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Animal Abuser on Trial is the Same Darling Beloved by the City of Memphis

Remember when former MAS employees Archie Elliott and Billy Stewart were caught beating two Pitbulls with steel poles after the dogs had been allowed – negligently or intentionally – to get into a fight? Remember how the city of Memphis was so excited to defend the cruelty that they issued a press release and invited the press in to watch the security camera footage? Good times.

I can’t help but reflect on this now that Archie Elliott has pleaded guilty to torturing animals at MAS and Billy Stewart is on trial this week for aggravated animal cruelty:

[Undercover Memphis police officer Daniel] Arrington testified he saw defendant Billy Stewart choke dogs into unconsciousness on five occasions by tightening the rope on a metal catch pole when more humane methods of control were available as the dogs were led into the euthanasia room.

“His words to me were ‘This is how you do it,’” Arrington testified, showing the Criminal Court jurors a five-foot metal catch pole with an adjustable noose on one end. “He said sometimes you have to choke them out.”

Arrington described how the animals dropped to the floor, some yelping and gasping for air for several minutes until another technician injected them with a lethal solution called Fatal Plus without first administering sedation.

“He’d say ‘Come on, hit this one. Nobody needs to see this,” Arrington told prosecutor Katie Ratton. “He just pulled the rope tighter. Billy Stewart said it was the quickest, easiest way.”

There is a certain sense of entitlement and empowerment evident here.  An animal abuser who knows the city of Memphis has his back.  Come on, hit this one.  I get away with this all the time.  Nobody will say anything.  And even if I get caught, the city will defend my actions, just like always.

In fact, Billy Stewart’s attorney emphasized the city’s failure of leadership in his client’s defense while denying that the hanging of dogs on chokepoles qualifies as cruelty:

Stewart’s lawyer says the former worker didn’t commit animal cruelty. Instead, he pointed fingers at the city, saying the shelter has been troubled for years.

It’s true MAS is an epic fail. But that doesn’t negate the fact that Billy Stewart tortured dogs and cats there.

Billy Stewart, a former worker at MAS, hangs a cat in tongs prior to killing while a co-worker looks on.

The city of Memphis defended Billy Stewart’s animal cruelty at the time it was happening.  Over and over.  The city dismissed animal advocates who raised valid concerns over his documented abuse of animals.  Some of those who worked with him and witnessed the suffering he inflicted upon dogs and cats still work at the pound.  And the city still defends the killing of healthy/treatable animals.  In fact, they’d like some sort of award please:

“We provide excellent services,” said [interim director James] Rogers.  “I would like for that to be recognized.”

MAS killed 62% of the pets in its care in the first four months of 2013.  James Rogers, you may pick up your golden Fatal Plus trophy at the landfill, amidst the mountain of dead animals you’ve sent there.

I will post additional developments in the trial of Billy Stewart as warranted.

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