“Very Friendly and Wiggly” Dog Killed at Memphis Pound

The cage card for dog #255016 indicates a 5 month old female Pitbull, owner surrendered to the Memphis pound on 6-1-13.  The memos for the dog indicate a 1 year old female Lab mix, brought in as a stray by a Shelby Co ACO.  I guess the pound is too busy killing animals to bother keeping records straight.

The dog was apparently healthy overall except for intestinal parasites which are common and easily treatable with medication.  MAS vaccinated her, tested her for heartworm (she was negative) and noted she was “very friendly and wiggly”.

On June 7, MAS killed her because her time was up and they needed the space, according to the memo.  Bear in mind this is a $7.2 million facility with plenty of empty cages at all times.  The memo also notes that no one had requested any holds be placed upon the dog.  She was never marketed for adoption by MAS to the best of my knowledge.  There are no notes indicating a single rescue group or foster home was contacted by MAS in an effort to save this dog.

This dog’s records, obtained via FOIA request, are all that remains of her brief time in this life.  How many more friendly, wiggly pets will be sent to the landfill on the taxpayer’s dime in Memphis?  How much longer before someone takes a stand and demands that the MAS staff start doing their jobs?

If you can’t be bothered to even try to save a wiggly puppy, you have no business working in a shelter.  You are worse than useless, you are an enemy to shelter pets.  And the same goes for all the enablers who look the other way, toe the company line and attempt to justify the needless killing at MAS.  Shame on all of you.

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55 Comments

  1. mikken

     /  June 27, 2013

    Hey, they got rid of the people who were torturing animals in the kill room AND they got a new facility AND a new logo! They’re doing the VERY BEST THEY CAN. Nobody wants to kill friendly, wiggly puppies, but the public is so irresponsible to turn over a highly adoptable dog to a shelter when they can no longer care for her for whatever reason, what do you want from them? It’s not like it’s their job to…you know…shelter and rehome the dog or anything. No, it’s their job to warehouse and kill. You should be GRATEFUL that some of them make it onto PetHarbor. After all, marketing animals is not their job. Contacting rescues is not their job. Getting animals out of the shelter is NOT THEIR JOB.

    They warehouse. They kill. They repeat the cycle over and over and over again while patting themselves on the back that no one is hanging dogs in the kill room or smashing cats with their feet any more (*that we know of*). This is what they do. Why can’t you just get off their backs and let them do their job? After all, if they keep on warehousing and killing, surely somehow that’s going to change things for the better in Memphis. They simply haven’t warehoused and killed enough. Eventually, it’s going to take hold and…something will happen. Something that will make pet owners more responsible and alter public perception about the worth of companion animals and the value of life overall. And you can thank MAS for leading the way! Because no one wants to kill friendly, wiggly puppies. But how else will the future get better? Oh, I just came up with their new slogan – “Killing pets today for a better tomorrow”. Yes.

    Reply
  2. GWEN SMITH

     /  June 27, 2013

    No excuse.

    Sent from my iPhoneo

    Reply
  3. From the kennel card photo, this dog looks an awful lot like a Weimaraner or mix thereof. Her grey color further leads me to believe this.

    So, it’s quite possible the so-called “professionals” at MAS could have easily reached out to Weimaraner breed rescues to get this nice pup out and into a home.

    Instead, they were lazy, cruel and useless, and a gorgeous, possible Weim who was sweet and highly adoptable is dead.

    Great job, once again, MAS :-(

    Reply
    • Good point. My thinking is that the bare minimum any shelter should do when trying to save an animal includes contacting *every* rescue group and foster on its list who has indicated they take the type of animal in need. If they thought it was a Lab mix or a pitbull, they should have at least contacted all breed, Lab and Pitbull groups. Maybe one of them could have come down to see the dog and let MAS know if the dog looked like a Weim.

      On Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 10:38 AM, YesBiscuit!

      Reply
  4. This sounds like what our shelter was. We formed a concerned citizen group to help turn things around. We are not fully there yet, but it has taken us nearly 4 years to get the current management out of the shelter, open the eyes of the Commissioners as to what was happening, and to form committees that would turn the place around.

    MAS is not going to figure this out on their own. They need concerned Memphis citizens to stand up and fight for what is right–for the sake of the animals–and for all the future animals that will enter that shelter. It can be done. It just takes perseverance, patience, time, and most importantly…passion…to make it happen.

    Reply
    • I am happy you have made progress, concerned citizens have been fighting MAS for many years. Letters unanswered, protest ignored. The attitudes of the population in this area, and continued government corruption have worked against our best efforts. We need help from a powerful outside agency or God to make true progress here.

      Reply
  5. Kelley

     /  June 27, 2013

    I don’t often comment, but I do read all of the posts; however, I note here that there are a disproportionate number of posts about MAS – none good. My belief is that if the citizens want a change it is going to be up to them; they will have to put down their keyboards and pick up a protest sign, or the phone and really start hammering the Board (or whomever the Shelter Director reports to). Getting angry and posting comments is not going to make a change. Until the atrocities that are happening at that facility are “in the face” and widely exposed to a wide mass of uninformed Citizens, nothing changes. So whatever is being done now, obviously is not working..time to try something new and attention getting….just my thoughts

    Reply
    • Arlene

       /  June 27, 2013

      You are speaking to the choir! The change needs to be made with the mayor and all his minions all the way down to the lowest ranking MAS worker. I use “worker” for lack of a better word.

      The entire government is seemingly corrupt and especially concerning MAS. When workers have been deemed guilty there is little or no punishment given. After many months all of a sudden the AC’S office determines there is not enough evidence!

      It is sickening to watch from afar and see what goes on in Memphis. I personally wish that there were a national board or office to file complaints with and just avoid the corrupt city government in Memphis.

      Until the current “players” are wiped out nothing will change there.

      Reply
      • I agree. Some cities have reputations for being notoriously bad with animals. Houston is Texas’s MAS and a big part of it is that the elected officials just don’t care. The news out of there is just so ugly.

