On May 31, 2015, a kitten named Snowflake, ID # 277907, was sprayed with an undiluted cleaning chemical (San-O-128) by an unsupervised inmate at Memphis Animal Services. She suffered painful chemical burns on her legs, tongue and mouth. She was treated by an outside veterinarian and survived. This is security camera footage, obtained via FOIA request, of Snowflake being burned with the chemical by the unsupervised inmate at MAS. (Note: I edited this video to show both incidences of the kitten being sprayed with the chemical.)
On June 1, 2015, a one year old cat named Sydney, ID #277271, was also abused by the same unsupervised inmate at MAS. She suffered painful chemical burns on her eyes, tongue, mouth and ears. Sydney was treated by an outside veterinarian and survived. (Warning: The video below depicts animal abuse and readers will find it disturbing.)
A month and a half later, it was noted in Sydney’s medical record by the MAS vet that she has a corneal defect:
On June 5, 2015, an owner was trying to reclaim his spayed, 10 year old cat called Uptimus (ID #278237) from MAS. Due to the mandatory spay-neuter law in Memphis, MAS refused to release the cat without verifying a spay scar. Uptimus had spent her whole life as an indoor pet and was very scared at the pound. She would not allow a stranger to shave and examine her abdomen and so MAS continued to hold her until the veterinary staff could sedate her for an exam.
While Uptimus was waiting to go home, another inmate, also unsupervised, intentionally sprayed her with the same undiluted cleaning chemical used by the inmate in the previous videos to hurt the other 2 cats. Uptimus was trapped in her cage and could not escape her torturer. (Warning: Although Uptimus can not be seen in the video, some readers will find it disturbing.)
Uptimus was found on June 6 wedged between the feral box and the side of her cage with severe facial swelling, severe drooling, and suffering from severe dehydration. MAS staff determined she had been exposed to the undiluted cleaning chemical and sent her to an emergency vet clinic. At the emergency clinic, Uptimus had an IV catheter placed as well as a feeding tube as her mouth was so swollen, she was unable to eat normally. X-rays revealed she was suffering from chemical pneumonia. She was found dead in her cage at 2am.
In light of the abuse which MAS failed to prevent and the terrible suffering endured by Uptimus as a result of this abuse, it is very difficult to read the notes from MAS staff members regarding their interactions with the pet’s owner, Mr. Kotee:
MAS staff wasn’t any nicer to Mr. Kotee after his pet died either:
I am so sorry for the needless heartbreak Mr. Kotee must be suffering. MAS management should have followed protocol and supervised inmates at all times. Instead inmates were left alone with cats to hurt them. And then MAS staff treated the owner like he was second class. I can absolutely understand Mr. Kotee not wanting to give these people his ID. MAS staff are apparently sticklers for following the rules when it comes to EVERYONE EXCEPT THEMSELVES.
A local paper reported that both inmates were charged with animal cruelty. On July 11, a shelter supervisor who allowed the inmates to work unsupervised – a failure which resulted in the torture and death of a beloved pet and painful injuries to two other cats – received a written reprimand from MAS. A second supervisor also received a written reprimand but it was rescinded 2 weeks later by MAS director James Rogers.
Number of cats chemically burned by inmates whom MAS staff failed to supervise: three. Number of cats who died as a result of their injuries: one. Number of MAS staffers who lost their job as a result: zero.
How many more, Memphis?