How Much Sadder Can Sad Get?
June 2, 2011
This morning, I saw a dog on the webcam at MAS and felt horrified, heartbroken and motivated to help all at once. I am posting the dog’s photo below but placing quite a bit of text before it so that it will not appear on anyone’s monitor unless they choose to scroll down.
Warning: the image below is disturbing and may be too graphic for sensitive readers.
I want to make clear that little is known about this dog, including how he or she came to be in this state. I have requested additional information on the dog but as of this posting, I haven’t received any. I assume that the shelter will honor someone’s request (obviously not mine) for this dog’s records and once I receive the info, I will share it here.
In the interest of full disclosure, and because I want to share as much factual info as I have on this dog, I am posting below the e-mails exchanged among shelter director Matthew Pepper, La Sonya Hall and me today:
Subject: Dog I would Like to Help
Date: Thu, June 02, 2011 8:14 am
I am attaching a photo of a dog in obvious need of immediate care. I would like to help this dog. If you would please give me any information you are able on him, I’d appreciate it. I can raise money specifically for this dog’s vet care and in fact I already have some money donated by folks who want to help pets at MAS. I can network with local rescuers to see if anyone can take the dog to a vet today. Please just let me know if the dog is in need. He appears that way but I know there may be more to the dog’s story than is evident in a photo (such as possibly an owner who is wanting to reclaim his lost dog). If you can let me know how best to help this dog, I will begin efforts immediately.
I care about this dog and I know many of my readers will too once I share his story. Please let me help him get the care he needs if he is not already receiving treatment.
Subject: Re: Dog I would Like to Help
Date: Thu, June 02, 2011 8:47 am
Cc: <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <Janet.Hooks@memphistn.gov>,
This dog has been euthanised to prevent suffering. This dog was evaluated by a veterinarian and our Veterinary Medical Director identified the dog as being in advanced stages of emaciation, weak and in a deteriorated physical condition that exceeded our ability to treat. Dr. Rebecca Coleman is copied to this message.
If you have a particular interest in a dog please notify us of your interests we are happy to work with you but need some advanced notice of what you are seeking. We appreciate your willingness to work with us and hope you can help us with many more animals in the future. Is there something particular you are looking for?
Thank you for your response.
I honestly don’t know how I could let you know “in advance” if nobody can see the dogs in the stray kennels to know they need help? This is a sincere question. IF I could have seen this poor dog in the kennel, I would have e-mailed sooner. But NOBODY could see him. I e-mailed as soon as I saw him.
I am very sad about this dog. I understand that he was beyond your vet’s ability to treat. But surely another vet could have treated him, right? But he never had a chance for that because he was not listed online nor was he visible to anyone. How long did MAS have him? Was he a cruelty case or a stray or…?
To answer your question, I am not looking for any pet in particular. I saw this dog and was moved to try and help him. Do you have another dog in need of help in your stray area?
Subject: RE: Dog I would Like to Help
Date: Thu, June 02, 2011 12:47 pm
Cc: email@example.com, Janet.Hooks@memphistn.gov,
I haven’t heard back from you and since obviously time is of the essence, I thought of a way to perhaps simplify things which hopefully will make it quick and easy for you to respond:
1. Please send me the records pertaining to the dog in the attached photo. This way you don’t have to research, summarize and type up the info in an e-mail to me.
2. Please send me a photo, if possible, and any information on the dog who is now living in the kennel that was left empty after the dog in the attached photo was killed. I will try to help whoever that dog is. If there is no dog in that kennel right now, then the dog to the right or left of that space will be fine too.
Thank you so much.
Subject: RE: Dog I would Like to Help
Date: Thu, June 02, 2011 3:24 pm
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, Janet.Hooks@memphistn.gov, Rebecca.Coleman@memphistn.gov, Matthew.Pepper@memphistn.gov, Jill.Madajczyk@memphistn.gov
Your request falls under the Freedom of Information Act and should be directed to Senior Assistant City Attorney Jill Madajczyk. Ms. Madajczyk is copied on this message. In submitting your request, please provide Ms. Madajczyk proof of residency.
Have a splendid day!
La Sonya Harris Hall, Ph.D.
Deputy Director, Division of Public Services and Neighborhoods
125 N. Main Street, Suite 200
Memphis, TN 38103
_______________________END of e-mail messages____________________
The few pieces of information I believe to be factual about this dog are:
- The dog was housed in the stray area at MAS.
- Dogs housed in this area are not taken out for walks or removed from their kennels during cleaning.
- The dog was extremely emaciated and in need of immediate veterinary care.
- I was willing to help get care for this dog and knew that many of you would be too.
- The dog was killed by MAS this morning, before my e-mail offer of help was sent.
- The dog was never listed online by MAS nor was he housed in an area open to the public.
- No one, outside of shelter staff, knew he was there.
I do not know if the dog had a microchip and/or a known owner, when the dog arrived at MAS, what his weight was at time of intake or any other pertinent information. That’s why I’ve requested the records – to get answers to these questions.
My greatest fear, and this information is unknowable to anyone outside the shelter since the stray areas are off limits, is that there may be another pet in this condition in another stray kennel. Or two. Or more than two. I don’t know and I’d really like to because this image brings up awful memories for all of us who have been following MAS since the raid in 2009 when we saw the shocking before and after photos of a beautiful puppy who starved to death in the shelter’s care. I’m not saying that’s happening now. I don’t know what’s happening now with the dogs in the stray area because they are hidden from view. Unlike many other shelters, MAS does not post photos and descriptions of all its pets online. Potential adopters looking for a dog are only allowed to see roughly 30 dogs, cherry-picked for the adoption hallway, while hundreds of others sit in their kennels in the stray area behind closed doors. The very idea of a dog in such urgent need of care sitting in one of these hidden kennels is unthinkable to me.
I promise to share more information as I receive it. In the meantime, please keep a good thought for this dog and for all the pets at MAS.