    • See my other post, you have no idea what we are up against. We do all the “right” things…and no change.

      Reply
  6. This is so wrong in every aspect. What a beautiful young dog – killed for no reason. What is wrong with the people in Memphis that we aren’t seeing pickets and protests on the news every night until some drastic changes are made there to protect these innocent and helpless animals? Looking at the cage card / record, I noticed the space for “sedative” was blank. Is that an error, or do they inject the Fatal Plus by itself, without first giving the dog a sedative?
    To quote you, Shirley: “How many more, Memphis?” “Fire. Them. All.”

    Reply
    • As far as the MAS records I’ve seen, I can’t recall seeing a sedative used. I remember awhile back, locals had offered to raise money to buy the pound sedatives but MAS was not receptive to the offer. The only thing I remember clearly regarding “sedatives” is that some of the workers choked the animals into unconsciousness before killing – they were observed by an undercover policeman and subsequently charged. Others who witnessed this abuse and apparently approved of it were never charged and in fact still work at the pound.

      Reply
  7. I feel the pain as well. You do know it is policy at MAS to kill ANY dog that even may REMOTELY resemble a pit bull. It could be a toe, a tail, an ear or a piece of hair. If THEY say it is a pit bull, it is a pit bull, no matter if it is a poodle. It is in their manual. I will forward this one to all my contacts as well. Just remember, the DA recently gave MAS a licence and free reign to kill, kill, kill.

    Reply
  8. vida

     /  June 27, 2013

    It’s really hard to even wrap my head around this. A puppy, who can’t love a puppy? Who would kill a puppy? Not even in an act of blinding mental illness or in hatred but just as an everyday thing? Just business as usual? This is heartbreaking for all I know it happens all the time, for some reason I keep thinking of this little bit of sunshine and thinking of my dogs at that age. And how if I wasn’t lucky enough to find them they could have ended up the same way.

    Reply
  9. Jim Adams

     /  July 1, 2013

    So, you all think MAS is a death camp (it is), and the citizens of Memphis are prime offenders in abandoning and mistreating animals (right again). It appears, however, your solution to the problem is just to fire hate speech at everybody. All Memphians are either murderers or heartless, lazy, ignorant fools. (Oops! Wrong about that.)

    As an actual Memphian who spends every waking minute thinking of ways to end the killing at MAS and our other area shelters, I can quote you all of our problems, chapter and verse. (If you want to judge my commitment, I spend 18 hours a day on this. I’m unpaid. And if I’m going to have an official title, I’ll have to finish creating an organization first — which I’m in the process of doing. I’m going to call it the Memphis Animal Welfare Collective.)

    So you’re not raising my awareness, folks. You’re just making it harder to solve the problem.

    You see, I’ve never believed that screaming at people and hating on them ever produces positive change. I know for a fact it won’t in Memphis, which apparently y’all haven’t visited. In Memphis, folks are just like you, only not as less literate, poorer and tougher. But I invite you to stop by, cuss at these folks, wave a magic wand and make it all better. Our economy needs a boost.

    I’m taking a more hands-on approach myself. I’m working to involve everyone on every side of the issue here in a cooperative and collaborative effort to end the killing.

    That’s everyone. So if you have allies in Memphis, they’ll be hearing from me soon enough. And all of your enemies will be hearing from me, too. Everyone’s participation is needed — even the people you think are killers, thieves and fools — to find a permanent solution as rapidly as possible to save as many lives as possible.

    To save lives now, we must devote more resources into adoptions, fosters, rescues, rehabilitations, reunions, owner retention efforts. We could use more money. But what we really need are more advocates. A tighter focus. A coordinated effort. Common cause.

    To reduce shelter admissions and solve the problem for good, we need subsidized spay & neuter services for low-income homes where most of these animals come from. We need a central surgical facility, whether that’s MAS or not. We need a pet transport program targeting poor neighborhoods. Free vaccinations. Owner education efforts. Community-wide marketing to drive the whole thing. More money. Many more people. A laser-like focus. A coordinated effort. Common cause.

    Changing the mathematics of shelter admissions is the only way to solve the problems at MAS. You’re not going to be able to transform the people or force political change here. But if you lower shelter intake by 10,000 or 12,000 animals a year, you’ll see a million benefits and you might find people really would care for the animals.

    Shelter workers may indeed be cruel and callous, but I suspect what they really are is dehumanized. They are poor people who got a job, which makes them a success in Memphis. They don’t choose to kill the animals. They choose to keep their job. And that’s their job right now. In a sense, their job dictates who they are.

    My job, as I see it, is to make sure that’s not their job.

    To be successful, I have to convince everyone, from local pols to shelter directors to adoption/rescue/foster groups to advocacy groups to the humane society to spay & neuter groups to local vets to the general public, that it’s in their own best interest to do the right thing. Because that’s what it will really take to change things in Memphis — convincing people with a million different motivations to work together in common cause.

    It’s hard as hell, but not impossible. Some of us are creative and committed and up for the challenge. But we need your help, not your animus. You keep sending us your hate, your rage and your pent-up frustrations from around the country, but it doesn’t seem to be working.

    Why not try sending us some love and compassion, some prayers and assistance instead? Send us some good thoughts even the people you think are killers. Of everyone, they need your prayers most of all. It can’t possibly be less helpful if you try to love us, it just might work and positivity is much better for your soul, your stress levels and your peace of mind.

    Besides, you love animals. And while a lot of us may not act like it, Memphians are animals, too.

    Reply
    • Jim Adams

       /  July 1, 2013

      Sorry for the ironic typo and all the “millions.” Should have read it more closely before posting.

      Reply
    • I enjoyed reading your post; however, I AM from Memphis as well, and I have to wonder which Memphis you are from? We have tried all the tactics you have mentioned. Not all of it is hate speech, but rather, anger at the political system that continues to allow MAS to kill, kill, kill. With overwhelming evidence of cruelty and killing, the DA just gave MAS a license to kill freely. How do we combat that? Blaming the public for these woes is not only false, but unfair as well. The powers that be only want to protect their jobs and keep money in their pockets.

