On June 27, 2012, the Commercial Appeal quoted James Rogers, interim director at the Memphis pound, as follows:
“If we did not euthanize we would have 6,000 animals. That’s from Jan. 1 to today. I can’t care for 6,000 animals.”
Let’s peel back the layers of Wrong here.
The options are not limited to killing and hoarding (which is how I would describe a shelter designed to care for 555 pets attempting to house 6000). I would argue that the option being overlooked here is in fact the very job that taxpayers believe shelters should do: live release. Specifically, live release entails providing appropriate care of pets until they are adopted, fostered, transferred to rescue groups or redeemed by owners.
Finally, why is the outrageous notion of possibly caring for 6000 pets even being offered by Mr. Rogers when he keeps his pound relatively empty anyway? A visitor to MAS on Saturday, July 28 was allowed to see only a portion of the pets, as per usual, but reports that of those, about 25% of the cages were empty. In the puppy room though, it was more like 90% empty cages (video of puppy room below).
Enough with the sorry excuses MAS. Start doing your job by humanely caring for pets and releasing them alive.
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 staff 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 offsite adoption events – at least 7 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 directly to the MAS listings on PetHarbor so people know to click to look for their lost pets and to see 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.