Memphis Animal Services – Take Action

Please join our letter writing campaign.  Faxes and snail mail letters are preferable as they are more effective.

No matter where you live, you can make your concerns about Memphis Animal Services known to the following individuals:

Mayor Wharton, mailing address:  Office of the Mayor, 125 N. Main Street, Memphis, TN 38103

Fax:  (901) 576-6200

Phone:  (901) 576-6000


Mayor Wharton on Twitter

Post comments on his Facebook page.


Janet Hooks, Director, Public Services and Neighborhoods, mailing address:  125 North Main, Ste. 200, Memphis, Tn 38103

Phone:  (901) 636-6564



LaSonya Hall, Deputy Director, Public Services and Neighborhoods, mailing address:  125 North Main, Ste. 200, Memphis, Tn 38103

Phone:  (901) 636-6564



James Rogers, Interim Director, Memphis Animal Services, mailing address:   2350 Appling City Cove  Memphis, TN 38133

Phone:  (901) 636-1416



City Council

Mailing address:  125 North Main Street, Room 514, Memphis, TN 38103

Fax: (901) 576-6796

Phone: (901) 576-6786

Individual e-mail addresses:

Berlin Boyd

Bill Boyd

Bill Morrison

Myron Lowery

Janis Fullilove

Harold Collins

Wanda Halbert

Joe Brown

Shea Flinn

Kemp Conrad

Edmund Ford Jr.

Reid Hedgepeth

Jim Strickland


MAS Advisory Board Members:

Stephen Towers, mailing address:  Memphis Animal Clinic, 733 East Parkway South, Memphis, Tennessee  38104

Fax : (901) 272-1815

Phone : (901) 272-7411


Jennifer Clay, mailing address:  Utopia Animal  Hospital, 1157 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN 38104

Fax: (901) 746-8757

Phone: (901) 746-8758


A copy/paste collection of all the e-mail addresses:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Keep your letters succinct and respectful. Request the courtesy of a reply.  Let the city leaders know that people from all over are condemning what is going on at MAS and refuse to spend their vacation dollars in a city which tries to sweep cruelty under the rug.  Remind them there is a viable alternative:  make Memphis a no kill community.  Include a link to this primer on no kill.

Please use your voice to speak for all the pets at MAS – living and dead.  If you’ve already written – thank you.  If you have more to say to city leaders – write again.  Let them know we are still watching and still horrified.  Share this info with the many caring pet owners you know so that they can write letters too.  If you need bullet points for possible items to include in a letter, here you go:

Summary of Concerns at Memphis Animal Services

  • The killing of pets who are not medically hopeless and suffering nor have they been declared a danger to society by a qualified party.
  • The killing of pets when there are empty cages at the shelter.
  • The killing of pets who have never been made available to the public for adoption, rescue or foster.
  • The killing of pets due to disease outbreak without ever making a public plea for help with quarantine to save lives.
  • Failure of the shelter to vaccinate all pets prior to or immediately upon impound as per standard disease prevention protocol.
  • Failure of the shelter to allow anyone outside of the small “Friends” group to walk dogs.
  • Failure of the shelter to fully utilize its Chameleon software to interface with PetHarbor so that every pet is viewable online by the public.
  • Failure of the shelter to properly train and/or enforce humane handling of pets by the staff.
  • Failure of the shelter to implement a TNR program so that the number of feral cats in the community can be reduced over time.
  • Failure of the shelter to keep cats separated from the sight, sound and smell of dogs in order to reduce stress and make the population less susceptible to disease.
  • Failure of the shelter to provide daily aerobic exercise for dogs for social stimulation and in order to reduce stress and make the population less susceptible to disease.
  • The removal of the webcams from MAS which were installed – and are still needed – for the protection of the pets being abused and killed at the facility.

Change begins with one person.  Be that person for the pets suffering at MAS.

But wait – there’s more!

  • The next public meeting of the shelter advisory board is September 12.  If you are in Memphis, please attend.

Here are links to older posts containing screenshots taken from the webcams at the shelter.  Please keep in mind that these are just snapshots and may not tell the whole story of what is going on at any particular time:

April 30, 2011

April 29, 2011

April 28, 2011

April 26, 2011 (part 2)

April 26, 2011

April 23, 2011 (part 2)

April 23, 2011

April 22, 2011

April 20, 2011

April 17, 2011

April 16, 2011 (part 3)

April 16, 2011 (part 2)

April 16, 2011

April 10, 2011 (part 2)

April 10, 2011

April 9, 2011 (part 2)

April 9, 2011

April 7, 2011

April 6, 2011

April 1, 2011

March 31, 2011

March 30, 2011

March 29, 2011

March 28, 2011

March 23, 2011

March 21, 2011

March 21, 2011

Leave a comment


  1. beth

     /  April 8, 2011

    Thank you for doing this- will be put to great use!

    • Erica

       /  April 8, 2011

      I’m hoping someone going to the meeting on 4/13 will take ALL the shots that Shirley got and USE them. Pictures of staffers pulling dogs around and yanking them up by the collar to carry them off to be killed…someone needs to make this ‘people’ accountable. There is NO caompassion for the animals that are about to die….I find that very, very sad – that they don’t have 1 volunteer to hold and comfort each animal while they go – it’s just toss ’em on the table, strap their mouth and shoot ’em up. (Granted I don’t know that is what they DO, but with the cavalier attitudes I highly doubt those guys are going to carry a dog by the collar to the kill room only to show it some love before it oges……)

      • breaks my hear too.. hurts me so much , my throat is tight.. my heart is aching.. im disgusted… please lets all get together and do something.. there are a lot of us just not all together.. we can still dos omething individually but if most of us get together we can have a louder voice.. not sure how we can do that but .. we can figure it out.. erica.. my name is christine.. you can take my email down if youd like.. .. thank you. i was shaking my head in disbelief when i seen the bastard doing this.. i am sick to my stomach just thinking about it.. i got their number down and want to call them and ask them why they allow this to happen, get it to their attention… you with me?

