Memphis Pound “Loses” Another Person’s Pet

Nola (photo provided by Victoria Henry)

Memphis resident Victoria Henry’s dog Nola is missing.  Ms. Henry writes:

My pups Uno (Siberian Husky) and Nola (Lab mix with American Bulldog) dug a hole in my back yard and got out under the fence on Thursday, May 3, 2012. They were picked up by animal control the same day between 12 noon and 1:00 pm.  This information was unknown to me until a week later. On Friday, May 4, 2012, I visited the Memphis Animal Shelter on Appling Road and my search was unsuccessful.

A week later, Thursday, May 10, 2012, I received a phone call from a gentleman in the neighborhood stating that my pups were possibly picked up and taken to the Memphis Animal Shelter. When I visited the shelter on this day I was able to locate one of my pups, Uno. Uno is chipped and was reported lost. I never received a phone call. Nola was nowhere in sight. I also spoke with the officer that picked both of them up from the same location at the same time on the same day. However, Nola’s intake day was listed as April 3, 2012. Additionally she was listed as a pit bull and she is not a pit bull.

More so, I have visited the shelter several times and I have not had any luck locating Nola. The shelter does not have documentation on Nola being euthanized nor do they know of her location. I have requested her paperwork and I was denied; therefore, I am in the process of completing FOIA request. To make matters worse, a male employee recognized that the date was wrong and informed the female employee that was inputting the information into the computer system and she did not change the date. I have also sought legal assistance with this matter. An investigation needs to be done to prevent this from happening to someone else.

Uno and baby Nola (photo provided by Victoria Henry)

Unfortunately, Ms. Henry issomeone else“.  In fact, MAS has a history of missing and unaccounted for animals.  The rotary club report underscored many pet advocates’ worst fears:  dogs being sold out the back door of the pound and possible staff connections to dogfighting.

Last night, ABC24 ran a segment on Nola.  When interviewed now, interim director James Rogers gives the impression he’s on the case and will leave no stone unturned.  It’s a shame he didn’t take action when Ms. Henry first notified him 3 weeks ago.  I assume, based on our many denied FOIA requests for security camera footage, the footage from May 3 has been overwritten.  It could have been saved though, if immediate action had been taken on May 10.  Or if the city, you know – did its job and preserved security camera footage for 30 days like they said they would.  And of course, there is no hope of Nola being found on any webcam grabs since the city shut those off last year.

Ms. Henry believes this is Nola (despite the ridiculous identifying photo) still listed by MAS on PetHarbor:

MAS listing from PetHarbor.com. Click to enlarge.

A number of questions arise regarding this case:

  • Where were Nola and Uno on May 4 when Ms. Henry visited the pound to look for her dogs?
  • Why wasn’t Uno’s chip scanned and Ms. Henry contacted by MAS?
  • Why was Ms. Henry’s request for records denied?
  • Why were there apparently no efforts made by MAS to find what happened to Nola after Ms. Henry advised the pound that they had lost her dog?
  • Why is the PetHarbor listing still showing an incorrect date of April 3?
  • What is the impounding officer’s explanation for these troubling events?

And most importantly:

  • Where’s Nola?

A poster has been created in an effort to help find Nola and it can be viewed here.

Leave a comment

56 Comments

  1. Angela B.

     /  June 1, 2012

    My blood is boiling and my heart is breaking. That intake photo, to me anyway, looks just like Nola-so is that dog not in the shelter? Is A240226 not in the shelter anymore? If I were a Memphis resident, I would most likely be in jail….a lot. Ms. Henry should organize a rally, with posters and pictures of Nola, with BIG questions, and stand outside of MAS-make sure the news is notified.

    Reply
    • Simone

       /  June 3, 2012

      My daughters dog is Kapone ….. I can’t believe this is happening again and almost the same scenario. If what happened with Kapone didn’t change Memphis then I don’t know what could…….Bad money and the devils mist has a grip on that city. Those that are responsible should beg for mercy from our Father….there is a special place in hell waiting just for you.

      Reply
  2. I read that some helpful shelters have animal control officers that can take a photo of a dog in the field and print fliers right in their vehicle which they then post around the area that they picked up the dog (or cat). This way people in the area looking for their pet will know it was picked up and can go to the shelter and reclaim their pet fast. More animal lives saved this way and less tax money spent caring for people pets for days. Makes a LOT of sense to me, so why so far shelters do it like this?

