Memphis Animal Services impounded a 2 year old male Alaskan malamute on January 31 for roaming loose. His owner called the next day to inquire about redeeming her pet. This should be the end of this dog’s story at MAS – right here. Because the dog was owned and wanted and the owner contacted MAS to advise them. But it’s Memphis, so no.
MAS told the owner they would sell the dog back to her for $83 but only if the dog’s heartworm test came up negative. Then they ran to take blood from the dog and do a heartworm test. Eleven minutes later, someone from MAS hopped back on the phone to call the dog’s owner with the news: the heartworm test was positive so the price to buy the dog back was now $333. So slick. The owner advised she could not afford that amount and so MAS kept her dog.
Memphis Pets Alive photographed this dog on February 4 and February 11 and captured some stunning images of him:
A rescue group applied to adopt the dog on February 12. There are no further notes indicating why this adoption did not proceed.
Two days after the February 11 photos were taken, MAS records indicate the dog had a “brief exam” by a vet and was diagnosed with a “mild” cough. Medications were prescribed.
The next morning however, MAS notes state the dog was found unresponsive in his kennel and since “no vet was on duty” to examine him, they decided to kill the dog rather than take him to a vet for care.
In what appears to me to be a glaring discrepancy, the medical notes for dog ID #263122 indicate a vet at MAS examined the dog after he was found unresponsive and recommended euthanasia:
A dog who appeared to be happy, healthy and smiling on the evening of February 11 was found unresponsive in his cage the morning of February 14. A decision was made to kill the dog without a vet exam since, as two staff members noted, there was no vet on duty. A vet at MAS then noted that she examined the dog and recommended euthanasia on February 14. Whatever shenanigans went on here, the dog’s death was entirely preventable because this pet should never have been at MAS after his owner called to claim him on February 1.
Holding a dog for ransom that an owner can not pay is inconsistent with animal sheltering. Jacking up the redemption fees because a young, healthy dog tests positive for heartworm makes even less sense if the shelter’s goal is to get animals out alive. Heartworm is not an immediate death sentence and there are different treatment options available, including a very low cost option. The owner should have been advised of the positive test result and counseled to seek vet care. If she was unable to pay the $83 in fines to get the dog back, a payment arrangement (of any terms that would work for the owner) should have been made. Tacking on the extra $250 just because the dog tested positive for heartworm is cruel and unusual. The end result of all this nonsense is yet another beautiful dog in a garbage bag at Memphis Animal Slaughtering.
How many more, Memphis?