    • Someone needs to send pictures of all those animals to all those government officials. I asked that they be charged with animal cruelty. Perhaps someone needs to file charges against them for same. I sent the pics of what I had to the government officials along with my complaints and the list of problems at the site. I suggest you plague them with all the pictures that MAS has showing animal abuse, especially the pictures of the puppies in the garbage can alive. They need to see the pictures – remember a picture is worth one thousand words! Thank you.

      • ezbuddy

         /  August 1, 2011

        Due to the economy, my pictures are only worth 200 words.

    • anon

       /  August 11, 2011

      Just attend their meetings in a large group of a few hundred and suggest that you would like a refund of your tax dollars that are allocated to this shelter. Keep it up as a campaign and get some lawyers and newspapers involved – they’ll soon change their ways. Especially when the politicians realise you’re talking about a legal right to withdraw your tax dollars.

      • k.c.

         /  January 20, 2012

        Why would you ask to take away even more money from a shelter? They need money! If they have lower funds, they start really euthanizing in inhumane ways, like only giving the animals half the the solution needed to quickly kill them. Then it will take even longer for the animal to suffer and die, all the while knowing that it is being killed. DO NOT TAKE MONEY AWAY FROM SHELTERS!

  2. susan cody

     /  May 1, 2011

    I am really upset by this! These people are suppose to be helping these animals get well, then get adopted. Why do they hold these job titles when they know nothing about saving or helping animals! How can they live with themslves? They need to step down and let people who actually care do their Jobs because apparently theyre not! Disgusted in Ocala

    • Sylvie Bellemare

       /  May 11, 2011

      When you don’t love animals, you don’t care! Peaple who loves animals would not do that killing job!

      • cassie

         /  August 15, 2011

        No they wouldn’t that’s why i think animal abusers get jobs in animal shelters to abuse animals and avoid prosecution which would happen to them if they did this to animals in the public, such hypocracy out there

  3. Malathi Ramji

     /  May 1, 2011

    I dream of the day when all animals will find loving homes – and the horrors of killing pets will be a distant nightmare. There is no excuse for this kind of wanton cruelty. Shelters like these are not shelters – they are prisons for innocents.

  4. It’s truly heartbreaking to see what is happening to these animals. It’s as if the shelters are employing heartless people who are getting some kind of sick pleasure in what they’re doing. It’s animal cruelty at a disgusting level. These people should be held accountable for their despicable acts and be fired immediately. Please stop these actions and make these shelters truly shelters for these poor mistreated animals.

  5. Lisa

     /  May 1, 2011

    This shelter and these inhumane workers/murderers ahould be fired and charged w/animal abuse& cruelty then grabbed by their skin and thrown in a prisom..never to see the light of day..I will start tomorrow with my letter writing and I will email everyday until this shelter understands that WE ARE ALL WATCHING AND THEY WONT GET AWAY WITH THESE MURDERING ACTS!

  6. Karen Carson

     /  May 2, 2011

    I have never in my life seen such cruel hearted people. This is a shelter to help the animals – whether they are sick or well – it is their job to care for them in a humane way and to get them a new chance for a furever home. If they can’t throw their butt in jail, throw away the key and put people in there that has a heart ! There are eyes everywhere watching.

  7. Debra Williams

     /  May 3, 2011

    How can people be so cruel, animals have a heart and feelings just like we do…If you don’t love animals why pretend you want to care for them..

  8. Buzzie

     /  May 4, 2011

    Getting a little sick of hearing of yet another shelter staffed with uncaring, incapable staff.

    TO ALL YOU CITY MANAGERS (who in many cases, OVERSEE the local shelters): Get out of your cushy chairs, leave your offices & get thee to your shelters unannounced MONTHLY. You’re dealing with living creatures, not cargo. And fire those who don’t care about the care of the animals. If they just want a paycheck, McD’s is hiring.

    • Amen,I live in Memphis, and I can guarantee you, it won’t change. I’ve lived here most of my days and I know that no matter what, how much complaining, it isn’t going to happen. See my earlier reply. I will go to the meeting, but we are helpless. the people at the shelter are getting paid an excellent salary and I have applied and applied, but I don’t have the right stuff. I care. they don’t. But I will try, as I always have to make a difference and see that these animals are treated humanely. Fire the whole bunch, I don’t care. this is serious business and these people are lazy,uncaring, and just plain unfeeling. Enuff said.

      • Andrea

         /  September 10, 2012

        There is always a chance for change with ALOT of hard work

  9. kassie corter

     /  May 4, 2011

    i am truly saddened and angered by the actions of these “shelter” employees. these poor animals didnt ask to be in the position they are in people put them there these poor animals should be shown love and compassion especially on their last hours these people mistreating these animals should be fired and prosicuted for animal cruelty!!! i hope and pray that these actions that these people are doing to these poor animal stop and actions are taken against them COME ON MEMPHIS DO SOMETHING ABOUT THESE TRAGIC UNFORTUNATE ACTIONS!!!

  10. Grace Larsh

     /  May 4, 2011

    If the shelter worker is not their for the love of the animal then they should be fired. These poor animals are is such need of a kind work and touch. Their lifes have been bad already to no fault of their own, due to the stupidy of humans that has put these loving beings in this bad place.
    Grace Larsh

  11. Rebecca

     /  May 4, 2011

    What I don’t understand is how are these awful places are referred to as shelters. The definition of shelter is to afford protection. These innocent animals are not be protected…..they are being abused and it needs to stop! We have homeless shelters for humans and they don’t get put to sleep like animals do in them.

