Door #1: Kill, Door #2: Hoard – Wait, There’s a Door #3?

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.

It’s not “euthanasia” when you are killing healthy/treatable pets.  Nor is it euthanasia when you allow medically hopeless pets to suffer for days on end before relieving their misery.

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).

Empty cage bank in an area accessible by the public at the Memphis pound on July 28, 2012.
The “Pet of the Day” cage in the lobby of MAS was once again empty on Saturday, July 28, 2012.

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:

  1. Accept help from volunteers.
  2. Hire people to fill the vacant staff 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 offsite adoption events – at least 7 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 directly to the MAS listings on PetHarbor so people know to click to look for their lost pets and to see 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.

13 thoughts on “Door #1: Kill, Door #2: Hoard – Wait, There’s a Door #3?

  1. I’m speechless, other than to ask; how long is the kibble going to have to remain in the empty cage? Seems to me that rodents will soon invade.

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  2. Just when you think he can’t say anything more bizarre, he does! I was willing to give this guy the benefit of the doubt – ya know, new at this job, moving toward excellence, that sort of thing, but I think he simply has NO CLUE what he’s doing.

    Thanks for setting the record straight about what is killing and what is true euthanasia. Maybe we all need to send him the dictionary definition of both!

    Stupid is surely a dominant gene in some parts of Memphis!

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  3. Easier to keep cages clean when they are kept empty. For MANY years I have noted a lack of puppies in animal shelters in my state. Guess they poo too much and get sick too easy, so they take the easy way out and just kill them all as they come in. :(

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  4. Couldn’t agree more with this post!! Change needs to come from the top-down in this place, because there is such a lack of apathy all the way around (save for a few volunteers). It’s like a pet slaughterhouse..and that’s just really sad.

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  5. I guess he never considered that the animals can leave due to owner redemption, adoption and rescue! How can one have that mentality and be the director of a shelter?

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  6. The 10 “Basic Reforms” listed are absolutely necessary. Without those 10 things, a “shelter” cannot function properly, and we all know MAS isn’t functioning properly. It’s a train wreck!

    The reason MAS is a train wreck is those 10 reforms are not being implimented. It all leads to the top man, Mr Rogers, who could have a real shelter to be proud of, instead has the shame of Memphis on his hands.

    What is so difficult about following the 10 reforms? Work. Yes, it may require work, work they are already paid to do but aren’t doing, and the results show in dead bodies in their dumpster. I am ashamed of them all, as they should be of themselves.

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