Nola’s Killing at MAS: Firing One Person is Not Nearly Enough

Nola was not killed by mistake, nor was it an accident.  She was intentionally killed after a series of negligent acts caused her to be targeted for killing by a system designed to arbitrarily snuff out the lives of healthy/treatable animals en masse.  Put another way, Nola entered a pet slaughterhouse and was processed.  Then the whole thing was covered up until a persistent owner and media attention forced the issue.

I’m glad supervisor Chelton Beamon has been fired since his failure to do his job and help owner Victoria Henry find out what happened to her dog is unacceptable.  However, WREG reports:

The city states Beamon was fired after a result of incidents stemming from before Nola’s euthanasia.

Regardless of the reasons behind the termination, clearly Mr. Beamon played a key role in this epic failure to shelter a lost pet.  I want to outline some of the other failures in this case which are symptomatic of systemic rot.

If MAS had put a PetHarbor link on its website alerting owners to “click here to search for your lost pet”, Ms. Henry might have spotted Nola, despite the ridiculous identification photo taken by the impounding officer.  There is no excuse for not providing the link.  How is anyone supposed to know about the PetHarbor listings?

MAS listing from PetHarbor.com which has since been removed from the website. Click to enlarge.

If the volunteer who reportedly escorted Ms. Henry through the pound on her initial search for Nola would have shown her (or found someone with the ability to show her) every dog in the place, Nola might have been found.  This is a matter of common sense – someone looking for their lost dog needs to see all the dogs in the pound, not just a small portion.

Any pound committed to lifesaving has standard protocols in place designed to get lost pets back home.  In addition to alerting owners on the pound’s website that there are listings of all impounds online and showing them every animal in the pound when they come to search for their lost pet, stray animals must be scanned for microchips – preferably in the field and upon arrival at the facility.  Had this been done when Nola was picked up with her buddy Uno, Uno’s chip would have been detected and the information would have led directly to Ms. Henry.

The intake date on Nola was incorrectly entered as 30 days prior to the actual date.  While that may have been a mistake, it was one which should have been corrected as soon as the clerk noticed it and pointed it out to the officer.  The date was never corrected.  A culture of apathy.

Nola was incorrectly listed in the records system as a Pitbull.  While this may have been a mistake, misidentifying breeds is a long term problem at MAS which has not been corrected.  Breed identification is important in order to help save pets’ lives.  Further, MAS does not adopt out many Pitbulls by their own admission, but rather targets them for killing.  And there has been a rumor circulating in recent months that dogs are being arbitrarily selected for killing after they hit the 30 day mark at MAS, regardless of their health, temperament or whether they’ve even been offered for adoption or rescue.

The “Friends” of MAS never posted Nola’s picture on its Facebook page nor did they ask anyone to be on the lookout for her.  Were the “Friends” attempting to keep Nola’s story quiet because a vol had negligently shown Ms. Henry only a small portion of dogs when she was searching for Nola on May 4?  Did the “Friends” know that Nola was already dead and were trying to aid in the cover up?

There seems to me to be no reason to believe Chelton Beamon was the only person who acted negligently and contributed to the killing of Nola and subsequent cover up.  He should not be the only person fired.  And the problem is not limited to corrupt individuals.  MAS is based upon a morally bankrupt system designed around pet killing where dereliction, deception and death are the norm.  Where does the buck stop at MAS?  Will there ever be justice for Nola?

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30 Comments

  1. I think James Rogers has proven he’s not up to the task of changing a damn thing at MAS.

    Reply
    • Clarice

       /  June 14, 2012

      Mr. Rogers is in over his head. He may be a whiz in the corporate world, but now he has to deal with the lives of sentient beings. That’s a whole lot different than moving paper around and spinning the facts.

      Reply
    • Patti

       /  June 14, 2012

      Clearly no one is up for the task of changing a damn thing at MAS until the entire employee staff is scrutinized more carefully and new staff members are hired to replace the ones who cannot seem to take a picture, post correctly, provide a link for lost pets on petharbor.com, or know the variety of breeds to identify them correctly. MAS is a bumfungled up mess and it is sad and maddening to continually hear these kinds of stores. Nola didn’t have a chance. Someone was lazy, didn’t change the intake date even after it was pointed out, someone looked at Nola and said “pit bull”, and then someone ended her life throwing her into the back of a dump truck with a pile of other dogs to be eliminated. MAS is a disgrace and I do not understand why MAS isn’t getting it?? We are sick and tired of this. First change needed is the name. Make it a “shelter” for animals. Memphis Animal Services is a death trap.