  12. The time has come for a serious look into the shelter systems. We no longer agree that death is the only way.. we no longer support the abuse that goes on in these shelter jails. ( we never did support this , shelters told us it was the only way?) They lied, and we let them lie…. No more , a animal is a being.. Killing them is murder .. cold murder.. and people are in charge of this steady murder.. what does this do to the people? None of this is acceptable at all.. Growth needed. Thank you

    ‘ The blind leading the blind.. we know better now .. Time to grow.

    .. Death to the strays . No more please.. Its time for a change..

  13. Netanya

     /  May 4, 2011

    “Shelters” is incorrect term for the animal control facilities in our nation. And I don’t understand how people, even on here commenting, get the impression they are “saving animals and making them well, and adopting them out”. Nooooo – thats the private rescues and individuals who intervene.
    If you find this unacceptable, then you should make your voice known, use the power of your vote and a constituent of the gov. officials who allow such unforgivable practices to continue in the animal “shelters”. You think this practice is unusual?

    Think again. THIS and worse is done every minute you breath in USA. The last breaths of innocent animals – their last hope is snuffed out. We have allowed this to be the accepted form of “disposing” of unwanted animals. Plain and tragic.
    Write to each of the officials Yes Biscuit has provided. Don’t let up. Write to YOUR county/city/state officials while you are at it.

  14. lori Hirsh

     /  May 4, 2011

    Stop the abuse of innocent animals and have shelters run by people who are caring, and not cruel and have no feelings for the animals in there care!

    • I sent this letter to Mayor Wharton

      Mayor Wharton, I am writing to you to thank you for what you have done to protect the animals of your city. However, it does not go nearly far enough. The evidence is clear to all that see it. What is shown on the internet about your city shelter is nothing short of a concentration camp for animals. Your employees of the shelter should care for these animals, not treat them with extreme cruelty. I can only imagine what goes on when the camera eye was not on them. I do understand that catch poles have to be used in some cases. Most cases they don’t need to be used. I know this as I have volunteered at my local animal shelter many times. Not one time did I or the attendant ever use a catch pole to restrain an animal. Kindness goes a long way with scared and timid animals.
      The employees you have in your shelter for the most part demonstrate animal abuse and extreme cruelty. I was visibly shocked and horrified when I saw the videos. I myself have 2 dogs and 2 cats. I could not imagine them ever being treated in this way. I urge you to replace your shelter staff with qualified staff, trained in the proper protocol in the treatments of your cities animals. Implement an no tolerance policy, that would prosecute any employee that would violate the policy. The policy should shout that the animals in the city of Memphis Tennessee are safe in the shelter. It should be practiced every day, so that anyone entering the shelter would see well taken care of animals looking for homes, not terrified animals that have been terrorized and tortured.

  15. For Real!!! You are actually treating animals like that!!! What are you sub human! If you can’t handle the job then you need to fire and hire new people that actually care about animals!!! I am appauled at what’s been posted on Facebook!! And believe you me the whole world knows now so if I were ya’ll I’d be watching my backs and getting my shit together, you never know who will show up!!

  16. Alice Winston

     /  May 4, 2011

    Why do you have such sick people working at your shelter. I am sure if there is an ASPCA in your area, these people will be charged with animal abuse. They have no heart or conscience. They should not be around animals at all and should be fired immediately.

  17. Netanya

     /  May 4, 2011

    Posted on Facebook- Friends of Memphis Animal Services,(where I posted link to these photographs – WHICH they promptly deleted:
    By Sherry Oldwell:
    What is happening with all of the puppies I’ve seen coming into MAS over the last week. I’m not seeing them posted anywhere and there have been some real cuties that would get snapped up quickly. The bunch that came in on April 30 all got put in a trashcan and wheeled back to the kill room? Today’s puppies looked beautiful!

    By Friends of Memphis Animal Services:
    Sherry there will be a lot of puppies posted later that have come in over the last few days as soon as the pictures are downloaded. One group is a litter of 9 Akita x pups that came in over the counter. Some Shep x pups will be posted als…o that came in over the counter. Sadly every puppy that comes in cannot be put up for adoption. One person turned in a dog with puppies today and two of the puppies had already died from parvo so it is not safe to put the others up for adoption, and the shelter has no safe isolation area for parvo. From the cameras you cannot always see the condition of the animals coming in or know the circumstance. We don’t post a lot of puppies as they have the best chance at being adopted at the shelter. The shelter usually has a good variety of puppies available. Right now there are so many that they are being put in the dog adoption area, and we will post some of those later. If you have never been to the shelter, please come down and visit. It would be great to see you at the shelter.

  18. Maria Cummins

     /  May 5, 2011

    Disgusting is the only sociably acceptable word that comes to mind right now.

  19. Sherry

     /  May 5, 2011

    You have enough LOVING & CARING people in this world that would be willing to take the jobs of the HEARTLESS peoole. Stop the TORTURE !!!!!
    Make a difference in this crazy world !!

  20. Susie

     /  May 5, 2011

    Time for change, you can’t call yourself part of civilisation if you can’t treat animals with dignity. I’ve just adopted a dog from a high kill shelter from another country, she was supposed to be a he until she reached the vets, no one to even notice or spend any time with her, covered in deer ticks with a disease from it. Saying that your overwelmed doesn’t excuse inhumane treatment, abuse is a choice.

