Deceptive Maneuvering at MAS Costs Another Dog His Life

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.

Portion of MAS records, obtained via FOIA request, for dog #263122 (partially redacted by me)
Portion of MAS records, obtained via FOIA request, for dog #263122 (partially redacted by me)

Memphis Pets Alive photographed this dog on February 4 and February 11 and captured some stunning images of him:

mal face 02 04 14 mpa
Dog ID #263122 at MAS on 2-4-14, as posted on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook.
mal 02 04 14 mpa
Dog ID #263122 at MAS on  2-4-14, as posted on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook.
Dog ID #263122 at MAS, as posted on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook.
Dog ID #263122 at MAS on 2-4-14, as posted on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook.
Dog ID #263122 at MAS, as posted on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook.
Dog ID #263122 at MAS on  2-11-14, as posted on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook.
mal smile 02 11 14 mpa
Dog ID #263122 at MAS on 2-11-14, as posted on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook.

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.

mal vet notes 1

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.

Two entries by two different MAS staff members indicating no vet was on duty at the time the dog was found unresponsive and the decision made to kill him.
Two entries by two different MAS staff members indicating no vet was on duty at the time the dog was found unresponsive and the decision made to kill him.

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:

mal vet notes 2

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?

26 thoughts on “Deceptive Maneuvering at MAS Costs Another Dog His Life

  1. I don’t understand how MAS can get away with that policy. Jacking up the price because of something utterly unrelated to how or why the dog ended up at the shelter…it’s not like the heartworms made the dog escape the home. What’s next…a higher fee if your dog has white fur?

  2. This story is just CRAZY, Like I said before If I lived close to MAS Sorry folks
    I would probably end up in Jail, That dog was fine, And the owner shouldn’t
    have to pay anything, Give the pets back to the OWNERS you bunch of
    Heartless IDIOTS…………If it were me and you EVIL people killed my Puppa
    after my phone call was made, LOOK out…..

  3. This breaks my heart. Malamutes are such loving, interactive dogs. This should be criminal! Since when does a shelter get to choose to kill a dog because it’s hw+? Almost every one I’ve fostered that came from a shelter was positive. This inhumanity will not end as long as the general public ignores the situation and allows evil to control the shelters. Everyone I know in foster and rescue are overburdened.

  4. So…what actually happened that day?

    Was a vet on duty? Two entries say no. Then an entry that the dog was examined by a vet. How long was this dog left heaving for oxygen on the floor before someone a)noticed and b)got a hold of a vet?

    If the goal was to end suffering, then the decision to euthanize should have been swift and sure and done right there in the kennel. If the goal was to get the dog veterinary attention, then that should have been done immediately, even if they had to call a vet in as an emergency or transport the dog to another facility as quickly as humanly possible.

    But it *looks* like two people in the morning found the dog in distress, decided to “end his suffering” and then…made a note that the vet should probably have a look at him when she comes on duty for the day.

    Failure on both fronts. They prolonged suffering and did not use that time to obtain immediate veterinary attention. They just let him gasp away on the floor, just like he’d probably been doing all night long…

    And all for a dog who had an owner. An owner who wanted that dog back, but couldn’t pay the ransom demand.

    Must be more of that “marching on excellence” that Rogers talks about.

  5. There was a case similar to this in Carson City, NV (the rightful owner couldn’t afford the ransom for their dog), and the owner of the dog they euthanized sued, and the city settled with her out of court.

    Perhaps the owner of the Malamute should sue this shelter so that they cannot just arbitrarily come up with absurd pricing/ransom for peoples dogs, that they then end up killing under suspicious circumstances.

  6. Agreed! If there is a mandatory “hold time” for strays, I’m sure this owner made contact with the shelter before the time was up. That dog was still that owner’s property. I can understand redemption fees (although inability to pay should not allow a shelter to keep a dog–it’s ransom), but what law allows them to charge for medical issues or even medical testing on dogs that do not belong to the shelter?

  7. Unfortunately, MAS has their own way of doing things, and most animals end up dead. This beautiful pup should have been home with his owner, and MAS – if it truly was a SHELTER – would have helped with the vetting and heartworm treatments. How can they collect more from taxpayers, since the taxpayers are already financing this hell hole? Rogers and Wharton must be patting themselves on the back with this one!

  8. Wait, wait, wait! They jack up the ransom for Heartworm Positive?!? Why the F%*K do they do that?

  9. “…it was in the best interest of the dog to euthanize.” Oh really? So at that point they were concerned about the dog’s best interest, but not earlier when it was obviously in his best interest to give him back to his person? Yeah, no. Imagine what the notes would look like if they were honest. “Extortion attempt failed; disposing of victim.”

  10. I’m adding Memphis to the list of cities where I absolutely, positively DO NOT WANT TO LIVE.

  11. How can we stop these bastards? I’m sick of their methods and exceptional killings. There has to be someone who will listen Rogers is a jerk and doesn’t give a damn!

  12. Can’t we file a class action suit? It seems they’re falsifying records to cover their buts and they multiple excuses for killing animals! What is wrong with these ignorant people? Enough is enough! Bastards

  13. If the owner did pay the fee, does MAS provide HW treatment and if so what treatment does it give? I have never heard of any shelter requiring HW treatment for a stray before being released to its owner! Is this requirement a TN law or a Memphis law or no law at all? I thought dogs treated for HW were supposed to be kept quiet and have activity restrictions. How can MAS provide this level of care? I doubt it can. I wish I had the money for an attorney to investigate this!

  14. From the pictures of this beautiful dog, I sincerely doubt he was even HW positive…at least, to the extent they say he was. He would not be jumping and “laughing”, like they do. He most likely was just fine, and some idiot at the pound decided it was a “dangerous” dog, so decided to fake an illness just to kill it. Poor baby. I had a malemute, as well as 2 Siberian huskies. They are wonderful dogs. This dog did not have to die. This pound needs to be closed, forever.

  15. You need to regularly petition your law makers and elected officials to shut down these tax funded concentration camps called animal control animal shelters. That same money could go to local rescues that actually have a proven dedicated success track record of getting animals well and in safe homes. They could do so much more if they had the funding and staff. Change will happen when enough voters demand it and actively show up at city counsel meetings, show up and speak with your state senators, humane so item US has a seminar that takes you through the steps of setting the wheels in motion to change in your community for animals for the better.

  16. Another important point: There was a rescue coming for this dog the day of his euthanization! The rescue would have been more than happy to raise funds to treat the dog for whatever his ailment was. Instead of calling the rescue and asking what they would like to do, they euthanized him. I don’t buy that he was that sick. Many people saw him the day before and he was FINE.

    1. We need to tell the truth here – this dog (and many others, cats included) are KILLED! They are not euthanized . . . period. These folks are wantonly killing animals – and this has been going on for much too long.

  17. The idea of spiking the adoption fee for a hw+ pet if outrageous, especially for the dog’s owner! Both of my dogs were hw+ when adopted from local shelters. They were adopted out instead of euthanized (MAKES SENSE!). F U Memphis.

  18. A few years ago I moved to Memphis – I am a rescue . I stayed all of 3 months and did not rehome a single dog while I was there as MAS and their murdering ways scared me enough that I had nightmares of what might become of any dog I rehomed in the city if he/she were to get loose. MAS is nothing more than sanctioned/legalized murder of basically healthy animals.

  19. This was a crime. The Perpetrator(s) and anyone complicit with the murder of this animal should be fired immediately and then prosecuted.

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