The Memphis pound, like many others, mislabels dogs as Pitbulls/mixes regularly. A couple of examples from PetHarbor (click to enlarge):
At MAS, a dog who is labeled a Pitbull type stands a greatly diminished chance of being adopted. For starters, the city targets Pitbull types for killing and very few ever get offered to the public. For the lucky few who make it to the adoption floor, their chances are limited by the fact that the pound requires a background check and a fence inspection for Pitbull adopters. The person wanting to adopt must have a 6 foot fence of a type deemed appropriate by a Memphis ACO, provided the ACO can get out to the person’s home to inspect. If not, the adopter is out of luck – and so is the dog.
The fence we have would not qualify and I know the same is true for many pet owners. Even if it did, I’m not particularly keen on giving my personal info to a place with multiple animal cruelty charges pending against staff members so they can check my background. I’m all for checking adoption applicants for previous animal cruelty charges but beyond that, what business is it of anyone there and what relevance does it have to one’s ability to take care of a dog?
The adoption requirements should be the same for every pet at MAS – a state issued ID, a completed adoption application and a check for animal cruelty convictions. Placing special restrictions on a certain type of dog is breed bias and when the “breed” is as loosely defined as Pitbull/mix, it seems to be applied haphazardly, to the detriment of the dogs at the pound.
All of which brings me to a beautiful puppy named Moonbeam at MAS. She was mislabeled a Pitbull mix but still lucky enough to make it to the adoption floor. The only form of marketing that was done for her to my knowledge was a post on the Facebook page belonging to the “Friends” group on July 13, 2012. She was not taken to any offsite adoption events (since MAS very rarely participates in any) nor was she included in any pleas to rescue groups (since MAS very rarely sends any). This post, since deleted, was her only chance to be seen by someone who might have a 6 foot fence and be willing to submit to a background check and have an ACO come to their property for an inspection:
For comparison purposes, I include this dog on the MAS PetHarbor site this morning, who is labeled a Border Collie/Lab (ignore the “chocolate point” coloring description):
I don’t know if anyone wanted to adopt Moonbeam and was discouraged by the Pitbull mix label and/or the special hoops they were required to jump through in order to give her a home. But I do know that she is dead – killed by the very people who should have protected her. Killed on July 23, just 10 days after the FB posting above, due to “time/space”. In an effort to cover up the needless killing of this beautiful puppy, the cowards who call themselves the “Friends of MAS” deleted her post from their FB page, as they do with all the pets who end up in the dumpster at MAS. They refuse to acknowledge the mass slaughter of pets at the pound and they certainly aren’t going to answer questions about it. Better to just delete-delete-delete.
But I won’t let Moonbeam be deleted. She was real. She was alive. She was just a baby.
The “Friends” put a flower collar on Moonbeam and took her picture, then posted her with the mislabled “Pitbull mix”, saying the special requirements for adopters were “for her protection”. The “Friends” failed to challenge that the puppy was not a Pitbull mix. Even worse, they failed to challenge the breed discrimination that was limiting her chances of adoption, and instead promoted it as some sort of benefit to the puppy. And finally, when she was killed a week and a half later, the “Friends” attempted to cover up the killing by deleting Moonbeam’s post. With “Friends” like these, it’s no wonder MAS continues to flail in the ditch year after year.
I’m sorry you were so completely and utterly failed at every level Moonbeam. You were a pretty little girl who deserved so much better than what you got from MAS and its “Friends”. You had a right to grow up and to be loved and to live and tragically, no one at the pound was advocating for your rights. Rest in peace, sweet pup.
How many more, Memphis?