      While some of your ideas are worthy, this has been going on for decades, and falls on deaf ears. It matters not if we protest every day, write our legislators or senators or governors. NO ONE has time to fool with the “animals” under MAS’ care. They are killed randomly and subjected to cruelty that is undeserved. The only way things will change is to start at the top and fire them all. This has been an outrage for far too long. Only by keeping this in the public eye will somehow someway get someone in the upper echelons to respond.

      If we lose focus and stop being angry or outraged, it will only get worse. I have lived in Memphis almost all my life, and I know what goes on at MAS, as I have brought many strays there myself. Dehumanized? That is for humans. And humans are the most dangerous animals on earth. It is part of the policy at MAS to kill for space, pleasure or just to see the animal suffer. They get joy from doing their job so well.

      I wish you well in your endeavor. I hope it can work. Make sure you talk to someone who will finally listen.

      Reply
      • Jim Adams

         /  July 2, 2013

        Thank you, Denise, for taking the time to read and respond to my post. Thank you, also, for being a Memphian who is trying to save these animals.

        I live in 38122 — we’re a leader in sending strays to MAS –in a large, old, semi-run-down apartment complex. One of the outdoor cats I’m saving was kicked out of her apt. home by an otherwise nice woman (a young mother and pregnant herself) when the cat became pregnant by the woman’s unspayed tomcat.

        She put momma cat out in the courtyard, gave her a box to live in and she had 3 kittens. The neighbor kids killed one of the babies, I took the 2nd one in to my home, and the 3rd took off and became semi-feral. I now care for that cat as well. Momma and her two children have been S/N, vaccinated and the outdoor cats get regular flea meds.

        The colony I care for, about 15 animals, were all abandoned by residents of this apt. complex — kicked out because their owners either wouldn’t or couldn’t take care of them. I spend about $75/month taking care of the mess these people (who had nothing to do with MAS or local government) left behind.

        So please don’t tell me the public isn’t playing a big role in this problem. I know better. These are real, irresponsible people. I know them. I can introduce you to them.

        That being said, I share your frustration with all things political, and agree you can protest and write letters until time ends, and it probably won’t change anything. That’s been my life experience anyway. That’s why I want to try a different approach.

        Without knowing the shelter workers — and I intend to rectify that soon by meeting them — I can’t say if they enjoy killing animals. I don’t believe it, but I intend to see for myself. I also intend to speak to every person you mentioned in your post, and help them see why it is in their best interest to help us all do the right thing. No screaming. Just respect and careful listening and appealing to their unique self-interest.

        Yes, I’ll be talking to the people you call killers. I’ll actually try to get them something they want, but don’t currently have. I won’t know what that is until I’ve talked to each of them. But it will be something like good PR, saving tax dollars, expanding a constituent base for future elections, being a shining star and moving up in government. Something like that.

        There is a reason for everyone to help us stop the killing, apart from it being the right thing to do. There is a selfish, compelling reason. They just don’t know what it is yet. That’s what I’m doing. Helping them discover what that reason is.

        Ultimately, I want to talk to every Memphian who can help solve this problem. So, I invite you, Denise, (or any other Memphians reading this post) to attend the SOS Memphis mtg. @ Bartlett Library on the 9th, or the MAS advisory group mtg. @ Hooks Library on the 10th. I’ll be at both. The old, ugly, bald guy who looks like he doesn’t quite belong.

        I don’t really. That’s why I’m effective. Let me buy you a cup of coffee, and I’ll prove it.

      • Jim, while I admire what you are trying to do, we have done it before. We have been respectful and beseeching. Nothing works. It hasn’t for years. Good luck in talking to all those people … you will be promptly led out the front door. They do not allow the public to snoop or talk to others, especially the Mayor and City Council.

        It is a worthy cause nonetheless, but, every tactic to get it fixed and get people who want to stop the killing has fallen on deaf ears. You cannot change the spots on a leopard, neither can you with Memphis City Government. Thousands of dollars are wasted each month on the noncaring MAS workers. Privatizing and getting people who care is the only way it will change.

        I try to remain positive, thinking we can change it, but the killing just continues and continues, ad nauseum. I understand about the people in your apartment complex dumping the cats. However, you have to ask yourself where they came from in the first place? It is always blamed on the irresponsible public, which is totally not true.

        I will try to attend the MAS Board meeting, depending on the time. I have to be at work at 4pm, so time is of the essence.

        Thank you and good luck. You will certainly need it.

      • Jim Adams

         /  July 4, 2013

        Thanks for your kind words, Denise. I may indeed be beating my head against a wall, but I have a very hard head. This time, the wall just might crack.

        Please try to remain positive a little while longer. I’ll know within 3 or 4 months if this is going to bear fruit or not. If it doesn’t, I’ll take another path. And you’ll be the first to know.

        The MAS mtg. starts at 6, so if you have to be at work at 4, it’s going to be difficult for you. I really hope I can meet you, though, because I know we both want the same thing. And there’s power in cooperation.

  10. Jim Adams

     /  July 3, 2013

    Well, I owe everyone an apology. I just spent the afternoon at MAS, touring the entire facility and speaking with employees and volunteers alike. I was wrong about a number of things. Thought I should share what I learned.

    All the animal holding areas were spotless, with one exception. One dog had pooped, but as I left that area, an employee with a pooper scooper was coming in to take care of it.

    None of the old bad actors still work at the shelter. Hogan and the rest are gone. I spoke to numerous employees casually. None of them seemed anything but courteous, professional and friendly.

    There were 3 kinds of empty cages. About half the cages in the cat holding area were empty. Good news. The shelter had recently held a cat adoption event, and there was actually room for more cats at the shelter. No cats euthanized today.

    In the main dog holding area, half the cages were empty. That’s because every cage is actually two-sided, which allows workers to move each dog to a protected area while the other half of the cage is being washed out. This prevents animals from being soaked in the process, which was the case at the old shelter.