    Reply
    • db

       /  June 1, 2012

      Bottom line is you have to care about the animals and I don’t believe that most of the folks at MAS (or the governing bodies do care).
      Sooner or later they are going to mess with the wrong person and something WILL change. Let’s hope that Nola is the one.

      Reply
  3. Ona

     /  June 1, 2012

    Apparently training and training and retraining and then retraining is not working.

    Reply
    • kim

       /  June 2, 2012

      So do they need to be retrained about what Month it is? About where numbers are on a keyboard?
      Training isn’t working. They need to be fired. My work has a gross negligence clause, certainly the city has to have one to avoid lawsuits.

      Reply
  4. “organize a rally, with posters and pictures of Nola, with BIG questions, and stand outside of MAS-make sure the news is notified.” — I like your idea Angela!

    Reply
    • Jody

       /  June 1, 2012

      I also like this idea! I agree with Ona – Training, re-training and re-training again isn’t working – you can’t fix stupid!!!! What’s Einstein’s definition of insanity?! This certainly fits the bill! My heart breaks for Victoria’s family. I hope she knows she has all of our support and we WILL get to the bottom of it. Praying for Nola, too!!

      Reply
    • Linda R

       /  June 1, 2012

      I would make every effort to attend this rally – been to one already, even if it was just three of us that made the news, I’ll stand there again.

      Reply
  5. mikken

     /  June 1, 2012

    Do we know if the other dog’s chip was noted on intake? I’ve seen them scan for chips – was he scanned, a chip found, and the box just checked for yep, there’s a chip?

    We have seen dogs get their identifying tags REMOVED by MAS, so why would they bother contacting an owner of a chipped pet? I wonder if they even bother to scan cats…

    This is inexcusable. This is the shelter’s JOB. And again, their record-keeping is a mess, their staff is apathetic, and their focus is not on the welfare of their charges.

    Why didn’t they act sooner? Why aren’t the records complete, accurate, and up to date? Why are crappy, non-identifying photos still being permitted (especially since they’re part of the record-keeping)? And why is it so frikkin hard to store thirty days’ worth of video in this digital day and age?

    Reply
  6. Ex-MAS Volunteer

     /  June 1, 2012

    What can be done about all the ignored FOIA requests? Does the city not realize they’re violating individuals’ civil rights by flat-out disreagarding these requests? Would a class-action law suit against the city for all these ignored requests get Mayor Wharton’s attention?

    Reply
  7. Melinda

     /  June 1, 2012

    That Pet Harbor picture is haunting. Can’t imagine the anguish that Ms. Henry must feel when looking at that photo. Like having your loved one trapped on the other side of time and you can’t get to them.

    The dog on Pet Harbor HAS an ID number. Isn’t that the sekkrit skwirrl decoder ring for finding out anything about one of the animals at MAS?? And MAS can’t come up with any information??

    Reply
  8. Tammy

     /  June 1, 2012

    I can only pray that Nola is “found” by MAS or that she turns out to be another Kapone and is located sooner rather than later. My heart is breaking for Nola and her family. I just don’t understand why nothing changes at MAS and why the citizens of Memphis remain complacent.

    Reply
  9. Though a court of law unfortunately still considers dogs as personal property, wrongfully, Nola is still Ms. Henry’s property. Ms. henry needs to get a Animal Defense League lawyer working for her, one that is on the side of the animals, some, if animal lovers, will take the case Pro Bono. However I feel a travesty of injustice has been done her &, possibly, MAS euthanized her dog due to being claimed “pitbull” status. This is heartbreaking since pitbulls are not, have never been, 1: a breed, 2: aggressive or vicious; it is due to some jackasses wanting to get cudos politically that this war on pits are being foraged & stupidity of public to believe the false propaganda to alarm the ill-informed. Yes, there has been some unscrupulous persons using cruelty against these animals cause these folks are SICK mentally & need to be punished for what they make such dogs endure, but anyone of these dogs beaten, fought & abused can, and has been proven to succeed in Mike Vick’s fighting dogs, be rehabbed back to the family dog status they were so the pride of folks back in the 19th & early 20th Century households.