      Reply
  2. db

     /  June 14, 2012

    I just keep wondering what it will take to make a difference at MAS? What more awfulness has to happen before things are really changed? Haven’t enough dogs, cats, puppies and kittens been killed/mistreated/abused yet? WHAT WILL IT TAKE FOR MAS TO BECOME A SHELTER INSTEAD OF A KILLING FACTORY???

    Reply
    • Very simple: people who care!

      Reply
      • db

         /  June 14, 2012

        I know that’s the answer – but how do we find them? How do we get them into a position where they can make a difference? The corruption goes all the way to the top. I’m so frustrated to simply read about all this going on and nothing changes – NOTHING! I live in a state far away and do what I can locally, but what can I do, we do, to facilitate change in these hellholes that torture and kill animals without a second thought?

  3. alice in LALA land

     /  June 14, 2012

    one down so many more to go…

    Reply
  4. It’s great that Beamon is out of there. His name has come up too many times on cruelty issues involving the dogs that are unfortunate enough to end up in MAS. And while I don’t live in Memphis, and have no personal knowledge of activities of the “Friends” of MAS, from what I’ve read and experienced myself when I’ve asked questions about certain dogs, they are not friends of the animals at MAS. Until the people of Memphis say “no more” dogs and cats will continue to die at MAS for no reason other than that it is a killing factory.

    Reply
  5. G. Gordon

     /  June 14, 2012

    I do not believe the termination of Mr. Beamon had much to do with the death of Nola. He was terminated for incidents that happened before Nola, according to Mr. Rogers. I think his termination has more to do with the hiring of a new kennel manager at MAS. Now that another supervisor is in place, they were free to terminate Beamon. I think the timing of Beamon’s termination was planned once the Nola story broke based on the public perception of his guilt in Nola’s death.
    In other words, Beamon was going to be fired anyway. Now it just looks as if he were fired because of this.
    I am glad he is gone, but don’t be fooled into patting Rogers or the City for firing him for Nola’s death.

    Reply
    • Kinda like when video clips of MAS staff abusing animals were posted on this blog and the public was outraged. Suddenly the mayor announces 3 employees were charged with cruelty but related to different abuse from an undercover police investigation. The timing caused many people to believe those seen abusing animals on video had been charged when in fact that was not at all the case.

      Reply
    • db

       /  June 14, 2012

      Unfortunately for the powers that be, we are onto them and are not fooled with their PR attempts. Unfortunately, too many others are.

      Reply
  6. The ONLY way compassion and accountability can be brought back into the sheltering world is for people like you (who have the courage and communication skills) to put the pressure on and expose the inhumane actions of those who hold the power of life and death over pets in their control.

    Reply
  7. Liz B.

     /  June 14, 2012

    This is so heartbreaking. Ms. Henry did everything right.. Microchipped her pets, had them inside her fenced yard (the fact that they dug out could happen to anyone), and went to MAS right away to get them back. What else can we as pet owners do to keep our pets safe? I am a resident of Shelby County and am afraid to leave my dogs in our yard for any length of time. I have a Great Dane who could easily open our gate if she chose to and a Jack Russell who could dig a hole to China. Even though they are both microchipped, tattooed, and wear tags, I catch myself calling them every few minutes to make sure they haven’t gotten out. Leaving them out when I’m not at home? Forget about it! It’s so sad that we fear the system that should give us comfort that our lost pets might come home.