  21. Sent and email and got a reply:

    Dear Ms. Wells,
    I could not agree with you more.
    Thank you so very much for writing.
    I can assure you the three members of the Board you have listed (Allen, Jackie, and I) are coming from the exact same place and agree with your statements.

    I am the Chair of the MAS Advisory Board and can completely assure you several members of the Board have steadfastly brought every single issue you have stated to the MAS Administrator, the Mayor, the City Council and the Director and Deputy Director of the Division.
    Every single month we (well three of us, Jackie, Allen and I) arrive at the meeting with documentation regarding the kill rate, the fact the MAS Administrator fails to allow ALL animals the opportunity to be adopted, the bullying tactics of some of the volunteers, demands for the owner surrender form to tell the owner what is going to happen to their pet. We have brought this all to the public through news broadcasts, meetings, animal cruelty seminars (Jackie and I are former federal officers), telecast panel programs and seminars given to various citizen groups and schools. It took the Board three years to get the City to enable MAS to accept credit cards, many times when based on cash only to reclaim an animal, the owner returned the next day to find the animal had been euthanized. It took us 7 months to get MAS to use petfinder, and even that is a poor site, with few dogs shown, out of date photos and no cats listed.

    Jackie and I also personally conduct a court watch to report on the animal cruelty cases in our city and county. Through this we also document the behavior and improper charging by the animal officers…to the point where I was sued by a shelter worker for telling the way it actually is on the TV and newspaper.
    As part of our court watch we see the cases regarding those charged under the s/n law. All must appear before a judge and any can opt out of s/n. So far we have seen 234 cases and every one except two decided to s/n their pets. It is provided free or with a $5 co-pay. The two that opted out, decided they wanted to breed their animals and paid a onetime $200 fee for that. So far, none have opted to surrender their animals to MAS. The law was specifically written as not to be a first violation but only if another animal law is broken, running at large, no rabies, etc.
    The Board was the ONLY entity that consistently brings the concerns forward. The kill rate is horrendous, the smoke screens placed by the City Administration are quite believable for those not in the “know”.

    We welcome the outcry from across the country and around the world. Hopefully the spotlight will help.

    I thank you very much for writing. For taking the time to care.
    Cindy Sanders

    From: “”
    Sent: Thu, May 5, 2011 10:43:46 AM
    Subject: Memphis Animal Services – Please Take Action

    Dear Sirs/Madam,

    In light of recent events at the Memphis Animal Shelter, employees dumping puppies into a garbage can while still alive and then wheeled off to who knows where. An animal control officer, dragging an apparently crippled by fear or medical condition up and down a hallway by using a choke pole, stuffing into a cage that was much too small for it’s size.

    It has been brought to my attention the list of cruelties going on at this shelter. These same cruelties are now being brought to your attention in the hopes that policy and employees change at the shelter. It is an utter disgrace how things are handled there.

    These policies are an outright disgrace and should be addressed. If it is not policy that is allowing these cruelties then an across the board firing of all staff and admin should be carried out as they are not the right people for the job at hand.

    An animal shelter means: An animal shelter is a facility that houses homeless, lost or abandoned animals; primarily a large variety of dogs and cats.

    The goal of today’s animal shelter is to provide a safe and caring environment until the animal is either reclaimed by its owner, placed in a new home, or placed with another organization. Many progressive shelters temperament test animals before they are put up for adoption to determine the appropriate home environment.

    In the past, a shelter was more commonly referred to as a “dog pound”, a term which had its origins in the impoundments of agricultural communities, where stray cattle would be penned up or impounded until claimed by their owners.

    Some animal shelters euthanize animals that are not adopted within a set period of time; others have a policy of only putting down animals that are in distress due to age or illness. Animal euthanasia (from the Greek meaning “good death”)

    The list of items below need to be addressed!

    The killing of pets who are not medically hopeless and suffering nor have they been declared a danger to society by a qualified party.
    The killing of pets when there are empty cages at the shelter.
    The killing of pets who have never been made available to the public for adoption, rescue or foster.
    The killing of pets due to disease outbreak without ever making a public plea for help with quarantine to save lives.
    Failure of the shelter to vaccinate all incoming pets as per standard disease prevention protocol.
    Failure of the shelter to remove dogs and food from cages during cleaning as per standard disease prevention protocol.
    Failure of the shelter to utilize their Chameleon software to interface with PetHarbor so that every pet is viewable online by the public.
    Failure of the shelter to properly train and/or enforce humane handling of pets by the staff.
    Failure of the shelter to implement a TNR program so that the number of feral cats in the community can be reduced over time.
    Failure of the shelter to keep cats separated from the sight, sound and smell of dogs in order to reduce stress and make the population less susceptible to disease.
    Failure of the shelter to provide daily aerobic exercise for dogs for social stimulation and in order to reduce stress and make the population less susceptible to disease.

    Thank you for your time and addressing the issues outlined in this email.

    Victoria Wells

  22. tammy politi

     /  May 5, 2011

    How is it possible for any center to be calling itself “animal shelter” when what it does is so utterly cruel and inhumane to the poor animals? How is it possible to have the employees that are supposed to be treating the poor animals with love, care and concern, dragging them on the floor like lifeless inanimate objects?! What happened to “love and protect the weak and defenseless”?!!! Is this what “humans” are made of? I am appauled! I am ashamed!

  23. palindrome

     /  May 5, 2011

    I know this is asking a lot… but if you could write up a sample letter for people like me to cut and paste I’ll gladly cut and paste that and the emails into an email and send the letter. Gladly! I hate animal cruelty and try to sign and write as many letters as I can!!

    • I will post a sample letter tomorrow.