    Whether or not Nola is found, Ms. Henry needs to take a precedence for rightful justice belonging to her and Nola & sue the SOBs, Someone is covering up something cause someone who is a good pet parent is trying to find her dog who she loves. This does not happen often & I am glad Ms. Henry has begun some pregres, this may turn the tides to save many other dogs when MAS is intricately investigated down to the last piece of kibble in a dog food bag…

    Please proceed Ms. Henry even if Nola is not located, though I pray she is. Do it for her memory, do it to save others from the clutches of incompetent jerks that run MAS and their flunkies that kill animals needlessly… And do their paperwork to find Nola, but do not take faith in their paying attention to it so proceed with a Animal Defense Attorney and preferably one to practice law in that state but preferably not from that county; one not affiliated in anyway with the courts or government of that, in my opinon, corrupt governmental area.

    Reply
  10. I too often wonder about the pictures taken. I mean digital cameras are cheap and readily available. How hard is it to produce a proper picture with one of these. As well you can preview the picture and if it is not clear another can be taken……this is 2012…there is no excuse for messed records and poor pictures!!!!!

    Reply
  11. Just a suggestion here but perhaps someone in the area of Memphis could co-ordinate with Ms Henry. They could call about the above mentioned dog. Then take Ms Henry with them to see it ( or if she is too easily recognized perhaps a family member could go ) and see if this her dog. We ( the pet lovers) need to be as sneaky as they are to fight this stupid place

    Reply
    • You shouldn’t have to be *sneaky* to get your own dog back!

      Reply
    • mikken

       /  June 1, 2012

      It was my impression that they have no information on the dog in the Pet Harbor photo. More MAS mismanagement of records. Incompetence or malice…you be the judge.

      Reply
  12. Concerned Person

     /  June 1, 2012

    Alerting the news media is an excellent idea. Begin there I think they would be most interested in this story especially given the story of Kapone and his horrific journey. Ms. Henry should contact them immediately and tell the media she will be camped out at MAS until they offer true explanation of what happened to her dog. MAS should be held accountable and the camera rats who are taking picture for petharbor.com should be made to hang up the cameras! Get better pictures, accurate information and MAS should consider that not all dogs are pit bulls. This story makes my heart ache. Glad I live in Collierville.

    Reply
  13. Lorraine Martinez

     /  June 1, 2012

    It’s about time that MAS was sued over this sort of thing–perhaps if they have the heat turned-up on them we can find out what’s REALLY going on there–I’m sure it’s much deeper than it appears! I will gladly chip in towards Legal fees if Ms Henry would be willing to pursue this. If anyone knows her, please encourage her to at least speak with an ATTY (familiar with animal rights cases) to evaluate the merits of the case.

    This type of thing has gone on long enough–JUSTICE for NOLA!!!

    Reply
    • Linda R

       /  June 1, 2012

      I’m with you (again) Lorraine!

      Reply
      • Victoria Henry

         /  June 2, 2012

        Hello, this is Victoria and you all have brought me to tears! I really do appreciate your support and prayers. Nola was my “lil fat mamma” as I would sometimes call her and I miss her sooooo much. I am currently looking into an ATTY. My email address is vicnnnn9@yahoo.com if anyone wanted to reach me via email.

    • Jessica C

       /  June 3, 2012

      I was going to say the same thing as you, Lorraine!

      This story just makes me sick to my stomache.

      Reply
  14. Lorraine Martinez

     /  June 1, 2012

    We need an Erin Brockovitch for animals here….

    Reply
  15. mikken

     /  June 1, 2012

    What we need is a full audit of the shelter. How many other animals go “missing”?

    Reply
    • db

       /  June 1, 2012

      And where do they go missing to?

      Reply
    • all2real

       /  June 3, 2012

      When Kapone went missing there were one hundred fifty five animals missing from the shelter….this was cats, dogs, and some livestock…

      Reply
      • Jennifer

         /  June 3, 2012

        How the heck does one lose livestock? What livestock does MAS pick up? Do they even have the facility necessary to hold livestock?

      • mikken

         /  June 3, 2012

        They had a horse a while back and there were some roosters and a hen, recently…

  16. Jennifer

     /  June 1, 2012

    I cannot believe that by the 3rd of the month they do not know it is the next month. How can employees screw up the date? This makes no sense to me! Mr. Rogers needs to check up on his incompetent employees. Quit labeling dogs as pitbulls when they are obviously not! How can owners find their lost dogs when their dogs are mislabeled and the intake dates are wrong.

