Yet Another Pet Suffers in a Cage at the $7 Million Memphis “Shelter”

On May 30, 2013, Memphis Animal Services impounded a female Miniature Schnauzer as a stray, listing her as 7 years old.  Her photo was never published anywhere online by MAS.  She was kept in the stray area, out of view of the public.  The day after impound, the dog’s medical records received their one and only entry – listed as “observation” by the MAS veterinarian – along with deworming and distemper vaccination.

Obtained via FOIA request, these are the complete medical records for dog ID #254963 at the Memphis pound.
Obtained via FOIA request, these are the complete medical records for dog ID #254963 at the Memphis pound.

Note that the records indicate the dog is quiet, alert and responsive, very geriatric, underweight, with severe dental disease and missing teeth.  There is also a notation about the eyes having mild discharge.  There are no notes indicating MAS contacted a single rescue group about this dog.  Local pet advocate Jody Fisher secured a rescue placement for the dog and on June 6, a rescuer pulled her from MAS.  The rescuer immediately noticed the little dog was deaf and blind. This is what she looked like:

schnauzer mas

The rescuer took the little pet to a veterinarian the next morning for evaluation. The veterinarian estimated the dog to be about 15 years old, not 7 as MAS had indicated. He determined she was in pain and had been suffering for awhile.   The vet reported she was not only underweight, blind and deaf but also that she suffered from chronic dry eye which had likely lead to blindness, and severe dental disease which had likely lead to heart disease. The dog had a grade 6 heart murmur, irregular heart rhythm, bilateral pleural effusions and was in end stage congestive heart failure. She suffered from severe arthritis which compromised her ability to move normally.  Euthanasia was recommended and performed, as the poor girl was medically hopeless and suffering.

I have questions:

  • The MAS vet got close enough to characterize this dog’s level of gum disease but failed to note she was in unremitting pain or prescribe any medication to try to alleviate that pain for an entire week?
  • The MAS vet noted a “mild” discharge from the eyes when the dog looked like she does in the above photo? And she didn’t note that the dog was in fact blind and deaf?
  • Since no meaningful vet care was offered, where are the notes indicating this dog must only be offered soft food and that both food and water bowls must be kept within easy reach of the dog due to her lack of mobility?
  • Since no meaningful vet care was offered, where are the notes indicating the dog requires soft bedding at all times and that the bedding must be checked regularly for dryness in case of urination or water bowl spills?

Failing to note that the dog was blind and deaf is not only a disservice to the dog, who would be severely stressed in a shelter environment, it endangers people who might approach the dog believing her to be sighted and with normal hearing ability. Blind and deaf shelter dogs need to be approached in a particular manner, so as not to provoke a defensive bite by startling the dog.

Failing to note that the dog was in unremitting pain and end stage heart failure is simply inexcusable. A Memphis dog owner who kept a dog in this condition without meaningful vet care for an entire week would presumably be charged with animal cruelty and the MAS vet would do the examination to document the forensic evidence. Who will investigate and determine possible charges regarding the MAS vet in this case?  Let’s be clear:  MAS left this dog to suffer in a cage for a week, making no efforts to get her seen by anyone who might help her and offering her no medical care to address her suffering.  Isn’t this a crime?  Is it in any way acceptable that Memphis taxpayers pay for a shelter veterinarian and kennel workers but must rely on ordinary citizens to find rescuers willing to pay a private vet to tend to suffering pets at the pound?

The suffering of this little pet is hardly an isolated incident.  The head vet at the Memphis pound – on whose watch numerous dogs have starved to death, including a puppy who was forced to eat his own littermate to survive, who scrubbed a degloved cat’s wounds without providing pain medication and left him to suffer in a cage for 5 days, and who neglected then killed a puppy who was impounded with a collar embedded in her neck – is no stranger to animal cruelty.  Yet Memphis city leaders defend the cruelty again and again, as they always do with animal abusers on the payroll, and the suffering at the pound continues.  How many more, Memphis?

Goodbye dog #254963.  I'm sorry your last week on this earth was spent suffering at the Memphis pound.
Goodbye tiny dog #254963. I’m sorry your last week on this earth was spent suffering at the Memphis pound.

Fire. Them. All.

24 thoughts on “Yet Another Pet Suffers in a Cage at the $7 Million Memphis “Shelter”

  1. Anything I hear out of MAS does not surprise me. I think the lot of them need to be fired including the Vet. Then new hires need to go to training classes on how to treat and access new intakes. The vet needs to be a compassionate one that doesnt rush though an exam., but that is just my opinion.

  2. The only good outcome here is that we can be reasonably sure that this little dog’s euthanasia was truly “good”, that it was done properly and with people nearby who were petting and calming her, and who actually cared about her. If she had been put down at MAS, who knows how incompetently or even sadistically it would have been done.
    Fire. Them. ALL.