    Reply
    • Amen Liz B – the shelter system should be there to take care of the pets – to provide that safe harbor for them. It is quite sad that pet owners have to fear the shelter system as much as they fear dog thieves or worse…wait, it seem that in some cases, they are the same…

      Reply
  8. Vicki

     /  June 14, 2012

    so my mood yesterday wasn’t so good — in light of “most of” the truth (–> *sarcasm*) finally being disclosed about Nola (which we all suspected). Since a Border Collie / Mix pup was listed for MAS on Pet Harbor when Nola’s story broke, I sent the link and a little blurb about MAS to some BC Rescues. I was met with INDIFFERENCE from “them” — they said “I am not even go to look Vicki. I can’t even keep up locally. Not going to be sad about far away.”
    Saving dogs from certain death at that hell hole should be a “village” effort, e.g., at least try to provide some resources of caring humans/rescues across this country that would step up and help!
    I second the comment about MAS mis-identifying dog breeds by whatever guess ‘du-jour’ they come up with. I have a soft spot for all dumped / lost animals, but in particular, border collies. My effort to help {www.PetHarbor.com pet:MPHS.A242071]
    won’t stop because other BC Rescues don’t want to “be sad” that far away but I’m thinking that at least trying to network a breed they are familiar with should be in line with with passion for the breed and humanitarian effort to save an innocent puppy’s life.
    Sorry to vent – but I was pretty upset. Thanks YesBiscuit for ALL YOU DO and your forum for ‘speaking’ :)

    RE: http://www.petharbor.com/pet.asp?uaid=MPHS.A242071
    Friends — she is a must save !! this cute little F Border Collie / mix is in TN…Currently posted on Pet Harbor

    http://www.PetHarbor.com pet:MPHS.A242071
    http://www.petharbor.com
    I am a female, black German Shepherd Dog mix.
    Like · · Share

    Reply
    • InTheTrenches

       /  June 14, 2012

      Vicki, how long have you been doing rescue. Not crossposting, not asking rescues for help – actually doing rescue yourself?

      How many dogs in your local county pounds have you had to walk away from, knowing for sure they were going to die (and often by gassing or heartstick)? You couldn’t take them because you don’t have any foster space, or you couldn’t take them because you don’t even have enough money to feed your current fosters the rest of the month because you just had a $835 emergency vet bill. (And the dog died, anyway.) And time for networking….. when was the last time you spent 10 hours on the road doing home visits, an adoption, pet food shopping, and then had to come home and spend another 4 hours taking care of your own and foster dogs, 2 hours answering rescue e-mails, and another couple hours of e-mails and phone calls trying to figure out how you can pull and transport (from an in-state but 6-hour away shelter) a dog that’s scheduled to die the next day. (That’s how I spent my day yesterday and no, I wasn’t able to figure out something for that dog. He’s dead now, and his sweet face is going to haunt my dreams for weeks.)

      How many e-mails do you get in a day begging you to take this dog, or that dog? E-mails from crossposters. E-mails from good samaritans who’ve just gotten a dog or cat off the street but don’t want to take it to the pound. Facebook “tags” from people who KNOW you don’t have room because you’ve told them so, repeatedly. (Really, do they think that helps? All it does is keep me awake during the precious 6 hours I set aside for sleep.) E-mails from owners who want to give up their pet because they’re moving, or the pet doesn’t like their new baby, or they’re just tired of it, or it doesn’t match their new furniture….

      Unless you can pull a dog yourself – or arrange to get it pulled – and arrange transport, and drum up some donations for vet care, please don’t add to the emotional burden of, or take precious time away from, people who are already giving all they’ve got (and more) to rescue by begging them to do something about a dog in a shelter half a country away. Getting angry with them for not caring enough to satisfy you isn’t helpful, isn’t productive, and doesn’t save any lives.

      Reply
  9. I think people would donate for a lawyer if Ms. Henry decided to file suit against MAS. At this point, I believe a lawsuit is warranted and it could also shine some light into the dark corner MAS hopes no one will see.

    Reply
    • Jessica C

       /  June 16, 2012

      Couldnt agree more. I would def. donate for that- and Im unemployed!

      Reply
  10. No, 1 person not enough at all in the deceitful KILLING of a beautiful furry baby, Nola. Don’t let her killing go in vain, defend her & all those animals being needlessly put to death at MAS. And allow this to be the deciding beginning of closing down pet slaughter houses all over this country for staters.

