Through a Glass, Darkly

A mama dog and her 3 crated pups as seen through the glass on the door to the owner surrender room at the Memphis pound on June 29, 2013.  (photo by Jody Fisher)
A mama dog and her 4 crated pups as seen through the glass on the door to the owner surrender room at the Memphis pound on June 29, 2013. (photo by Jody Fisher)

On Saturday, June 29, Memphis shelter pet advocate Jody Fisher was at MAS trying to help save lives. She saw what appeared to be a healthy, adoptable family of dogs (mama and four pups) being surrendered to the pound. When the dogs didn’t show up on the PetHarbor listings for MAS, she e-mailed the above photo in an inquiry on Monday, July 1st and learned they had all been killed.  None were ever marketed for adoption.  None were listed online or housed in an area accessible by the public.  The only reason anyone outside MAS even knew of the 5 dogs was because Ms. Fisher photographed them through the glass.

The entire healthy, adoptable family was slaughtered while the facility was closed to the public.  They never had a chance.  Their records, obtained via FOIA request, can be viewed here.

On Saturday, July 6, Ms. Fisher returned to MAS to again try to save lives. She found the glass on the door to the owner surrender room had been covered with a garbage bag – the same kind MAS fills with dead pets – so no one could see the pets being surrendered. I guess that’s the punishment for asking questions and trying to save lives. Transparency, anyone?

What cowards do.
What cowards do.

If you can’t own it, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it MAS.

43 thoughts on “Through a Glass, Darkly

  1. Because that is how MAS fixes problems – by hiding them. If you can’t see it, it didn’t happen! Woo! Everything is SO MUCH BETTER NOW! It’s fixed! See? All better!

    Ok, our kill rate is still ridiculous, ok, our vet is still way more interested in the dead than the living, ok, we don’t put every animal online or bother to attempt to market the vast majority of pets or do anything to encourage RTO’s or you know, get animals out alive.

    But hey presto! No webcams, slow and difficult and expensive FOIAs (if you can get them at all), limited access to facilities, pressure on the vols to not speak up, and now plastic over the windows so there are no witnesses! That makes MAS a well-oiled machine of compassion, right? Right!

  2. So, for all the “we’re trying to do better”, the only thing they are trying to do better is to hide the atrocities they commit from the “irresponsible public” that cares.

    I’m curious what Rogers and our “compassion will be the key” poster from last week have to say about this? What can they possibly say that would excuse this kind of killing and cover-up?


    BTW, mikken, you have said it so well, as you always do! Too bad none of the “shelter workers” and their bosses are listening, except to prevent us from seeing what’s going on.

    That mama dog and her precious pups deserved to have life.

  3. Un-freaking-believable.

    Oh wait. It’s MAS the Memphis dog killing “shelter”. not so unbelievable, after all.

    I can think of a few better things to do (to the people who “manage” that facility) with those plastic garbage bags . . .

  4. Memphis covering up again. Lets cover this window so people cant see dogs and cats being turned in. That way we can kill them before the irresponsible public tries to save them.

  5. It’s a Shame. This City and those City Politicians have no respect for life and only care about the Paychecks! I’m so tired of this City and this double morals

  6. The answer to this will most likely be…. “This is for the protection and privacy of the owners who are facing the difficult decision of surrendering their animal. It is a courtesy to the owners so that they may have privacy during their personal decision.”

    I’d love for someone to call/write and find out…

    1. Most owners would be happy if someone would help save their animal. MAS is not only hiding animals from people that could help save their lives, they are also hiding help from the owners.

  7. this is so wrong.. the mama dog and the pups look so beautiful.. why didn’t they get a chance to live? who makes decisions like these to kill innocent ones who may be adopted? this is callous disregard of the right of innocent beings to live.. and this is cruel.
    is there any way the shelter-director ( am guessing that he has the final say in which pets are killed each day ) can be made to resign?
    RIP sweet mama dog and the 4 sweet little ones.

    1. This is standard operating procedure for this killing factory. Every time they get caught doing something evil, they find a way to prevent it from happening again, ie turning off the cameras, keeping the public out of many areas of the building, not posting animals for adoption or reunion with owners. They are more interested in covering up than doing the right thing. Nothing new here . . .sadly.

