A Tale of Two Drain Dogs in Memphis

On April 5, 2015, Memphis firefighters rescued a dog who had been trapped in a drainage ditch for several days. The media was on hand to cover the story and the dog was taken to Memphis Animal Services. The publicity generated significant interest in the dog and pound director James Rogers indicated that the dog would be given preferential treatment and not be killed – the fate of most animals at MAS. When the dog was adopted, that made the news too:

The dog could have technically been euthanized last week but MAS promised not to kill the dog due to the high interest from the public.

MAS administrator James Rogers said, “The interest shows and the successful rescue and adoption of this pet reflects our community’s and MAS’ care and concern for the wellbeing of our pets.”

Gee, that sounds swell.  But in fact this is what MAS should be doing for every dog who comes into the facility and not just the rare pet whose impound gets shown on TV.  And if you’re thinking that sounds harsh, consider what happened to another dog who was trapped in a drain and impounded just 2 days after the first dog – only this time there was no media on hand to publicize the story:

Obtained via FOIA request, this is a portion of the Memphis pound records for dog ID #276411.
Obtained via FOIA request, this is a portion of the Memphis pound records for dog ID #276411.
Obtained via FOIA request, this is a portion of the Memphis pound records for dog ID #276411.
Obtained via FOIA request, this is a portion of the Memphis pound records for dog ID #276411.
Obtained via FOIA request, this is a portion of the Memphis pound records for dog ID #276411.
Obtained via FOIA request, this is a portion of the Memphis pound records for dog ID #276411.

This dog, like the first, was saved from a drain but arrived at the pound in rough shape. The MAS vet examined the dog and determined that he was unconscious and extremely pale and it would be preferable to kill him rather than try even one thing to see if the pet responded. No warm IV fluids, no medication, just nothing.

If this had been my dog and I saw that he had been rescued from a drain only to be killed upon arrival at the Memphis “shelter”, I would be devastated. Just because a dog is non-responsive upon impound does not automatically mean no treatment will help and there is no hope. That can only be determined after standard lifesaving protocols have been attempted and there is no positive response. There is no way to know that this dog was medically hopeless because not a single medical treatment was offered.

If the MAS vet wasn’t going to help, at least cover the dog with a blanket and give him a quiet place to rest while issuing a plea to the public for emergency assistance. But apparently doing anything at all for this dog was too much to ask. He didn’t have any camera crews filming his rescue or reporters following up on his story. All he got after being “rescued” and brought to MAS was a shot of Fatal Plus.

MAS chose to allow the first dog to live because the publicity garnered by the dog’s rescue prevented them from the usual outcome for their pets – killing.  MAS chose to give that dog special treatment.  MAS chose to kill the second dog whose story had received no publicity.  But both of these dogs had equal rights to live.  And as the publicly funded “shelter” in Memphis, it’s MAS’s job to protect both of these dogs from harm, along with every other animal in their care.  It should not be considered a matter of choice.

It’s not enough to choose to do your job when the TV cameras are on.  It’s what goes on behind closed doors that reflects MAS’s care and concern for the well being of their pets – to paraphrase some trifling bit of nonsense I read.

(Thanks to everyone who sent me info for this post.)

9 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Drain Dogs in Memphis

  1. I wonder if they even bothered to scan for a chip? Also…the report isn’t clear – did a vet actually SEE this dog in person or did the ACO just say, “Hey, the dog is unresponsive with pale mucous membranes” over the phone and the vet gave the go ahead to kill him? There’s no mention of heart rate, respiration, anything. I mean, the first thing a vet does with an unconscious animal should be to whip out the stethoscope, don’t you think?

    Sounds like they just could not be bothered. Which, really, is SOP at MAS. Because hey, keeping pets alive is just such a bother…

  2. An exam, noting TEMPERATURE, HEART RATE, RESPIRATION, and THEN the pale mucus membranes, etc. should have been done, along with scanning for a chip. I have had dogs that were severely suffering from hyperthermia – one was saved and the other didn’t make it, so I do think this was a very bad situation for the dog, who may have been in distress for a longer time than the other dog, and might have been so bad off that a true euthanasia would have been warrented. HOWEVER, I’m beyond fed up with lazy shits at MAS – especially the shitty ‘vet’ who can’t seem to actually look at and touch SO MANY animals that get killed for being ‘sick’ when a REAL exam, from someone who gave a shit about actually helping animals would actually help that animal to live. But hey, it’s just one more of the widgets they process through, because they know they won’t have to answer for their apathy and cruelty.

    1. Based on the notes, the image I get in my mind is the MAS vet snapping fingers in the dog’s face, pinching a toe and then running for the Fatal Plus. It’s so sad for this poor pet, who may have been loved by someone or at least should have been given the chance to be loved by someone, if he was able to be saved.

  3. Sounds like some other high profile organizations that work best when the cameras are rolling. Hey, folks, it’s only another dead dog, what are you so upset about? (SNARK OFF) Having a real hard time with this and all the other things they do to animals (mostly just kill them). The only consolation is that someday they will have to answer for what they have done and continue doing. In the meantime, cats, dogs, puppies and kittens will suffer and die at their hands.

  4. Rogers’s sanctimonious tone is so jarring. He makes it sound as if somehow the pound was being gracious in letting that first dog live: since the public had behaved exceptionally well by displaying interest, MAS condescended to not kill the dog. The subtext being that somehow only the public can prevent Rogers from killing animals. Certainly, as the killing of the second dog shows, there’s little to no hope if there aren’t any cameras around.

    And IIRC, this isn’t the first time MAS took advantage of press attention to make itself look good. A year or two back, I remember there was a dog who a utility worker spent hours helping to save, and he wanted to adopt the dog. But Rogers refused to let him. Tia Maria Torres of Villalobos came up to take the dog instead, and gave Rogers the photo-op he wanted. I can’t find the story at this moment, but in my memory I see her in a press image, smiling next to Rogers.

    1. Rogers has proven himself to be worse than a disappointment when it comes to running MAS. Pepper was absolutely feckless, but Rogers is something more sinister. There is almost a glimmer of joy in the power he holds…

  5. I should have written that Rogers got the photo-op he wanted when Torres came to Memphis in that other case. She might well have said that helping Rogers wasn’t her goal. But the result was the same either way.

  6. Fyi.. the “ditch dog” that was given a undetermined amount of time… they said that on TV to look good. I know this because I was going to pull her . I had my name on her and was sent emails from mas saying ” she must go “. They would have killed her had we not gotten a adopter there. We called them out on their promose to not kill several times . I made sure they had to sweat over her til the day she left .
    She is now in a loving home and very happy .

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