    • Sample letter. Feel free to copy or personalize as you wish:

      I have been following news about Memphis Animal Services for the past couple of years. I am deeply concerned about several things: the needless killing of healthy (or treatable), friendly pets, disturbing images of cruelty I have seen on the shelter webcams, the increased number of pets found dead in their cages since Matthew Pepper took over the shelter, the policy of offering only a couple dozen pets for adoption while allowing hundreds of others to suffer behind closed doors, the failure to put every pet in the shelter online so that adopters and rescuers know they are there and in need of help, and the failure of the shelter to implement best practices with regard to disease prevention (such as vaccination upon intake and standard, humane cleaning protocols).

      Washoe County, Nevada is an open admission shelter that takes in a similar number of pets as MAS. But they save more than 90% of their pets by utilization of the programs found in the No Kill Equation. I hope Memphis will consider modeling itself after the many no kill communities throughout the country, all of which follow the same model and none of which have mandatory spay-neuter laws. You can read a primer on the no kill philosophy here:

      Click to access nokillprimer.pdf

      Please know that pet owners all around the country have been condemning the mistreatment and needless killing of pets at MAS. Many of these people would be willing to help save pets by networking for rescue, sponsorships, etc. if only MAS would stop the killing. It is not too late to turn the negative sentiment about Memphis into a positive for the community. If city leaders committed to lifesaving at the shelter, Memphis could become the inspiration for other large municipal shelters to save more of their pets too. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to hold up Memphis as a shining example of compassion rather than a horrible example of abuse? Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

  24. Ethel

     /  May 5, 2011

    I just had a thought.

    Perhaps it is time to up the ante and start including the press in the letters.
    I know with the current flooding here, this story is being pushed to the bottom of the pile by the city. Oh wait, I guess I mean whatever is below the bottom of the pile.

    The press needs to hear and see just how many of us in Memphis, across the country, and around the world are emailing the Mayor, Director Hooks (and remember SHE is the big cheese over Pepper at the shelter), the City Council and the Board.

    We need to include the photos and links to the petition, video and YesBiscuit!

    I think, given how spot on the photos of the “trash can puppies” are, start with those.

    That makes good press. They love a good heart-wrenching photo. And MAYBE if it is shown the former of of those pups will speak out and raise hell.

    The news contacts to every tv station and major paper in the city:
    Tealy.Devereaux@FOXTV.COM;; Tealy.Devereaux@FOXTV.COM;;;;

    Link to the video:

    Link to the petition:

    Link to YesBiscuit (lol):

  25. Feel free to use mine above, I know its a bit scattered but Im sure you can tweak it and make it your own. I also sent a copy to all the news oulets posted above! :)

  26. Here is the letter I just sent to Bill Haslam, the governor of TN. Anyone is free to copy and edit as they choose:

    Subject: Memphis Animal Shelter Concerns

    Dear Governor Haslam,

    I am writing to you from South Carolina as a concerned shelter pet advocate. Many of us have been witnessing inhumane treatment and needless killing of pets at the shelter in Memphis via their webcams. I write a blog and some of my readers have been sending in images taken from the webcams which I’ve been posting on the blog.

    The shelter statistics show they are killing 3 out of every 4 pets that come through their front door. We have written several times to the shelter leadership, the mayor and the city council. These letters have largely been ignored, save for a few members of the advisory board who have responded that they share our concerns. I have encouraged people in Memphis to attend the public meetings held monthly by the shelter advisory board. There is a petition circulating online calling for a boycott of Memphis due to the abuse at the shelter. That petition has several thousand signatures already.

    I fully appreciate that currently, the city of Memphis is concerned about helping people affected by the floods. Please understand that we have been writing to city leaders since before the floods started. And while I agree that people affected by the floods should be a priority, I do not understand why the concerns of abuse and needless killing at the shelter can’t be addressed by someone, somewhere within the city of Memphis. We all face temporary crises in our lives but we manage to do more than one thing at a time in order to remain functional. And while city officials continue to “roundfile” our letters, pets are being abused and needlessly killed at the shelter in alarming numbers. Can you offer any assistance in seeing that these concerns are addressed by someone in Memphis?

    I am including below a summary of my concerns about the shelter and a few links to pages on my blog which may be of interest to you. Please let me know if I can provide any additional information.

    Thank you,
    Shirley Thistlethwaite

    * The killing of pets who are not medically hopeless and suffering nor have they been declared a danger to society by a qualified party.
    * The killing of pets when there are empty cages at the shelter.
    * The killing of pets who have never been made available to the public for adoption, rescue or foster.
    * The killing of pets due to disease outbreak without ever making a public plea for help with quarantine to save lives.
    * Failure of the shelter to vaccinate all incoming pets as per standard disease prevention protocol.
    * Failure of the shelter to remove dogs and food from cages during cleaning as per standard disease prevention protocol.
    * Failure of the shelter to utilize their Chameleon software to interface with PetHarbor so that every pet is viewable online by the public.
    * Failure of the shelter to properly train and/or enforce humane handling of pets by the staff.
    * Failure of the shelter to implement a TNR program so that the number of feral cats in the community can be reduced over time.
    * Failure of the shelter to keep cats separated from the sight, sound and smell of dogs in order to reduce stress and make the population less susceptible to disease.
    * Failure of the shelter to provide daily aerobic exercise for dogs for social stimulation and in order to reduce stress and make the population less susceptible to disease.

  27. I wrote Ms Cindy Marx-Sanders back asking her what we could do to help. This was her reply. Please cross post to everyone one you know and have them sign the petition too. :)

    Thank you so very much. We have been trying for so long. It is great to have support.

    Have you signed the petition and viewed the video?