    Firing 1 person is like saying “we are not guilty for the horrors of putting animals to death”. NO, Aim to stand together nationwide and Have MAs’s doors shut down permanently. Take away their powers to kill altogether before more dogs die or before they Kill off the dogs and cats there now, before AMERICA’s ANIMAL LOVERS have their doors closed forever. This cannot be allowed to linger into a long red tape procedure, should not since they were contacted right away by Ms. Henry about Nola, so this is the case that may turn history & this aggressive togetherness can produce The Nola Act…

    We Cannot Get THis Done by Just blogging about it online; it needs to be acted upon immediately in Court, first by getting an injunction to Close the doors of MAS immediately after moving every animal there (& their records must show them all or some folks should go to jail) MUST be Moved to No-Kill Facilities or foster homes. AND I MEAN EVERY ANIMAL, even the ONES ON THEIR SO-CALLED UNADOPTABLE LISTS (that is just a ploy to say we can sell these to labs or vet hospitals for autopsies or live for painful experimentations out the backdoor)…

    NEVER LET ANYONE TELL YOU THIS OR THAT AMIMAL IS UNADOPTABLE OR A DANGEROUS ANIMAL BECUAE THEY WOULD BE LYING. ALL DOGS AND ARE TRAINABLE, SAVABLE & ABLE TO BE REHABBED; TIME TO PUT MONIES ON THAT THAN THE LETHAL DRUGS TO KILL!!!!

    Reply
  11. scarlett

     /  June 14, 2012

    Rogers said…after he was ‘baffled’ by the Nola case, that police were investigating. Can anyone find out what is happening with that investigation? If Beamon wasn’t fired because of Nola what was he fired for? He was a public employee, wouldn’t that be a public record? If people know the person that entered the wrong date was advised and didn’t fix it, why haven’t we heard about ‘her’ firing? The never-ending stream of questions…

    Reply
  12. And does the Mayor have anything to say about this “Opps”?

    Reply
  13. Well said, and forwarded to my MAS list. Don’t care how they feel anymore, they can’t hurt me, but I can certainly hurt them by keeping this alive. The vet on the MAS Board needs to go as well, he is rude, pompous and interrupted numerous people trying to speak last night. What a jerk.

    Reply
  14. mikken

     /  June 14, 2012

    I wonder if they’ll get someone qualified as operations manager or just another Matt Pepper-type feckless git? Bets, anyone?

    Reply
  15. Jennifer

     /  June 14, 2012

    I blame everyone at MAS and also Friends of the MAS! There are only 196 dogs listed as lost and only 26 adoptable dogs for MAS on PetHarbor. There are only 39 adoptable dogs listed on Petfinder for MAS with only 2 pitbulls. Where are the rest of the animals???

    It takes too much time on the Friends of the MAS Facebook page to figure out which dogs are still available and which ones have been adopted! All of the animals are in the Wall Photos and one has to read under each photo to see if the animal has been adopted. Please have an album for the still available animals and another album for the adopted ones!

    I would really like to help the MAS animals by sharing and posting but the entire system is a nightmare to work with!

    Since Shelby county stray animals also come to MAS, why aren’t the residents outside of Memphis upset about this shelter! Perhaps they do not know that their stray animals wind up at this killing place.

    Reply
    • Let me tell you, there are NO friends of MAS, even though they go under the guise of being so. Some of the volunteers use aliases and spy on those of us on YesBiscuit and are not to be trusted. The volunteers here now do not care about the animals….trust me on this. One was fired for outing deplorable conditions (how does one fire an UNPAID volunteer). Don’t count on friends of MAS for anything accurate, positive or helping save animals’ lives. It isn’t gonna happen….they are in bed with the CITY. Period.

      Reply
  16. Clarice

     /  June 15, 2012

    “There is just a need for more training and we are working on that,” says Wharton.

    http://wreg.com/2012/06/14/mayor-wharton-speaks-out-on-animal-shelter-problems/

    Reply
    • db

       /  June 15, 2012

      Added my .02 to the comments.

      Reply
    • mikken

       /  June 16, 2012

      That article indicates that Beamon was fired as a direct result of the Nola fiasco, but Rogers indicated that Beamon’s firing was a long time coming before that.

      I think Wharton enjoys rewriting history to suit his needs…

      Reply
  17. Well, SOP at MAS. But I have never made any headway re: a big demo at the pound, complete with media and arrests because, well, everyone says nobody cares enough. Yet these emails would belie that, no? I’m still in, in fact, I’ll be the first one to cross the line, but everyone has to follow through. Awe, I don’t know…it seems like a lost cause. While YB is a great outlet for sharing and venting, when is something going to BE DONE????????????????

    Reply

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