  3. Rebecca Coleman is an animal abuser. I’m sorry to be so blunt, but frankly, there’s no other way to say it. She may be an excellent forensic veterinarian, but living animals are clearly of zero interest to her and she continues to be criminally negligent in her duties.

    Where is the accountability for the continued horror show that is MAS? What happened to Rogers’ assertion that he would start holding people responsible for their actions/inactions? How many incidents of veterinary incompetence have to happen before someone decides to make a change?

    Is ANYONE in charge of this place or do we continue to let the inmates run the asylum?

  4. WHY do these non-animal loving types, I can’t call them human, work in these shelters with animals?? WHO hires these cretins? Who gets the highly compensated job as administrator? WHERE are the checks on these places? What good is a $7 million facility when this goes on DAILY? Everyone who pays taxes for this facility should be aware how their money is spent…if they do not monitor this, they are part of the problem! You cannot fix what you do NOT know! Start getting involved!! Demand accountability! This is YOUR facility…the animals who are tortured and neglected there and you have an elegant lunchroom?

  5. The irony here is that, had this dog had a comprehensive veterinary exam at the shelter, they would have been justified in actually euthanizing this dog because of it’s condition. Yet, this dog had to go somewhere else for that simple assessment to be made. It makes it even more sad.

  6. It pains me to know how much this little one suffered . . . the people who let her get this way ought to be tarred and feathered and then shot!

    1. Since she was a stray, her history is unknown. It’s possible someone neglected her to the point she was at when MAS impounded her. Other scenarios are also possible. Perhaps she grew old with an owner who was also elderly and the owner died and the dog eventually wandered away from the home and fell into worsening health over a period of time on the streets. No one knows. The only thing I know for certain is that once MAS impounded her, she should have been cared for and shown compassion. She was not.

      1. As i say over and over, when they enter the shelter, no matter what the past history, the so called shelter then has responsibility… whether she was neglected or not previously is of no importance, it was up to the shelter to care for her when she had the misfortune to enter those doors. this story sickens me.

  7. A complaint could be lodged against this vet with the state licensing board I believe. I am unsure if someone needs ‘standing’ to do this, ie: if the vet has to have harmed the individuals animal? If not perhaps a resident could check this out, not sure if it’s effective or not but it’s worth a shot? This vet is doing harm to any animal unlucky enough to be in their
    care and it’s horrible.

    1. I like this idea . . . if the vet thought that anyone was paying attention, they might – just might – do a better job.
      Somebody SHOULD be paying attention!!!!

    2. I would think the person who rescued this poor little baby and had her examined by a second veterinarian – and then euthanised – would have the necessary “standing” in the case to file a complaint against MAS and the vet in charge.

  8. Criminals. Every single person employed by that place is a criminal. The stooges who took the fall for “animal cruelty” were operating in an absolute and ongoing culture of extreme abuse, the permission for which comes directly from the top of the food chain. The heinously callous “interim director” and every one of his thugs should be serving time in a cell.

  9. Judging from the photos, the so called veterinarian and or the staff did not even take 2 minutes to clear the dried, caked on discharge around the eye,- some warm water or a quick cut with a scissors would have done it

  10. I do not understand that the animals rights groups in Memphis do not file charges of cruelty, neglect, and abuse on behalf of these unfortunate animals. Some one is accountable at taxpayers expense. What kind of person would work with animals only to neglect and abuse them? What is the reward, why make any animal needlessly suffer in conditions that are already extremely sad? Disgusting. Inhumane. Someone needs to step up to the plate and hold these so-called people accountable. Taxes are paid to make sure these animals are safe and treated humanely. Shame.

    1. That makes me sick to my stomach. How dare! What has to happen to get things changed at the cesspool they call MAS?

    2. How many folks are in jail now for so many less vicious crimes that Hogan has perpetrated? I’ll never understand why she is not locked up. I’m absolutely flabbergasted, and angry at the system that has failed us all. I can only imagine how bad Kapone’s family feels about allowing the criminal & thug Demetria Hogan to walk away from charges she is SO guilty of.

      Once again, Memphis speaks loud & clear how much they care about society’s pets, & those who care for them.

  11. Sorry if I missed this someplace but what happened at MAS with the “Just one day” event? Was that last year when Rogers bragged that they didn’t kill any pets that day?? When if fact they are just closed Mondays?

  12. total neglect, poor dog. these people act like if You are not Young and groomed, healthy , is not important. not one gets punish over their actions

  13. MAS is a cesspool of dog & cat thugs. Each story from MAS is more sad than the last & they have never improved. The new bulding certainly hasn’t helped. I’m ashamed to say I’m from this town because of MAS.

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