    If not, here are the links. Please post them any and everywhere.

    Keep the letters coming. Governor and press…good idea!


    Video – please watch entire video and forward

    petition – please sign and forward

  28. Doreatha Penn

     /  May 7, 2011

    Why don’t shelters hire animal lovers to work there. It’s obvious these people are not animal lovers nor do they care anything about how they treat these poor dogs. This has got to stop and I mean stop right now!!!!

  29. Dawn

     /  May 8, 2011

    The people who work at that shelter are the real animals. Why would they let people that don’t love animals work in these places. It is sick and crazy :(.

  30. majela urbay

     /  May 8, 2011

    This is incomprehemsible

  31. Doreen

     /  May 9, 2011

    Please help STOP & END the animal cruelty that may be going on at this Animal Shelter in Memphis! These animals need and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity! Thank you!

  32. Michele Yanes

     /  May 9, 2011

    I will travel to Memphis, camp outside the door of the Mayor’s office until someone gets the balls to make a change to this insanely barbarick shelter!!! Who the hell do these people think they are. Honestly, I hope they burn in hell!!

  33. Nicole Rivet

     /  May 9, 2011

    The way these animals are treated is unacceptable. People who do not care for animals and treat them like garbage should in no way be working in a place like this. I want to see this place under new management with all new employees, and for everyone who was previously working at the Memphis Animal Services to be charged and prosecuted. This is disgusting how animals are killed without even being given a chance, the unsanitary conditions these animals live in, and the negligence of the employees who work here. Changes need to be made and they need to be made NOW! Whoever allows this place to still be open and operating needs to do their job, and close this place down.

  34. Michele Deutsch

     /  May 9, 2011

    Please help these voiceless victims that are deserving of life and love. They are God’s creatures that should be loved by people that care for animals and do not abuse, taunt, torment or neglect them. Please employ people that are screened and trained to handle these animals with care and concern. The animals I have seen in the video stills from the Memphis shelter make me physically and emotionally sick. Please help these animals.

  35. Sharon Davis

     /  May 9, 2011

    This is so horrible! This place needs a major cleanup of people from the Director all the way down to the so call workers!

  36. Kristy

     /  May 9, 2011

    You should not allow people to work there that dont have a love for animals. This is sick!!! These animals cant do anything for themselves – they are stuck with these jerks. We are their voice – so do something!!! Please!

  37. Jody

     /  May 9, 2011

    Something needs to be done here. How can someone allow this teatment of a beautiful animal with no voice to tell you that you are causing pain and they have a heart and they love more than most humans can!! Do something now!!!!

  38. Tish

     /  May 9, 2011

    Hi, I am going to mail a letter to the above representatives. Can someone please confirm the address of Memphis Animal Services (MAS)? I would like to include the physical addres in my letter, is it: 3456 Tchulahoma Road Memphis, TN 38118? Please let me know if this informaiton is accurate and thank you in advance!

  39. jessica

     /  May 9, 2011

    Give them a chance, if people get second chances…so should helpless animals. At least WE had a voice. YOU are the voices of the animals, and what happens to them? Give them a second chance…we all need one.

  40. How a government treats it’s animals shows it’s regard for all life. Please take immediate action to ensure that respect for life and minimizing suffering is of paramount importance for this agency.

  41. Amy

     /  May 10, 2011

    Extra care & accountability MUST be taken when people are in charge of caring for those that can not defend themselves… small children, mentally handicapped, elderly & animals! I hope Memphis can get this shelter on track… it’s IMPERATIVE that they utilize individuals & rescue resources to effectuate change because the current director is obviously flawed & needs to be OUT of there. :(

  42. Shelley Bright

     /  May 10, 2011

    We went through this same thing not even 2 years ago with this shelter. This is nothing new. This is a regular unacceptable occurrence funded by taxpaying dollars. Remember the little white Pit Bull with no name, just a #…seized as evidence in a drug bust. Left to starve to death in her cage, unnoticed, uncared for, unfed. This place is a cesspool. The saddest part of this is that 98% of the tax-funded animal shelters in the United States of America drag dogs around by catch poles just like this…all day long, 365 days of the year, like carbon copy images, just different characters and stage props. But it’s still the same; no compassion, devoid of empathy, complete and utter disregard for life. To them…it’s just a job.

  43. Agnes

     /  May 12, 2011

    I already told myself not to look at the pics but I cant help… Every time I do, tough I feel sick!
    I wish it would be something more I could do… I dont even leave close to Memphis…
    But those people should get a different job if they cant handle animals!!!

  44. Bob

     /  May 13, 2011

    List of companies that call Memphis “home” I am writing the CEOs and PR departments of each company to let them know I will not purchase their products or services until there are positive changes at MAS. Furthermore I will ask them to contact the Mayor and appropriate parties involved with this, I will give them a link to this blog, and ask them to sponsor MAS once they have implemented certain positive changes. Will you join me? if anyone wants a copy of my letter, email me.,_Tennessee

  45. Distraught

     /  May 18, 2011

    Billboard idea: “Memphis Kills! So What?”

  46. Roger

     /  May 18, 2011

    I thoguht of this today and maybe somewhere it has been mentioned already. The suggestion about boycotting the city for vactions because of it’s stance on animal welfare was suggested, but what about writing to the large businesses that have their headquarters there. The one that comes to the top of the list is FedEx. Ask them how they feel about having their HQ’s located in a city that feels no remorse for it’s animals. I’m sure there are other large company’s to contact as well.

  47. Joan Massey

     /  May 21, 2011

    I have written to all the councillors, mayor etc that you have posted above. Thank you for informing the general public of this inhumane facility. I hope that the outcry has an effect on those who have the power to make the changes necessary.