    There was an additional row of empty cages against one wall, maybe 8 or 10 in all, that are not being used because of a design flaw which left the cages essentially in perpetual darkness. I suppose you could argue that a dark cage beats the alternative, but MAS would be slammed for keeping dogs in cruel conditions if they used them. A tough call.

    Summing it up, all the dog cages that could be used were being used.

    I saw, with my own eyes, every animal in the shelter. Every animal — EVERY animal — looked healthy, well-fed, and not under stress of any kind. The cats, well-separated from the dogs, seemed especially content. I saw a couple of dogs who were timid, but by and large, the dogs were lively, friendly and wanting a home.

    There were many pit bulls, and there were pit bulls in the adoption area. Every one of them was a sweet gentle dog. No one was torturing them or exercising an anti-pit agenda. The biggest problem seems to be not enough people want to adopt them.

    I saw animals in the adoption area that had been there since April and May, so I question whether there is a rush to kill these animals. I saw a cute Pomeranian. There was a waiting list 6 people long to adopt her. People adopt the little dogs. All the sweet beautiful pits are a tougher sell.

    As far as the treatment of animals goes, there was one real shortcoming that the people there freely admitted and wanted help addressing. There are not enough volunteers to walk dogs and play with cats, so they’re spending too much time in their cages. They need to be out more. I’m going to volunteer to do that, and I invite anyone out there to join me.

    The people at MAS couldn’t have been nicer or more open about the challenges they face. And lest you think this was a set-up and they cleaned the place up before my visit, let me just say I’m a nobody and you all know more about me (from my two previous posts) than they did before I walked in the door.

    I’m just one guy with a weird idea. But they took me seriously and to my astonishment, before I left, MAS Director Rogers took the time to speak with me, and HE was very open and honest.

    Here’s what I was wrong about: I said MAS was a death camp. Not true. It’s a beautiful facility, and no one wants to kill these animals. I know you won’t believe that, but it’s true. Every animal I saw would make a great pet, and everyone I spoke to recognized that.

    I also said that shelter workers may be callous and cruel, but that their jobs were responsible for dehumanizing them. Not true. Didn’t meet anyone who had even a whiff of cruelty about them. There have been really bad actors at MAS, some of the worst ever, but I don’t think you’re going to see those kind of problems from these employees going forward.

    I’m very encouraged after my visit. Before, I thought It was possible to solve this problem. Now, I’m certain that it is.

    I feel your skepticism about everything I’ve said. I’m like that, too. So do what I did. Go see for yourself. If you’ve never been, or haven’t been in awhile, you might be surprised at what you find.

    Reply
    • Jim,

      To be clear: You saw 555 cages? If so, please share how you accomplished it. I know many readers here have been to MAS and been refused access to the “stray” dogs in the facility, only being allowed to see animals in adoption. In addition, they are not allowed to walk the dogs. MAS claims the dogs can not be removed from the cages because they are “stray”. Was there a pet in the lobby cage – the “featured” pet? One reader who visited on Saturday said that cage was empty, as on previous visits.

      Speaking of empty cages, a reader sent me this photo of the puppy room at MAS:

      Isn’t it puppy season in Memphis?

      Also, one time warning to knock off the passive-aggressive bullshit. The next comment like that will get you banned.

      Reply
      • Ona

         /  July 4, 2013

        Mr. Adams,
        I have some wondeful ocean front property in Arizona that I would like to sell to you.

      • Jim Adams

         /  July 4, 2013

        Good morning to all.

        To your specific questions:

        I didn’t see 555 cages. I didn’t count them, but there were nowhere near that number. I’ll freely admit you know things I don’t, so please educate me on that. The next time I’m there, I’ll count them and give you an exact number.

        As to the photo of the puppy room, I don’t know when it was taken. All I know is, when I was there, there were puppies in the cages.

        I was given access to the strays. Can’t explain why others haven’t been. Saw nothing remarkable there.

        There was no “featured pet” in the lobby. There was an empty cage with food and water in it. I didn’t ask about that.

        I’m certain they want help walking all the dogs and playing with all the cats. I’m told they have a volunteer training class on the third Saturday of each month from 10 am – noon. I’ll be at the next one to see if it’s for real.

        And finally, I’m really not trying to be passive-aggressive. I’m trying at every turn, both here in Memphis and on this blog, to get people who are at odds with one another to work together to solve a horrible problem. While I know virtually everyone will hate me for this, I’m prepared to do it because I want Memphis to stop killing beautiful pets.

        The path I’ve chosen is a conciliatory and purposefully non-confrontational one. It really could work or it could be total pie-in-the-sky, Polyanna b.s., but it is, at all times, sincere and with the best of intentions. If I’m coming off as passive-aggressive, I apologize to everyone.

        To YesBiscuit, I would give you a compliment here, but you’d just think I was pandering. Ah, to hell with it. Thanks for your blog.

      • How about the 10 minute time limit which has been used against rescuers – you were exempt from that? And were you told no photos could be taken of the strays, as other rescuers have been advised? If you received better treatment than people there to rescue pets, I would really like to know why. How can local rescuers get these same “privileges” at MAS?

      • db

         /  July 4, 2013

        The date on the photo of the puppy room empty cages is 7-2.

        Again, I say that if they have made a drastic change, then turn on the cameras and let us see those changes. Bet that won’t happen.

      • Thank you db for posting the date. I hate having to point every little thing out. It’s insulting to those people trying to have honest dialogue. The only people who require that every detail be spelled out, twice, in all caps and italics, are those hoping you won’t notice their diversion tactics.

      • Further Jim, how DID you manage to talk to ALL the employees? I was there last year to talk with Mr. Rogers and did not talk to any employees except the vet. I was not taken to the kill room or the adoption room or the cat room. Many cages were empty and a lot were dirty. Let us know how you pulled this off.

