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:
- Accept help from volunteers.
- Hire people to fill the vacant positions.
- Unlock the doors to the animal rooms so the public can see and touch and fall in love with the pets.
- Let owners of lost pets have them back without charging exorbitant fees.
- Stop impounding feral cats for killing. These cats already have a home and there is no reason to impound and kill them.
- Open up the shelter 7 days a week so that more adopters can visit.
- Hold at least 7 offsite adoption events per week, 1 per day in high traffic areas, to get started. Increase these over time.
- 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.
- Issue pleas to the public and rescue groups at least 2 days prior with details of any animals MAS intends to kill.
- 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?