  48. Joan

     /  June 9, 2011

    I just wrote again to all the leaders of Memphis. Hope one or two of them take the lead and make the changes.

  49. jezebel

     /  July 2, 2011

    I am shocked by the inhumane treatment of these animals. All I can conclude is that their hiring practices involve screening FOR sociopaths to be their employees. I work at a shelter in Western Canada and there is no excuse for these atrocities. As an Animal control, it is our job to get lost pets home by tracing microchips and tattoos. Beyond that, our job is to care for them while we find them a better home.

  50. Bob

     /  July 2, 2011

    I have emailed everyone on this list again. I still need to finalize my emails to the company’s that are headquartered in Memphis.

    • db

       /  July 29, 2011

      Please share when you get that list . . . if you are comfortable. Some of us who live a distance away can mostly write and call and that would help us to target (oops – am I going to get in trouble for that?) influential people who might be actually able and willing to help.

  51. Rose Ann Keen

     /  July 28, 2011

    Responded to letter of 7/27/11 from Houston Tate:
    In response to Mr. Tate’s ltr 7-27-11

    In his letter Mr. Tate states “that most people would not want to work under the conditions in which these employees work and that they should not be attacked at every turn”. Quoting Mr. Tate’ “But my job is to protect the rights of the human animals, the employees.” Mr. Tate I am sure you do your best.. But when an employee breaks policy and is caught on tape by a ‘neutral camera” it should be dealt with. If the infraction is severe enough it should be dealt with all the way up to the civil board. Employees who are doing their job should not be frightened or intimidated by the cameras if they are not the ones breaking policy.

    Mr. Tate said “walk in the shoes of the shelter workers” . Mr. Tate, animal advocates and anyone who has rescued an animal may go through the same thing .. being attacked by animals, owners of animals and the public who feels that being an animal advocate is a waste of time and money. The Animal Control Officers earn a salary some rescue advocates don’t . All animal rescuers want is that the animal be treated humanely even if it is its last day on earth. The MAS shelter is there to protect citizens and advocates are there to

    protect the animals from the citizen. When the shelter takes custody , abuse of the animals should not continue. The job description of the Animal Service Officer does not state anywhere that those wanting this kind of job should have an interest in and/or working with animals, NOR does it state that any employee found to be guilty in the maltreatment of the animals in the custody of MAS will be reprimanded and could result in termination. It does state ” 2 yrs general experience preferably in the animal control or animal care field”, but just because they have worked with animals previously does not mean that they have a humane attitude toward animals. As for the Second Chance Program, these persons probably never worked with animals and had no qualms in committing offenses against humans.

    An excerpt from the MAS mission statement reads :

    “Our mantra has always been protecting people from the dangers and nuisances of uncontrolled animals and keeping animals safe from mistreatment and abuse.”

    Mr. Tate, thank you for your insight into what unions do and not do. It seems that even after all that has occurred and been revealed , those you represent have not read nor have followed the mission statement and that is neither your fault or responsiblity . However, your attempt to make me see the other side was admirable … Nice Try.

    Rose Ann Martinez-Keen

    6344 N. Watkins Rd.

  52. How would this leave you feel if your children or grandchildren were left in the hands of people JUST LIKE THESE PEOPLE!
    I am sure you would be a whole lot quicker in correcting the problem, wouldn’t you be!?! These animals were put in the care of this place and they ARE NOT BEING TREATED WITH KINDNESS AND LOVE! They are left to starve and are being mistreated. This has got to stop NOW!!!!!!! These animals were put on earth from GOD to be cared for, loved and treated fairly. They have no voice and can only live like this because they have no choice. They do not deserve to be mistreated. I along with thousands of other people want this to end. There is NO GOOD REASON for this to continue. So please pass a law to have this place clean up its act, hire decent caring people to take care of this helpless animals NOW!

  53. Dear Horse Manure …
    All but the most biased media has determined this to be fraud at it’s
    lowest level.
    Channel 5 news here was embarassed at the fraud and apologized the same day
    Manure in Manure out …

    this is the email I received from the Mayors office today August 15, 2011 when I wrote about the atrocities being committed by the animal shelter…if this is how these people think boy is there a severe problem

  54. also I have contacted Jane Velez Mitchell via email so hopefully this(MAS) is something she can investiagate

  55. Greg Tedesco

     /  September 29, 2011

    I emailed everyone

  56. Lynne Kramer

     /  January 20, 2012

    Finding out today the the shelter in Memphis Tn was closed to hold a killing seminar today the only day they are open for adoption really upset me… how are these animals going to find wonderful homes if the shelter is not open! And then the next go round of a killing spree will be animals that could have been adopted today. How horrible is that? Do these people even have the right to be called caretakers? NOT IN MY BOOK THEY DONT!!!!!!! animals do not have a voice and can nnot talk to us… they give us unconditional love and respect… and we cant even do the same for them. PLEASE PLEASE RECONSIDER EVERY MOVE YOU MAKE CONCERNING THESE POOR INNOCENT ANIMALS ! It just hurts my soul to think people can put innocent babies and animals that could have a wonderful home down.

  57. Lisa

     /  January 20, 2012

    I don’t believe you wish to be known as the man who allowed a training session of killing to prevent wonderful animals from being adopted and earning more money to take care of those that are mistreated and neglected in your city. If I, a person from Florida, am hearing of your issue, than you can bet there are many more that you may be more concerned about.