    • db

       /  July 4, 2013

      And if things are so wonderful there, let them show the world by turning on the video cameras and making them available to the public (in real time) so we can see for ourselves.
      As for me, I’m not buying what you’re selling.
      MAS has proven to me, over and over and over, that they are not interested in “sheltering” animals in any sense of the word. It’s up to them to prove to me (and lots of others) that they are doing what the Memphis taxpayers are paying them to do ~ actually care for the animals and get them into loving homes, rescues or returned to owners.
      TO MAS: If things are different then prove it!

      Reply
    • mikken

       /  July 4, 2013

      They have so much space and no one wants to kill…so why do the body bags keep filling the trucks day after day after day? There’s a reason those cages are empty and it’s not adoptions.

      Why do they continue to employ people who witnessed YEARS of criminal abuse and did nothing? Why do they continue to employ a veterinarian whose idea of “care” is abhorrent to pet owners?

      MAS is a slaughterhouse. I’m glad you enjoyed your tour.

      Reply
    • Wow, on my visit the clinic waiting room smelled like a really bad nursing home, strong urine odor and pending death. Are you sure you were at Memphis Animal “Services”? And trust me , your take on Director Rogers is inaccurate. Are you a close friend of his? Relative?

      Reply
      • Jim Adams

         /  July 6, 2013

        Dear Betty,

        If you saw the size of my nose, you would not question my ability to detect odors. Entering the lobby on both visits, I only detected a cleaning solution smell. Could be that everyone’s complaining made a difference and they changed their cleaning protocols. Or I could have been in the right facility, but in an alternate universe. I guess that’s possible.

        What’s not possible is that the director of MAS is my close relative. As Stephen Colbert says, “I don’t see color, but people keep telling me I’m white, so I believe them.”

        My final word on this: I met Mr. Rogers for the first time the other day. But I now consider him a friend, because he has embraced my idea and seems to share my vision. I welcome his support. Period. I would welcome yours as well, no matter which Betty Wilkinson you truly are.

  11. suju bala

     /  July 4, 2013

    poor baby puppy.. RIP sweet one..
    Yes, this shelter needs a change in the management.. when can this happen?
    and how?
    people who must head a shelter must show their qualification as an animal-lover and activist just like an engineer needs to show their grad certificate to get a job .. why are people who have no records of helping or caring for animals put in such responsible positions when their records do not point to this attitude.. for example Carson Shelter, CA has a 55% kill rate and the director of 5 years maintains status-quo every year.. is this progressive sheltering? this shows no accountability and this is the problem.. there are lots of reports of pit-bulls being targeted for killing, not being sent for adoption drives, puppies killed with empty cages for paltry infections.. in fact 130 pit-bulls killed in one month last year.. there seems to be so many shelters who also seem to gas the shelter-pets or heartstick poor puppies and shelter-pets without sedation.. hell, so many such horror stories.
    in other words, these positions which should be occupied by people driven by the highest ethics of life-saving and excellence in animal care is run by people who seem to just be interested in collecting pay-checks and maintaining status-quo.. and no accountability is a crazy thing.. how many other enterprises run where a person’s record is not scrutinized by superiors for improvement or excellence? and why is this not done in the animal-shelter business?
    so ultimately it boils down to this :
    Have animal loving people with proper references become shelter-directors
    Have a 6 month audit of shelter functioning by superiors
    See if this doesn’t work for the benefit of the shelter-pets and the happiness of the animal loving public everywhere.

    Reply
  12. Jim Adams

     /  July 4, 2013

    My secret weapon to gaining access was smiling, being friendly, and mentioning that I have a plan to get everybody together to solve this problem. Being passive-aggressive, I suppose. As for the empty cage photos, it will be the first thing I bring up in any future talks.

    Reply
    • Again with the passive-aggressive bullshit. You are implying that local rescuers who have been denied access to animals are NOT friendly people.

      Is there a single local advocate who can vouch that you are a real person, Jim Adams? I know many of them and at this point, I can’t help but be suspicious that no one seems to know you. This blog has more than its share of MAS employees and vols using fake names to cheerlead for the killing. So it’s a fair question.

      Reply
      • Jim Adams

         /  July 5, 2013

        Yessss ma’am. Really real. You have my email address. Give me a name of one of your advocates locally. I’ll contact and present myself for inspection.

        I’m not implying rescuers are not friendly people. I don’t know who is in your network.

        I do know a local pit rescuer personally. Her name is Donna V., and I used to work as her dry cleaner. I charged her less than my other customers — except a few very poor ones — so she could use the money on dog food, and covered the shortage in the cash drawer out of my pocket. And she had a lot of dry cleaning! I haven’t seen Donna since 2011, when the cleaners closed. (Now, you have to admit, that’s a pretty inventive lie for an MAS employee. You have to give me credit for that one.)

        I don’t know if the rescuers are friendly, and don’t know how they interact with MAS.

        I am, however, stating directly that I’ve received nothing but an unfriendly reception here from my first post. I’m not allowed to be conciliatory or just nice, because that’s passive-aggressive. All of my motivations have been questioned — I can’t really be here to help the animals; I must have a hidden agenda. And now I’m accused of being a spy.

        Don’t worry. I’ll quit bothering you. But no matter what you all say or think, I’m proceeding with this initiative. If you’re from Memphis, you’ll find out that I am a real person. I don’t expect I’ll get any kind of apology when you do. Or any cooperation, for that matter, because I won’t be doing it your way.

        If you don’t think we can make more progress through cooperation than confrontation, then fine. I respect your opinion, and I won’t question your motives — just your strategy. We all have to choose our own path, and I know the path I’m on. Sorry none of you could join me.

        Hope everyone enjoyed the 4th. (More P.A.B.S.? Nope. I really hope you enjoyed it. Unfortunately, that’s just how I am.)

      • mikken

         /  July 5, 2013

        Well Jim, if you can put an end to the killing/abuse at MAS, I’ll sing your praises whatever you are.

