the vet….it is the administration. Until that is changed, things will remain status quo for MAS. Sad, but true.

  2. Is there any further information on the ‘missing’ animals? Do they happen to be large, pitbull type dogs?

  3. Is there anyone local who will contact the news media about this? There is surely enough “evidence” to put this before the public (unless wharton owns the media, too).

    1. That would be nice yes, if someone would wake up. The media covers it when someone’s pet is killed or there is such a public outcry, such as a sit in or public protest. Unfortunately, they have more serious news to report than the killing of animals at MAS. Sad, but true.

  4. I have emailed a couple of people at ABC24 that have done reports on MAS in the past. I have not, however, received any responses. I have also sent the link to several of your MAS posts to a few celebrities from Memphis via twitter and facebook and also to several well-connected acquaintances of mine in Memphis. All to no avail.

  5. OMG.. look at that beautiful Boxer and that filthy kennel.. Who is taking these photos.. surely it’s not the workers..! Keep these pictures coming.. document all the abuse and neglect… and I say again, it’s time to pay for some more video footage.

    1. Thanks George, I will add you to my MAS contact list, which includes city council members, our congressman, mayor, governor, etc. Hopefully it will help.

  6. Going back to that lovely Boxer who was avialable on 7.14.12 – does anyone know if he is still there? Would someone be willing to do what ya’ll did for Ranger????

    1. that would be great if someone could help him… Shirley.. got any suggestions….? It would be great to see this one get out alive

  7. Is anyone familiar with the Indianapolis Animal Care & Control? I receive forwarded e-mails from a person who receives them from a Rescue and Foster Coordinator at IACC requesting help for getting dogs out of the shelter. Marion County IN has approximately the same population as Shelby County TN-over 900,000. I usually receive a few e-mails a week, one for small dogs, one for large dogs, and usually one for special needs cases, like bonded pairs, seniors, etc. MAS should at least get the information out regarding the animals in need! Someone at MAS should contact IACC and see how it handles their rescue and foster program! I do not know what the kill rate is at IACC or how good their rescue and foster program is but at least it is trying to save dogs by getting the word out about dogs in need. I can never tell on the Friends of MAS Facebook page which dogs need help and which have already been adopted! One has to look at the Wall Photos and read the comments under the photos-it takes too much time! Most of the ones they post anyway are puppies and smaller dogs, not the high risk ones.

  8. Great post as always! I completely agree with this. If I ran an animal shelter, these things would all be done, and then some. I just dont have the $ to start one up nor do I have much business experience. Sadly, these things will prob. not be done at MAS unless it requires “re-training” with chokepoles.

  9. This is so damn frustrating!! There must be something that can be done or someone with clout that cares. I am just sick about the abuse at MAS.

  10. Novice YesBiscuit follower here..

    When you say “this dog was available” on July 14…what does “was” mean. It’s a Boxer and being a Boxer lover, it caught my eye. I love all animals, but Boxers are THE dog for me. I don’t look at Petharbor anymore. The amount of animals that come in and don’t come out at our AC facility in Milwaukee is depressing enough.

    But again, this is a Boxer. I don’t go looking for Boxers, but if one is brought to my attention, then i start nosing around. (I can’t handle all the crappy ads, crappy environments, mistreatment, etc.anymore. 15 years in this business one would think I would be immune, but I’m not; just appalled.)

    1. The reason for the caption was that it was the only information I felt was 100% accurate. There was apparently someone interested in the dog on Saturday but I don’t know what may have transpired since then. Another reader found a dog on PetHarbor who might be a match for this one and posted the link upthread. The best thing to do would be to contact the pound directly and ask about that ID number.

  11. Whatever it takes , MAS sounds like animal killing machines….seriously. We have our issues here in Knoxville, but come on let’s expose these assholes. Obviously , they are animal haters and like to let them suffer/die and kill them. I don’t care if the current ‘VET’ is a “good” person. GOOD people try to do something. If just a paycheck they want and afraid to lose their job. How can you be a vet and have your hands “tied”???? I know I’m preaching to the choir with all of you. I’m just so disgusted and let me know what I can do. I’m all the way on the other end of the state. I do have family in Jackson, TN and could ask if they have any connections that way. We’ve got to constantly expose them all over the web, FB..local papers, news outlets. I know it’s easier said than done. Praying things there will get better. There is power in numbers!!