    Reply
  17. Brandy

     /  June 1, 2012

    I wouldn’t stop with local news, try going national. Jane Valez is a huge animal advocate. Although I cringe that she supports PETA, she prob would be all over this specially with MAS history.

    Clearly the embarrassment Rogers has felt from a blog and a few ex-vol’s, didn’t light a fire to induce ANY change at this hell hole.

    Reply
    • Lorraine Martinez

       /  June 1, 2012

      I’ve written to her already–no response. Anderson Cooper, too–ditto.Very disappointing.

      Reply
  18. Karen F

     /  June 1, 2012

    What an awful, awful thing, compounded by the shelter’s secretive behavior once Ms. Henry started asking questions. I can’t even imagine how I would feel if one of my pets “disappeared” at any animal shelter, much less at one that’s notorious for its corruption and ties to dogfighting. My heart goes out to Ms. Henry.

    It’s worth noting that this post was written one day after a critical shelter reform bill was defeated in New York state by the lobbying efforts of the ASPCA. Despite the ASPCA’s wealth and influence, we won’t ever see them speaking up for pets like Nola, or pet-owners like Ms. Henry. Their energies have gone entirely toward preserving the power of shelter directors like James Rogers and his predecessors. As shameful as MAS’s violence and willful incompetence are, the deliberate silence of the big national organizations in the face of corruption and cruelty by animal shelters is every bit as disgraceful.

    Reply
  19. I forwarded this post to my MAS list, expressing my disgust. First Kapone, and now this. Of course, I don’t expect a reply, except that Mr. Rogers will consider my email incorrect and inflammatory. So, where is the ACO that picked the dogs up? Where is the paperwork? Where is the accountability? Utterly ridiculous and irresponsible. Really making strides, MAS, NOT!!!!! Where is the dog? This was the gist of my email to MAS. Then I asked, Comments? Anyone? Anything????????????????

    Reply
  20. I’m with others who have said it’s time to file suit. As much as we don’t think of our animals as property, they are under the law. If Memphis routinely lost or destroyed other forms of property, they would be held accountable. Since we’re talking about living, breathing, feeling creatures, it is even more important for a municipality to give a damn at least about the public they serve with taxpayer funds. I’m not sure what claims would be made but I agree it’s time to see if someone will step up and represent a group of folks personally affected (so they have standing to sue). It is possible that Tennessee has a claim notice statute (kind of like a mini statute of limitations but anyone who practices there would know that). If the people running this circus don’t give a damn about tears and outrage, perhaps they will pay a bit closer attention when we’re talking about matters related to their money and their liability coverage.

    Reply
  21. YUP.. a lawyer is needed… This has to stop!

    Reply
  22. I know that The Lexus Project usually deals with defending “death row” dogs, but this might be right up their alley. Any dog that ends up in MAS is a death row dog. Anyway, the website is: http://www.thelexusproject.org

    Reply
    • Corrie

       /  June 4, 2012

      Lexus project only works for the living, reccommends a criminal attorney for wrongful death .. I don’t know in th is case.. I just know I have contacted them for wrongful death and that is what they said. They are wonderful, but just cannot do every case.. :(
      I hope this poor lady finds her furbaby .. and that MAS gets shut down and restaffed

      Reply
  23. Barbara West

     /  June 1, 2012

    WHAT is it going to take to either shut this place down OR..better…get it into the hands of people who actually WANT to get animals back into the hands of their owners or into the hands of NEW owners???

    Reply
    • db

       /  June 1, 2012

      There have to be locals who have had enough and will challenge the powers that be. Right now, it’s not happening (to my knowledge) and Nolas and Kapones continue to “go missing”. At least those dogs have someone who was looking for them. How many others are there that we don’t even know about.
      I believe it’s going to take a lawsuit to change some minds and hearts.

      Reply
      • I dread to think how many Memphians look at the pound for their lost pet, don’t find him and give up – especially if the pet is chipped and they haven’t received any calls that MAS has found the animal. It would only be logical for people to assume MAS did not impound their pet.

