On April 11, 2013, I spoke with Carrie Crunk, a rescuer in Memphis. She told me that at the public meeting of the pound’s advisory board the previous evening, several local advocates were concerned about a pregnant dog at MAS. She says interim director James Rogers reassured concerned citizens that time would be provided to allow them network this dog and that no mention was ever made of killing her unborn puppies. The next day, Ms. Crunk says she called MAS and was placed on speaker phone with James Rogers, Tracy Dunlap and DeKeisha Tunstall. She says her group offered to rescue the pregnant dog but one of the people on the call (she’s not sure which one as the person did not identify himself/herself when speaking) said that the dog can not leave the building until she is spayed because it’s state law. When Ms. Crunk expressed concern that spaying a pregnant dog would mean killing the unborn pups inside her, someone on the call replied that the dog was “not far along” and that they had a rescue group from CO which was fine with killing the unborn pups and had offered to take the pregnant dog after the spay surgery. Ms. Crunk also told me she had heard from another local advocate who had visited MAS on April 11 with the intention of visiting the pregnant dog but was turned away because the dog had been “adopted”.
Under the TN open records law, records were requested for the pregnant dog on April 11. This is the wording of the request:
I am requesting all records for the dog ID #252910 – records to include all notes by ACO , behavioral notes, front and back of kennel card and all pertinent information on this dog including her final disposition. I also want all veterinary notes including other records which reference the disposition of the unborn pups in this dogs uterus at the time she was at MAS. I also am requesting the drug log for the day she was spayed.
The records indicate the dog was impounded as a stray on April 3. On April 9, her weight was recorded as 35 pounds and a notation was made that she appeared to be pregnant. She was vaccinated and dewormed. A noted dated April 10 says that Ona Cooper was given 48 hours to network the dog. Medical records from April 10, the day of the public meeting at which James Rogers reassured advocates they had time to network her, indicate she was spayed and her unborn puppies taken from her belly to die. Her weight was recorded as 47.2 pounds. The notes include the following:
Approx 11 puppies, approx 3 weeks old
Puppies given Fatal Plus en utero
On April 11, the day after the meeting, the day after the spay, and the day the records were requested, the following note appears in the records:
Puppies euthanized after spay surgery. 10 puppies estimated to be about 3 weeks in development. 0.1cc per puppy of Fatal Plus, bottle #40.
I have some serious concerns:
- Why did MAS refuse to allow Carrie Crunk’s local group to rescue the dog and her unborn pups in favor of an out of state group which agreed with the killing of the unborn pups?
- Where is this state law that does not allow exceptions for the release of intact dogs from shelters and if it exists, why has MAS ignored it so many times in the past when releasing intact dogs and cats to rescuers?
- Why was James Rogers reassuring concerned citizens at the public meeting on April 10 that they would be given time to network the pregnant dog when in fact she was already spayed, her puppies already removed from her body?
- How can the 12 pound discrepancy in the dog’s weight between April 9 and April 10 be accounted for?
- Why is there only one page containing a single line entry for the pound’s entire drug log on April 11, 2013? Assuming this was a normal day at MAS and numerous pets were killed, how were the other dogs and cats in their care killed that day? Because apparently they didn’t use controlled substances to do it. Is this an indication that strangling dogs and crushing cats to death is still practiced in the MAS kill room?
- Why would anyone at MAS contend that the dog was “not far along” when in fact it was ordinary citizens noticing the size of her belly who alerted MAS to the fact that this dog was pregnant? A pregnant dog’s belly does not begin to enlarge until the second half of pregnancy because the puppies do not develop to any significant size until then. In other words, by the time it’s obvious to casual onlookers that the dog is pregnant, she is near term.
- Why would the vet note that the 11 (or 10?) puppies were only about 3 weeks in development and killed with injections of Fatal Plus when in fact canine embryos at that stage are merely 1 centimeter in size? See a photo of a puppy at that stage of development here. (This is an actual medical photo from a teaching facility and may not be appropriate for sensitive readers.)
- Why are the note about the Fatal Plus injections for the unborn pups and the drug log for those injections both dated April 11 when the spay was done April 10? When the vet indicated the puppies were killed “after” the spay surgery, did that mean one day “after”?
This pregnant dog had a local rescue willing to take her and her unborn puppies but MAS refused in favor of an out of state rescue which raised no objection to the killing of the pups. The unborn puppies had a right to live. The records appear to show deception and incompetence, at best, on the part of MAS. How many more, Memphis?