        But. What I won’t do is support enabling of the killing and abuses there. The “go along to get along” belief is what allowed the horror show at MAS to play out for so very long. Turning a blind eye to the dead leaving in garbage bags to try to save the few getting adopted/rescued is unacceptable. You can see why your statement of, “It’s clean and there are empty cages and the people were nice to me!” could seriously rankle those who watched whole rooms of animals go neglected (and kept in the dark) for more than 24 hours at a time, people who tried to save dogs that were killed despite the fact that MAS staff knew that rescuers were trying to place them, those who read the documented abuse (documented in the abuser’s own hand, Rebecca Coleman), and those who have tried and tried and tried again to get their voices heard, only to be told that the new building and logo will solve everything….

        MAS is killing for “space” despite the fact that they have approximately 200 empty cages on any given day. They won’t let volunteers help clean/feed animals in most areas and they won’t hire more staff, so they just keep those cages empty. MAS does not put every animal up on Pet Harbor (they say they do, but they do not), nor do they contact rescue groups about animals (but will state that “no rescue came forward” as if that absolves them of the blood on their hands). So here we have dogs and cats kept separate from the public, no one but staff sees them, they go unposted and unknown until their time is up, then they’re killed.

        So do this for me – get MAS to publicize/market their animals. Open the WHOLE SHELTER to the public at all times and get every, single animal up on Pet Harbor (and no, I don’t care if it’s a criminal case or bite hold as some of those may be stolen pets that someone recognizes). Get those Pet Harbor records complete (where an animal was found, identifying markings, and any remarks from the staff about temperament that might help the pet be marketed, etc.) and publicize Pet Harbor six ways from Sunday so people in Memphis can find them easily (direct links included). Because right now, MAS makes finding your lost pet very, very difficult (as Tish Tonole will tell you).

        If you can make headway into the morass that is MAS, I know of sixty-two people who will stand behind you and help. But please, do not think that being an enabler or apologist will work because that’s what *hasn’t* been working there for decades.

  13. Sheri Morgan

     /  July 5, 2013

    One more thing about the problems @ MAS, is that they have NOOOOO SIGNS! NONE….you can’t find them easily. That’s what makes it so wonderful for the management there. One of our volunteers went for her first time the other day and she stopped @ two convenience stores and finally at the police station because it isn’t marked. She had the address, but it is well protected down in the cove! So if you do make headway would you please ask for SIGNAGE, all over Memphis and Shelby County! Thanks for trying!

    Reply
  14. Sheri Morgan

     /  July 5, 2013

    Jim, Director Rogers has met with me before and on more than one occasion we’ve exchanged dialogue in the front area. I also talk with the supervisors. I try to use niceness, because of the “catch more flies with honey”, but Mr. Rogers came from the post office, he has the cleanest office and the nicest dress shoes on. He told me that he arrives at 0600 daily and makes “personal rounds with the veterinarian on every dog that’s in the shelter every day”. He will give lip service and “sure come on by” to anyone he thinks is a possible danger, and as nice as you sound like you tried to be, believe me you’ve been identified to the staff and they will watch for you. There are nice people there that care, but they’re made to put down dogs for space alone, when the cages are empty and there’s no space issue. He told me himself that “after 24 hrs. the dog belongs to Memphis” and it’s their property to do with what they will. I’ve walked down the hall with him and he never stops to pet an animal or even glances a smile at one. By the way, he treats the staff pretty much that way too.
    So we’ll all try to keep working at it, but it’s very hard to be encouraged. Pretty much every dog/puppy we pull from there has kennel cough and we “pull/adopt” a bunch! They almost without exception have to be treated by a vet within 24 hrs of leaving the shelter. I believe that’s one of the real reasons they have a kill rate that’s so high. The month of June, we were told by an inside person “putting down over 100/day”……staggering figures, with empty cages. Of course the statistics don’t match that.
    I welcome you’re help, if you take it on as a cause. Hope to see you at this week’s MAS Advisory Board meeting.

    Reply
    • Jim Adams

       /  July 5, 2013

      Thank you, Mikken and Sheri.

      Here’s what I will promise you. I will, beginning immediately if they will let me, help the shelter make improvements in all of the areas Mikken identifies. It’s essential, urgent and fundamentally important to have the program operating at peak efficiency in each of these areas. Sheri’s point about the signage is also important, as I found out for myself this week. As a former advertising/PR guy, I’m down with marketing, advertising and mass communication.

      I believe I can help significantly in those areas immediately, and I have offered my services to the DIrector at no charge. If he will let me help, I guarantee you this can become a well-oiled machine. The more people I can get to help me, the faster I can get this done, but I can make significant improvements on my own. Again, with the Director’s blessing.

      Furthermore, I will be searching for additional ways — beyond those you suggested — to promote the animals for adoption, publicize the need to adopt from the shelter, and educate the community on how they can help the shelter become what we all want it to be.

      I will advocate for more openness generally about everything at the shelter, not because we need it, but because MAS obviously needs it. They were open to me, and I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. My experience was obviously different than yours. It may be counter-intuitive for some, but openness is always a good thing. I will work to make that happen.

      As to volunteers, I found great receptivity to the idea of dramatically growing the volunteer base, on the order of the Humane Alliance of Nashville’s volunteer program, which has more than 400 members. Without presuming to speak for him, I believe Mr. Rogers is more than receptive to this idea. And 400 volunteers, no matter what they are doing, will serve to open up the shelter as well. I am working now, on my own initiative, to develop a plan to help make that happen.

      In my humble opinion, however, all of the things above are only putting a band aid on a deep wound. To ultimately stop the killing, spay/neuter must somehow be made available at no cost to poor folks in places like Frayser, south Memphis, Orange Mound, Hickory Hill . . . where so many pit strays come from. MAS has started a TAR program for feral cats once a month, but it needs to grow dramatically. We need to be able to extend services out into the community, into these people’s homes and show them how to care for and not abandon their pets. Give them dog food. Free vaccinations. Collars and leashes. Might need to help them build some good fence. (Which makes me think I need to find a fencing contractor who loves animals.) I heard of a suggestion a local 12-year-old girl came up with to get people to donate Dollars for Collars. Brilliant. Adorable. And doable. And I would make her the face of the program.

