Since the Memphis pound doesn’t do its job, local advocate and banned MAS volunteer Jody Fisher visits the pound regularly in order to help get pets out to rescues and adopters. She’s had a lot of success. Which is why she was shocked earlier this summer when suddenly she was informed by a staff member that she had to leave after 30 minutes. She asked interim director James Rogers for an explanation via e-mail:
From: Jody Fisher
Sent: Saturday, August 04, 2012 9:07 PM
To: Rogers, James; Gibson, Terry
Subject: 30 minutes allowed in Adoption and HH areas
I would like to know who was responsible for the decision to only allow me spend 30 minutes in the Adoption and Healthy Hold areas. I also would like to know the reasoning behind said decision. Jody Fisher
Date: August 6, 2012 9:17:48 AM CDT
To: Jody Fisher
Cc: <Terry.Gibson@memphistn.gov>, <Pamela.Carter@memphistn.gov>, <Rebecca.Coleman@memphistn.gov>
Subject: RE: 30 minutes allowed in Adoption and HH areas
Our policy manual states 10 minutes. We have graciously given you thirty minutes.
We have other citizens to serve and on occasion your visit will be limited to the ten minutes as indicated.
James M. Rogers
From: Jody Fisher
Date: August 16, 2012 8:26:35 PM CDT
To: James.Rogers@memphistn.gov, Terry.Gibson@memphistn.gov, “firstname.lastname@example.org” <email@example.com>, “firstname.lastname@example.org” <email@example.com> Subject: Clarification on policy
Please clarify if you mean 10 minutes PER ANIMAL or 10 minutes for the entire visit.
Date: August 27, 2012 5:34:58 PM CDT
To: Jody Fisher, <Terry.Gibson@memphistn.gov>, <Rebecca.Coleman@memphistn.gov>, <Pamela.Carter@memphistn.gov>Cc: <Janet.Hooks@memphistn.gov>, <LaSonya.Hall@memphistn.gov>, <AC.Wharton@memphistn.gov>
Subject: RE: – Policy Clarification
Our policy manual is clear, you are allowed 10 minutes per visit per day. As stated below we will continue to be gracious to you and allow you thirty minutes to visit animals here at MAS.
If you wish to adopt I will gladly make sure that you receive the courteous and prompt service that all citizens of Memphis have come to expect and enjoy here at Memphis Animal Services.
James M. Rogers
Oh and uh – thanks for saving so many animals from our kill room, Jody.
It is unacceptable to have a policy of limiting visitors to 10 minutes at MAS. Not only is it ridiculous to expect anyone to look at all the pets and fall in love with one in 10 minutes’ time, but they are throwing pets away in the garbage. If someone comes in and is willing to save one from the dumpster, I say, let them stay as long as they need to make a thoughtful decision. Heaven forfend anyone collecting a paycheck off Memphis taxpayers should have to do their job.
Beyond all this though, the thing that touched me most was when Jody told me that her elderly dog recently died. She went to MAS in order to look for a new dog to adopt while helping others get out to rescues but was unable to make that special connection in the limited time she was allowed. She asked for some additional time but was refused. On her way out, she passed James Rogers. Jody told him she wasn’t able to find her dog. Mr. Rogers did not reply and Jody hurried out the door while choking back tears. She didn’t want Mr. Rogers to see her crying because she was afraid he would interpret it as a sign of weakness.
Crying over the loss of a beloved old pet while being denied the opportunity to save one from the dumpster at MAS is not weakness. It’s called compassion. Something I expect no one at MAS to understand.
This is yet another tragic example debunking the myth that no one at shelters wants to kill animals. Not only do some appear eager to kill, they go so far as to amend the policy manual to make a rule enabling them to kill more.