  58. Prefers to Remain Anonymous for this Comment

     /  February 21, 2012

    I recently attended volunteer orientation for Memphis Animal Shelter, as I’ve come to realize that this place needs LOTS of help! However, quite a few things said by the senior animal care technician / lead volunteer coordinator in that orientation really rubbed me the wrong way. After a couple statements were made, I started writing them down so I could remember exactly what was said word-for-word. Here are some of the quotes:

    COMMENT #1: “It was a nice dog. It wasn’t a normal rotweiler that would attack you for looking at it funny.”
    Said when talking about a dog that had previously been at the shelter. This comment upset me because I believe an MAS employee, much less the Sr. Animal Care technician, should not express such obvious breed discrimination in his statements. Not to mention that many of the potential volunteers attending probably assume this guy knows what he is talking about b/c of his position and will therefore begin to fear and/or dislike all rotties. In my opinion, the verbalization of such a discriminatory comment was quite simply irresponsible.

    COMMENT #2: “Pitbulls are gentically vicious toward other animals. Its almost in their DNA.”
    Again, this comment screams breed discrimination. While its true that many pitbulls have unfortunately been breed for aggression, to lump the entire breed into this category is again, extremely irresponsible, as well as harmful. As we recently saw when another MAS employee called for the killing of all pitbulls and pitbull mixes, regardless of temperament, this breed discriminiation apparently runs rampant in the MAS facility.

    COMMENT #3: “Public outreach starts in March. You can’t change the minds of adults, so we educate 4th grade and under.”
    This comment was said when discussing how MAS will go to public schools to help educate the children about animal care, etc.

    COMMENT #4: “90% of the animals euthanized are done so due to illness or behavior issues.”
    The truth is a matter of public record, so I know for a fact that this statement is false. The majority of the animals killed are done so for space. I’d also like to say that the individual leading the meeting used this percentage (“90%”) in every single statistic he quoted, which made me giggle as I recalled the old saying, “90% of all statistics are completely made up.”

    Lastly, I just thought you would like to know that this individual also called the YesBiscuit blog out by name. He said that he obviously can’t tell people what to read on the internet, but he asked that the volunteers not pay any attention to the YesBiscuit blog. He said it is dangerous because he has received death threats from someone in England due to what is written in the YesBiscuit blog.

    So, anyway – just thought I would share with you all of the MISinformation that is being spouted by the person leading the MAS volunteer orientation meetings. I am requesting that I remain anonymous in this post so MAS will continue to allow me volunteer there and help the animals. As we all know, if any of this is traced back to me, I will be banned from the facility.

    • Thank you for sharing your experience. THIS is what the anonymous commenter function is supposed to be used for, in case anyone was wondering. For good, not eebil.

  59. Matt Brown

     /  March 6, 2012

    You should be ashamed of the animal shelter you have in Memphis. I know your city is full of low life, poor, uneducated idiots but does that really mean you all have to be unaffectionate and brain washed as well. If you all believe that all pit bulls need to be uthanized and this is the way you treat puppies then maybe you should be looking for another line of work. Again, I know your all unemployed and starving but maybe that should make you want to do your job better. If I was the mayor of your shit hole city I would have human heads rolling at the shelter lately. I really hope as leaders of this crappy city that you take action against these people.

  60. Jessica C

     /  March 7, 2012

    I wrote to all the people on that list and the governor. Hopefully with all of us together it may do SOMETHING. *crosses fingers*

  61. This could be applied to animal controls and animal shelters all over this country….all we need is not just one voice…but a community….get up and get going….time wasted is more lives lost…I am going to get started on Aiken County Animal Services in Aiken SC….who else is going to jump on the train?

  62. Cee

     /  April 22, 2012

    I just checked and this petition is closed (it got 6,101 signatures as of October 2011 & target was 6,000): Save the Animals in Memphis, TN/ “MEMPHIS ANIMAL SERVICES – STOP THE KILLING”,

    I would hope the petition author can edit and reinstate it so that the petition ends when Memphis decides to do what so many other cities with open-admission shelters have done and implement the No Kill Equation. 90% or more of animals should be leaving there alive.

    The data provided by MAS themselves proves there is NO WAY that 90% of animals that end up at MAS are irredeemably suffering or vicious.

  63. Faith

     /  September 6, 2012

    Letter I wrote to city officials and news media to all addresses listed prior.

    What more proof do you need to stop the abuse and killing of the innocent at MAS? This has gone on long enough and there is no training or certification that can fix this. You either have compassion for animals or you don’t, IT CAN’T BE TAUGHT and if you don’t then you do not need to be working in a shelter. PLEASE stop putting second chance felons and people with no compassion for animals in MAS. There are people in Memphis desperate for work who loves animals. There are volunteers who have quit MAS because of the threats and misconduct of your employees. How do you sleep at night knowing that city employee’s that you continue to support are brutally torturing, starving, killing and sending out the back door for fighting animals at your shelter. This is no shelter these animals would be safer roaming the streets of Memphis than being at the mercy of MAS. Please stop this madness and help the innocent who cannot help themselves!

  64. ed seward

     /  September 15, 2012

    the s o b that killed that small timid chow on feb 11 2012 the way he did should be killed the exact way and among myself and others would have no problem chippn n!!! these so called humans who do this to a small precious puppy can you only imagine what they would do to a child or anybody else for that matter?! i mean what the hell?! MAS employees well there time will come. the week before article where a man went to adopt pet and these dogs had just came in from puppy mills just as horrendous!!! what goes on in puppy mills TRAGIC!!! STOP PUPPY MILLS!!! SPEAK UP FOR THE INNOCENT!!!

  65. Beth Spencer

     /  August 22, 2014

    Mayor Wharton at Memphis Parks & Recreation BLOCKED me on Twitter for reporting the happenings at Memphis Animal Services. What kind of leader does that?!



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