      And along with all that, the whole community needs an attitude adjustment around animal cruelty, dog fighting, the value of pits as a breed . . .

      As my dear departed father used to say, “It’s no hill for a stepper.” Well, I’m stepping, Dad.

      Mikken, I almost cried when you said you had 62 people who would join in if I can make this happen. You cannot imagine the good that one sentence did for my cause. Because I’ve already heard, more than once in the talks I’ve had, that the big roadblock to all of this will be the animal welfare community.

      One reason I started posting here was to see for myself if that was true. Your post convinced me that it isn’t, if I can deliver the goods. I believe that I can, and so, my day has been brightened immeasurably.

      I am not presuming anyone’s involvement, by any means. And I’m not trying to co-opt anyone. But there is great potential in Memphis for change of the immediate kind.

      I swear to everyone, that’s all I’m trying to do.

      Sheri, I can’t wait to meet you. Again, kinda tall, bald, big nose, old, bad skin and teeth. Pretty much the perfect vessel. Knowing all that, I hope you still seek me out.

      Thank you both. And as always, thanks to YesBiscuit! for letting me post.

      Reply
      • So, that’s it? You have an inside route to Rogers and all of the MAS staff? Already working out plans without being paid? The City of Memphis doesn’t do that. How have you presented your plan and incentive to the City? Mr. Rogers is only in charge of the shelter. The City is in charge of all changes, petitions, and improvements under its umbrella. I find it difficult to believe you have unlimited access to MAS and with all the plans you have presented.

        Are you sure you are not already working for MAS? Anyone can be undercover, and I cant imagine you doing it on your own dime. I am not indicating you are not telling the truth, but it just seems that you have more access than anyone else in this city, and you can see why we may think there is something here you are not telling us or revealing.

        Again, good luck with your plan. If it actually works, we will all be behind you.

      • Jim Adams

         /  July 5, 2013

        I met with Director Rogers one time and took one tour of the facility. I offered my services, primarily around marketing the animals and helping to build a volunteer base. That’s it.

        For all I know, the next time I contact him, he’ll say, “What were you doing on YesBiscuit talking about me? Get lost.” And I’ll have to find another path to my goal.

        My feeling, though, and my earnest hope is that if I can show him that his staunchest critics will at least give this thing a chance, and not reject it outright, it would go a long way toward making him and others believe that a cooperative approach is worth pursuing.

        I know I’ll have to sell this thing up the chain, above the Director’s pay grade, all the way to Mayor Wharton. I was in a room with the mayor once, along with 800 other people. Doubt if he remembers me. I don’t know any of the other key players.

        But I’m not going to let that stop me, or even slow me down. Because I believe I’m carrying a powerful message and that the message will open doors for me.

        Finally, I don’t know how to put this spy, MAS employee, Trojan horse thing to bed. I don’t work for anyone. In fact, I’ve been out of work for two years, and at 59, my professional prospects are virtually non-existent. My girlfriend pays the rent and bills and keeps me alive. She would love for me to have gainful employment, I assure you.

        But at this point, I wouldn’t accept a job from anyone in any way associated with this issue. I’ll give you all my time if you want it. But once somebody starts paying me, then the Trojan horse metaphor pertains. I love the freedom I have now, and I don’t think I can make this happen any other way.

        So when I say, I’ll buy you a cup of coffee, what I’m really saying is my girl, Stephanie, wants to buy you a cup of coffee. But she loves me, and she believes in me. And ultimately, she’s happy to do it.

        My best to all.

      • It is just too much information. I hope you can pull it off. Moreover, if it appears too good to be true, it usually isn’t. Like I said, if you get it and it works, I’m 100% behind you.

      • mikken

         /  July 5, 2013

        Denise, I understand and share your reservations, but let’s see what Jim can do. Maybe he has something that we’ve missed. The man wants to initiate immediate changes, I say let him have at it. I know there are plenty of animal welfare advocates in the area who want the same thing, so if he can serve as a rally point, more power to him.

      • I agree with you Mikken. As I stated in my previous post, I will stand behind him 100% if he can actually enact change. I hope he does and I will assist in any way I can. Thanks.

  15. Jim Adams

     /  July 6, 2013

    Alright, really, one last post and then I have to stop because my ass has to catch up to what my mouth has been saying, plus I’ll be too busy to write. Besides, I hope to meet some of you at the MAS mtg. on the 10th, and you can start telling my little tale from your own, more trusted, perspective.

    News: I spent 2 hours this morning with Director Rogers, Before you ask, I had requested a follow-up mtg. with him when I talked to him the first time. I did this because I wasn’t allowed to see the surgical suite during public hours, and I was very interested in that suite from a S/N perspective.

    I didn’t assume the darkest motives. I didn’t demand to get in there, I respected their right to keep any area off-limits. I was just happy to be looking around, seeing a little bit of what’s what, but I did want to see that surgical suite. So Mr. Rogers graciously invited me to come by today, a Saturday, before they opened, to see it.

    It was exactly what I wanted to see. In my opinion, you could do S/N all day long or do high-volume events on weekends or both. I believe you need a central surgical facility and a pet transport program and free S/N and vaccinations for low-income and disabled people. This place would be perfect.

    But the real important news is this: Mr. Rogers is on board with — well, I’m going to start calling it this since there is now more than one of me — the Memphis Animal Welfare Collective (MAWC).

    Enthusiastically.

    For example, at his initiative, we have set a timetable of 45 days from today to implement a city-wide billboard campaign promoting the shelter. At this point, that’s the two of us. I have $5 I can kick in, and he has no budget.

    Nevertheless, here is what we agreed to do: I’ll come up with the plan, develop the marketing messages, contact outdoor media companies, tell him what we need and how much it will cost, and he’ll find the money.

