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:
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.)