For the months of January through September 2021, 112 animals died in the care of Memphis Animal Services (MAS) based upon the shelter’s own reports. Out of the 112 “Died in care” animals, 52 were kittens aged “up to 5 months”. All deaths are listed in the “In Shelter” column, none are listed in the “In Foster Care” column. As far as how Memphis Animal Services is doing this year regarding animals dying “in care”, available records indicate that a little less than half of the animals who died were kittens and a little more than half were cats, dogs, puppies and small mammals. Any claims that most of the MAS animals dying in care are kittens in foster homes are not supported by the available reports.
When reviewing the statistics for kittens during this time period at MAS, it is notable that 9 were “Returned to field”, a category normally used to report the return of feral adult cats to the community after neuter and vaccination. Since there is no such thing as a feral kitten, there is no justification for putting kittens out in the streets. This is a harmful practice both to the kittens, who should be adopted to loving homes, and the community, which should feel confident that trap-neuter-return efforts are reducing the feral cat population over time, not increasing it. No shelter should engage in this practice.
The MAS reports indicate nearly 1700 pets (mostly dogs, some cats) were transferred to other agencies (rescues) through September of this year with most going to other states. Mass transports of shelter pets are largely unregulated and tragically, pets are often shipped to states where local shelter animals are being killed.
These reports combined with the lengthy history of animal neglect and abuse at MAS, cause animal advocates to be rightfully concerned about the welfare of the pets under the shelter’s care. Compounding this concern is the shelter’s refusal to comply with the law and provide animal medical records via FOIA requests.
Even if transparency weren’t required by law, good shelters want to share their complete animal records with the public. Documenting care of shelter animals and making those records available upon request goes a long way toward building community trust. When a shelter is focused on lifesaving and consistently works to save every animal in its care, the individual animal medical records are a testament to the staff’s dedication and compassion. When the shelter actively hides these documents? Not so much.
MAS stats for January 2021 (only dogs and cats reported)
MAS stats for February 2021 (only dogs and cats reported)
MAS stats for March 2021 (only dogs and cats reported)
MAS stats for April 2021 (all animals reported)
MAS stats for May 2021 (all animals reported)
MAS stats for June 2021 (all animals reported)
MAS stats for July 2021 (all animals reported)
MAS stats for August 2021 (all animals reported)
MAS stats for September 2021 (all animals reported)