  12. I have to take issue with something said by Denise in the thread above (I would have put it there, but there was no “reply” button below the thread):
    Denise, I can’t let you get by with saying that “the Vet at MAS is a good person” whose hands are tied, nor do I fall for that BS comparing triage in a wartime situation to MAS. If she could take the time to scrub and debride that kitten’s wounds the other day, and the “extra time” (Bless her Heart!) to give an antibiotic shot and a (worthless) steroid shot, she could have taken the time to give the poor baby a shot of pain meds! In fact, she could have saved herself some precious time by giving the pain med instead of the steroid!

    I’m sorry, Denise, but I wonder if they didn’t sprinkle some Kool-aid powder on your head when you got your “personal tour [of MAS] by Mr Rogers” — there is NO EXCUSE in this entire world that I will accept for that act of cruelty against a helpless kitten in great agony. Have you ever fallen down and scraped your knee? Remember how painful that was? Now imagine being skinned alive over your arms and half your body and being left in a filthy wire cage to suffer (almost forgot–to first have someone scrub your wounds down with a scrub brush and cut away some of the flesh hanging off of you), and THEN being left to suffer for 5 more days (with not even a sip of water) before you were finally killed! AND YOU STILL THINK THE VET IS A GOOD PERSON???
    I better just shut up right now….

    1. I have not seen the post about the kitten or a photo. I am not online everyday, and I must have missed that one. I wasn’t talking about the kitten, I was replying to the thread about the killings in general. Sorry if you misunderstood and that I didn’t see the thread on this particular kitten. Could you possible send it to me please? Or, tell me where in the thread I can find it. That would help me tremendously. I apologize for the misunderstanding and no, no fairy dust over my head.

      1. Oh my, I am so sorry I didn’t get this one. This is NOT acceptable and is deplorable. I cannot imagine the pain this poor cat went through and yes, it is unacceptable that the vet on duty did not do more. I don’t know what vet was on board at that time, but I do know that whatever vet was on duty needs to be fired, as they all do. The vet I was speaking of is Dr. Coleman, and, if she was not on duty and it was another vet. they need to be gone immediately. THIS IS SICK, SO SICK. THEY ARE SO CONCERNED WITH THEIR LITTLE LOGO MAKEOVER, NO ONE IS SUPERVISING ANYBODY. We all know this is absolutely unacceptable, and people need to suffer the consequences for this action or non-action. I wish I had seen this earlier, but I didn’t. That is why I didn’t understand why everyone was attacking me for supporting the vet. I had NO Idea!!!! THIS WILL BE FORWARDED TO ALL MY CONTACTS, AND, HOPEFULLY I WILL GET A REPLY. I AM ACTUALLY GOING TO DEMAND ONE. THANK YOU FOR SENDING THIS TO ME. I AM SO SICKENED, I AM BEYOND WORDS, BUT I WILL MAKE MY POINT HEARD. I PROMISE.

  13. I thought a vet first has a duty to uphold medical ethics not a duty to whomever is employing them!

  14. I apologize for the rude awakening, Denise, but I’m very happy to know that you weren’t defending that behavior! It seemed pretty odd, from everything else you’ve said in these posts, but I still had to challenge it.
    And now you understand why many of us are so horrified at the Vet “care” at MAS.

    IMHO, whichever Vet was responsible for that situation should have been fired publicly and immediately–the fact that s/he wasn’t just casts more light on attitude of the leadership (?) of MAS.

    1. I knew that you weren’t actually finding me guilty…quite the contrary. I don’t know which vet, but, I agree with you, doesn’t matter which one, an animal need not suffer needlessly if you are going to kill it anyway. NO compassion, as we have witnessed before. Yes, something should have been done to ease that cat’s pain and suffering; therein lies the lack of compassion, from the ACOs to the vet and beyond. I am just as disgusted as you are, and I wish as one person I could do more. I do all I can, and, hopefully, with the media on our side, eventually they will help as well. I’m glad we cleared this up, even though the ending is still the same, this poor animal suffered horribly. I am so very sorry for that.

      1. There is no mystery as to who the treating vet was for the cat. Click the record marked “memo” if you need to enlarge the “R. Coleman DVM” printed on the cat’s record.

      2. Well, I suspected as much. I just don’t get it. Well, I do, but, why? As I said before, ALL PEOPLE AT MAS NEED TO BE FIRED. The place needs to be closed down temporarily until homes are found for all the animals, sick and injured animals are treated, and those beyond hope humanely put down. Then, hire and train compassionate people, a reputable vet and an honest (if there is one) administrator. That is the only hope for real change, in my opinion.

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