  8. This is undoubtedly the most sadistic thing I’ve ever heard of!! What gives this person the right to kill these sweet little dogs without even giving them a chance to be adopted!? I’m sure the person that was turning them in did not mean for them to be killed as soon as they were turned in. I’m sure they were hoping that at least a few of them would be adopted. This person needs to be fired and their supervisors that allowed it to happen need to have the same thing done. Seems to me they don’t give a hoot one way or the other if the dogs have just come in or have been there for a while. This person just didn’t want to take the time to check them out and put them in a run so that they could at least have a chance for a life. There has to be something that can be done about this. It’s simply unacceptable behavior by anyone that works in a shelter. I don’t live there or anywhere near there or I would write a letter to the county and find out WHY this happened and make sure they get a copy of the picture that was taken. Seems to me this is not the place they usually take in turned in animals.. This really makes me mad and terribly upset at the so called “system” in these towns. The person that put these dogs in the kill section needs to be arrested and prosecuted for animal abuse. Period. I just keep the faith that God has the final revenge … and hopefully he will allow us to observe it. RIP little ones and Mama.. you WERE loved.. by all of us that try so hard to stop this cruelty.

    1. This is how they do things at MAS. Even when there is proof of wrongdoing and law-breaking, they usually are not prosecuted or they get off with a slap on the wrist.

      1. Why so? is MAS supported at the higher level of bureaucracy? how can such incidents be justified when it comes to public notice? there has to be a change at the Shelter-Director level for things to get better for the shelter-pets.. people used to killing pets for space will keep doing that for that seems to be easier and works for them.. they are generally lethargic, uninspired and willing to blame everything other than themselves for the untold suffering caused to the pets and the animal lovers..
        In, Josh Liddy, a pit bull-advocate documents his fight against LA City and County shelters running in a similar dismal fashion.. in a recent post he mentions humorously that Brenda Barnette is supposed to be making $220,000/- to $ 240,000/- annually and if he is given a chance he would do the job for $ 50,000/- annually.. he says that even though people receive such high paychecks the condition for the shelter-pets is dismal and discrimination is rampant.. he says that things can’t get any worse than this..
        Am seriously saying Josh Liddy should be given a chance as a Shelter_director in LA because such people who genuinely care for animals can make good things happen.. and similar people should take over MAS for the sake of the shelter-pets.
        Time for change at MAS.

      2. The mayor and his minions refuse to do anything about the atrocity that is MAS. Things will not change until things change at the very top. Even the “friends” work hard to maintain the status quo and defend what is happening. Hard to believe, though, isn’t it?

    2. BRAVO! Couldn’t have said it better……what a shame that those poor little pups and their mother, who trusted the owners who brought them there, never got to know what being loved and wanted REALLY means….so, so, sad…..

  9. They need a new vet…one who has a heart. We need a new director…one with compassion. They need a website which documents every single animal there with photos. I am outraged over this.

  10. Whatever happened to the plan for a billboard near the slaughterhouse that said, “If you surrender animals to MAS, they will be killed.”

      1. Do you think we could get enough volunteers to surround the entrance to reach people with surrenders before they give their pets to Memphis Auschwitz?

      2. Yes Betty! This is exactly what I was thinking. Wish I lived there.

  11. Wow…. way too sad and totally adoptable dogs. Dog lovers should be running shelters and AC not dog haters!!

  12. I wonder if the folks dropping off the dog family knew this. If they did why didn’t they try to adopt out the pups themselves? This is why Bob Barker always said, Have your pet spade or neutered. No it isn’t acceptable to slaughter animals without a chance of finding them a good home and everything they are doing should be made public so everyone can see how barbaric they really are. Animals deserve better than this!

  13. So many caring voices, but that is not going to make changes unless all your voices make changes in LAWS. One county, one state, one nation at a time for universal animal protection laws. VOICES UNITE

    1. Yes.. and stringent legislation for protection of pets and strays.. and shelter-Director’s job should depend on his shelter-stats.. which will be audited every 3 months.

  14. What kind of sick low lifes run this shelter? They should be charged with animal abuse. Something needs to be done by the people that live in that area.