    When he proposed this, especially the timetable, I gulped hard, but then I said, “Hell, yes!” I actually have no idea if any outdoor boards will be available 45 days from now, but faith is a big part of this and I have faith it will all work out.

    We also agreed on the need for two large site signs near the shelter — one near the interstate exit at Appling, and one on the surface street leading to the shelter. Although we didn’t discuss it, I will include cost estimates to install these signs as well, and find a way to help someone either donate the signs or the money needed.

    (Just thought of another idea: in the interim, inexpensive Burma-Shave-style signs leading off Appling as you wind around to the shelter, with a playful rhyme and a positive marketing message to help direct visitors, establish a welcoming environment, and slow cars down slightly so that visitors also have time to notice the electronic message board which I found badly placed at the entrance to the parking lot.)

    The director’s attitude toward aggressively marketing shelter pets for adoption mirrors my own. Do he and I agree, 100%, on how to do that? Probably not. Do we agree on what is an adoptable animal? It doesn’t matter. Because we do agree on which animals are going to live if this collective succeeds. And that’s virtually all of them. I’m sure we agree on that.

    I’m approaching this as if I were developing a marketing campaign for a large company. I’ve never had a client at the beginning of this process who was in lock-step with my way of thinking. In retrospect, that was probably good for the world.

    But I’ll say this, I’ve never before had a client say, right from the jump, “Let’s go! Let’s make it work! Tell me what you need. I’ll find the money.”

    What clients are supposed to do is introduce obstacles to the process from day one. “Engineering has to approve everything. Legal won’t move it until they’ve blessed it 3 times. My wife took creative writing classes in college, and she wants to write the headlines.”

    That last one I heard with my own ears.

    Mr. Rogers is not your typical client. Apparently, he is 100% on board with this initiative. He is excited to have my help, committed to change, wants to make MAS a “shining jewel” for the city, and sees this initiative as a part of a larger plan to transform Memphis generally. He may be a manager by training, and it’s obvious on some levels that he is, but to my complete surprise, he’s turning out to be a visionary.

    I also committed to helping him try to develop a greatly expanded volunteer base, and we talked at some length about that. I pointed out that having more volunteers would make it possible for everyone in the shelter to do everything more efficiently. He totally agreed.

    I talked about the need to be open with critics, to let them have access to the parts of the shelter they want to see so they could see if shelter conditions had improved. He was open to this, although he insists many people have gotten the same tour I received the other day.

    I got the feeling we could establish an excellent dialogue where anyone can be involved and make improvements, so long as everyone remains respectful.

    He loves the idea of taking a cooperative approach to improving the shelter. Will his opinion of how to do things differ from how you or I think something should be done? Certainly. Can you achieve your goals in spite of this? I believe you can. Especially if good things start happening.

    I told him I didn’t want compensation or a job. I had one goal, and that was to make MAS a no-kill shelter whether you want to call it a no-kill shelter or not. I took his nodding as assent, but in any case made my ultimate intentions clear.

    He said he’s already passed word of my collective idea up to “the powers that be.” That means my message, as I had hoped, is opening doors.

    I am determined to go through every one of them. I invite you all to come with. Or just hang out for now and watch the show.

    Advertising, marketing and volunteers. That’s where we’re starting. Billboards up in 45 days.

    Let’s see if MAWC can make a little magic.

    Reply
    • db

       /  July 6, 2013

      Great news IF it happens. Please take a look at the owner surrenders in the next thread, many of them nearly babies, and tell me how that, in any way, suggests they are interested in stopping the killing. Please notice the date, too . . . and all those empty cages.

      Reply
    • db

       /  July 7, 2013

      Forgive me for being so hesitant, and know that I support you all the way if you can get these changes to happen, but please read the July 6 thread and see if you can find out the rationale for killing these animals. Many, if not all, were owned, young and highly adoptable. How does this jibe with what you are hearing now?

      Reply
      • Jim Adams

         /  July 7, 2013

        Good morning, all.

        I was up early writing headlines and have a minute for a break.

        Db, I had already read and been saddened by the July 6 thread, I can’t answer your question other than to say this, I was assured that if an owner is surrendering their animal because they can’t afford to fix it, the shelter will do it for free.

        I have a friend, otherwise a good man, who is preparing to surrender two pits. I can’t talk him out of it. I told him MAS would fix them for free, they’d quit jumping the fence, that I’d help him fix his fence. He’s having none of it; he wants to be rid of them. What can I do? Individually, nothing. But if we were all working together, I could find homes for his dogs.

        MAS told me they try to help in other ways. In one case, the volunteer group paid a lady’s pet deposit to get both her and her pets off the street. Unfortunately, they’re not able to do that very often, which is exactly why they need an army of volunteers and supporters.

        I really have no answers as to the order in which the shelter euthanizes animals. Here’s why:

        First, because I’m not there. This “movement” is located in an apartment in east Memphis.

        Second, I haven’t really looked into their procedures in that depth.

        Third, I’m not interested in explaining or defending any euthanization unless the animal is terminally ill or hopelessly violent. To me, any dog or cat that is killed for any other reason at any time represents a moral failure by me personally and by my community at-large.

        Finally, because I’m humiliated by this ongoing sense of personal failure, I am focusing on how to change the future, how to make all this stop. And sadly, every time I look backwards or even sideways, it makes it harder to do that.

        I share your sadness, db. For these needless deaths and for the predicament all these animals face. There really is no answer to your question.

        All I know is, I can see a solution up ahead, and if I can just run a little harder, I can grab it by the tail.

        Enjoy your Sunday, everyone.

      • This is not your personal forum. You might like to start your own blog and post about your daily activities and thoughts there. When commenting here, you need to stick to the topic of the post. Off topic posting is tolerated on occasion because everyone makes mistakes. You are making it a habit. Stop using this blog as your personal forum. You are now on moderation.

      • Jim Adams

         /  July 7, 2013

        Yes ma’am. Point well taken. I apologize.

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