      • You are absolutely correct. However, people know what a SNAFU MAS is and have little hope of finding their pets there. The employees still don’t care and neither does the interim administrator, Mr. Rogers. I think the largest word in his vocabulary is “inflammatory” when anyone besmirches MAS. So be it. Oh, and he DOES have access to all the security cameras and tapes, he pulls them up on his computer….his nice 28 inch computer screen, so, he doesn’t tell the truth either, shocking, I know.

      • We are trying very hard to get to MAS. There are several of us that are “thorns” in their side, me being one. I forward all these to all the people on my MAS list, along with asking for comments, answers, and accountability. Our entire government here is corrupt, along with MAS. It is very difficult to punish those who do not do their jobs. They get a slap on the wrist. Shameful, but true. In addition, I think the City of Memphis has every law firm here on retainer. It’s absolutely absurd, I know, but we are working on it.

  24. db

     /  June 2, 2012

    What do you think it will take to change things? Will a lawsuit (with a lawyer who is willing to take the city on) make a difference?
    As far as Rogers, well, I’m not surprised. Hardly expected the mayor to select someone who would actually clean things up.

    Reply
  25. all2real

     /  June 2, 2012

    It’s not the impounding Officer’s fault….even if he allegedly made a clerical error on the intake forms…the big question is where is the dog?… MAS implemented the taking of pictures @intake only after Kapone went missing…so the picture is proof that Nola made it to to the shelter just like Kapone…but MAS and the City are not taking resposibility for what is really happening to tje dogs once they are placed in kennels….They are either euthanized, adopted, released for foster, or removed by someone…and in most cases the powers that be know exactly what has happened…they look for scapegoats because officers, techs, or clerks don’t have the authority to determine outcomes….they can only be determined by administrative staff…thus the avoidance and manipulation.. every animal that leaves the shelter…outside of those that are stolen by citizens…should have an outcome in MASs database…

    Reply
  26. G. Gordon

     /  June 3, 2012

    Nola was impounded by a Shelby County animal officer, not a MAS officer. The clerical error was made by a MAS clerk, not the County impounding officer.

    Reply
    • Victoria

       /  June 3, 2012

      It really doesn’t matter at this point who brought in or impounded my Nola. What does matter is that her intake process was improperly handed by some obvious incompetent individual(s) and when the mistake was pointed out no one cared to make one simple correction! So, let’s focus on where Nola is since no one can answer that question!

      Reply
      • I agree..

      • all2real

         /  June 3, 2012

        I agree with you totally…the error should have been corrected…especially since it was caught…however the error left uncorrected doesn’t excuse the fact that administration can’t tell you what happened to Nola…combing the records for an error is shining the light in a tangent area….administration should be able to tell you why she was there and now is not…classic MAS avoidance and searching for a scapegoat instead of adressing the real issue…Where is Nola?….I hope your companion finds her way home soon….

  27. Actually there has been a few court cases, one I know in CA that took the loss of a pet pass the mark of just property. They affirmed an intrensic value to the loss of a family member.
    Can’t remember which site-may have been “truth about pet food” or a Nathan or Best Friends Blog.
    I don’t know if he would take this, but you can try Merritt Clifton at Animal People. Perhaps an ad in that paper. Merritt is – if he decides to take it on an excellent investigative reported. And he will call MAS with some tough questions.
    http://www.angelpawsanimalfriends.org
    Please like our face book page!!

    Reply
  28. yah…maybe someone should call the dirtbags in MS who had Kapone???

    Reply
    • mikken

       /  June 4, 2012

      They fled in the night. They were never interviewed by police and never investigated. The police have no idea where they went or how Kapone came to be in their yard.

      Reply
  29. CAN’T WE GET LEGAL OR POLITICAL HELP TO CLOSE DOWN THIS HELL HOLE? ENOUGH IS ENOUGH AND IT JUST GOES ON! THIS IS AMERICA! WHY CAN’T WE FIX THIS ATROCITY?

    Reply
    • Well, this is Memphis, after all, and the powers that be like things to stay at the status quo. They don’t like change. And, of course, they don’t care either. That about sums it up.

      Reply
  30. Janet trussell

     /  July 1, 2012

    How can a public servant fail so miserably? In Arlington, TX a shelter “lost” 22 dogs in a five month period. WTF??? Lost??? My heart goes out to this owner.

    Reply
  1. Scary Yankee Chick | Know an animal lover in Memphis TN?

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