  15. People need to call them and complain, write letters to the editor, publicize this far and wide. Tweet it, facebok, it. MAS: Phone: (901) 636-1416

  16. Ask the child if he wanted these dogs killed. I doubt it. The owners probably figured they would find homes. It sickens me. My mother was a director of a Humane Society many years ago. She said they adopted as many dogs as they could. The only dogs that were put to sleep were either brought to them gravely injured, or aggressive. They would hold a dog for months until it was adopted. They featured the “dog of the week” on TV, and posted ads in the newspaper. It was their goal to find homes for all dogs brought in….this is uncalled for. Seriously messed up. The mother was only 2 years old, pups 4 months old. What made them unworthy of a happy life?

  17. Unacceptable MAS! Please let there be a local person stand up and put a petition together about this, I will whole-heartedly sign it!

  18. I really DON’T Understand!!!!! This shelter is known for killing animals easily and treating them badly and STILL it is going on ! HOW CAN THAT BE????? What is the matter with the authorities – are they blind? I thought there are laws in the USA to protect the animals. Why is it not possible to stop this?

      1. But the question is if it is legal! Even if the mayor wants the dogs to be wiped out, if the law doesn’t allow this, then he has to follow the rules. How does the law see the treatment of animals in shelter and under which circumstances is it allowed to kill them?? Are they not protected by the law??

  19. This was the wrong thing to do. The shelter should have found those dogs a home and since they were healthy, there was no need to put them down. I am appalled that the Memphis Animal Shelter would even have that plan. Everyone in the shelter should be put in prison for doing that kind of things. Get the animals fixed and adopt them out. If there are no adoptions then do foster care and volunteering. There is no reason for this at all. Jane Davison

  20. I bet they put plastic on the window of that door because they kill them right then and there.

  21. The whole killing of mama dog and her puppies is horrendous – but that is what MAS does. It really is quite disturbing that they put the garbage bag (and yes, Shirley, I am sure it is the same kind they put all of the dead dogs and cats in) over the window….Do they really think that “what you can’t see, you won’t know” really works?
    If I were Mayor Wharton, I would be so embarrassed that THIS is what MAS has come down to……then again, if I were the Mayor, you (Shirley) would not have anything to write about, regarding MAS, because it would be a shelter to be proud of……Just so terribly sad!

  22. That is sad. Disposable animals. who is their PR/marketing person? who is the manager there? If you are local, you have a right to ask questions. Has anyone alerted the TN governor or any of the politicians in TN to this plight? These are taxpayer dollars “at work” and clearly this isn’t working. If that doesn’t work, call TV news stations to pick up the story and raise awareness so people will adopt animals out privately or use other modes. Won’t change everyone, but every little but counts.

    1. These things have been done ~ and the governor just says it’s a local problem. The best luck I have had was a snail mail letter to the mayor (which got me a response with a fancy letter about what they are going to do and how important MAS is, blah, blah, blah) and phone calls to the mayor’s office. I think he is the one who has to be on the hot seat in order for anything to be done. But, not being from the area and hearing things about the corruption of the city government, I don’t know quite what else to suggest.

  23. Start calling the mayor’s office. They hate being in the hot seat and made to look like the incompetent nitwits they are. This falls under his jurisdiction – so call him out and everyone associated with this Inexcusable behavior. They are all guilty by association – if they knew about it and did not try to stop it or speak out. Call the TV stations and put pressure to get this on the news. What ever it takes to get attention back on these scumbags that did this. Everyone that had an active role or was party to this horrible act needs to exposed right up to director’s level. There’s so many intelligent, organised, wonderful, caring people in Memphis that do a fantastic job at running the shelter – if it was removed from the City of Memphis and privatized. You would see donations come in from all over the country. MAS has a bad stigma attached to it because of the way it’s mananged now and in the past. It’s time to clean house!!! Where do I sign up to be on the committee to move this forward?

    1. just ensuring that the Shelter-Director’s job is dependent on the shelter-stats ( i would like to say a !00% saving of shelter-pets ) and a audit/ action every three months of the shelter functioning should help the shelter-pets immensely…

Leave a Reply