The Capacity to Care in Memphis

Memphis Animal Services (MAS) interim director James Rogers was appointed by Mayor Wharton in late February. In a recent speech to the rotary club, Mr. Rogers talked about his work to date at the pound:

“We’re looking at 100 days. Look at what’s happened in 100 days. What do you think it will look like in another 100 days? We’re on a positive trend. And we will continue to march forward in terms of excellence.”

Let’s look at President Mr. Rogers’ march toward excellence.  The MAS kill rate for March was 61%; April was 58%; May was 68%. During his first three full months as interim director, Mr. Rogers has overseen the killing of approximately 62% of the pets he is paid to protect.

Bear in mind that all this needless killing has occurred while cages at the pound sit empty. At the last public meeting on June 13, Mr. Rogers told concerned advocates that the pound’s capacity is 555 animals but due to a shortage of employees, the capacity to care is 356 animals. He said he is down 3 technicians.  Gee, if only the 3 staffers indicted on animal cruelty were still on the job, the pound could “care” for more pets.

I presume the city of Memphis is suffering the same economic woes as the rest of the nation and is bursting at the seams with skilled people desperate for jobs. Is the city really contending that no one in Memphis wants a union job with city benefits that starts immediately?

This morning there are only 265 animals listed on the MAS PetHarbor site.  Of those, there are 14 adoptable cats, 14 adoptable dogs (although just 11 have photos) and 1 raccoon.  MAS has the ability to easily update records on every animal in its care in real time via its Chameleon software’s interface with PetHarbor.  Why are there only 265 pets listed?

Even if we were to buy into the idea (which I don’t) that no one in Memphis wants a job at MAS, why isn’t the pound at least caring for the 356 pets for whom Mr. Rogers says he has sufficient staff?  What about the free labor provided by inmates at the pound – doesn’t that increase the capacity to care?  Why is MAS turning away volunteers during this crisis?

Shelter pets are being killed in Memphis while cages sit empty, MAS jobs remain vacant and offers of volunteer help are, at best, ignored.  Where is the accountability?  Is this excellence?

Adoptable dog #A242597 at the Memphis pound, as pictured on PetHarbor. The image of the taut leash and anxious expression on this poor dog as he tries to escape into the corner, was dated 1-3-2007 by the impounding ACO before posting. Excellence.

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16 Comments

  1. mikken

     /  June 27, 2012

    We have seen MAS’s limited “capacity to care”, but to allow animals to die simply because you haven’t hired enough staff is inexcusable.

    Reply
  2. mikken

     /  June 27, 2012

    And how is it even possible that Mr. Rogers has not mandated that all cameras will have correct date/time in them? He KNOWS that proper documentation is vital and has said that there will be accountability, yet we see this one camera CONTINUES to have the wrong date, confusing potential adopters, owners of lost pets, and possibly a jury who may have to rule on an abuse case.

    Another simple little thing, not done.

    Reply
  3. Lajuana

     /  June 27, 2012

    And we question daily, “Wow, I wonder what happened to make him/her lose it???” Reading this shows me why people go postal!!

    Reply
  4. Debbie Tucker-Smith

     /  June 27, 2012

    Quote: ‘Gee, if only the 3 staffers indicted on animal cruelty were still on the job, the pound could “care” for more pets.’

    OMG, you are so good!! Perfect.

    Reply
  5. Sec1863

     /  June 27, 2012

    What I really don’t understand is why is it that WE see how messed up this is, yet the media, the city government, most citizens just don’t get it….. MAS kills for space, yet many, many kennels sit empty. I guess you have to care to want to save lives… Color me disgusted!!!

    Reply
  6. Jessica C

     /  June 28, 2012

    *Sigh* I had such high hopes for Mr. Rogers, too. Should’ve known better really.

    And a racoon? Really? Interesting.

    Reply
    • I think that’s wrong… a raccoon is wildlife and should not be in the shelter, even if it was someones pet.

      Reply
      • Jessica C

         /  June 28, 2012

        I could understand in an animal-control kind of way to make sure it’s not passing along rabies or something, but if they did that and he is fine, then he should be released, especially considering this is MAS and we all know where the animals end up.

      • That animal should not be at the shelter. I say this because .. one day I went to my local shelter and the director was feeding a litter of hairless baby squirrels.. while crying about the fact she didn’t have any help to perform her duties at the shelter.. like cleaning and feeding. I told her she needed to call Kindra at the wildlife rehab, in Durham.. she got mad at me and told me that taking care of the babies was her only escape from her job.. DUH.. it’s is her job to do her job.. she was wasting time .. the companion animals were suffering. NC does have a place to take in wildlife.

      • Jessica C

         /  June 28, 2012

        Oh yeah I completely agree with that, that if there was somewhere else to take them, then that’s where they should go. I was just referring to the initial quarantine time, because MAS is the animal control place too right? Not sure. But after that, the animal should not be there.

  7. I have applied for every single opening at the shelter (pound) for an ACO position and get turned down every time. I know why, but if I said so, it would be “inaccurate and inflammatory” as Mr. Rogers likes to say. I was at the last meeting for MAS, but the positions have not been posted yet. Oh well

    Reply
    • mikken

       /  June 28, 2012

      And as long as those positions remain unfilled, pets will be killed for “space”, even with almost 200 empty cages/kennels.

      Reply
      • Exactly. Let me go check the website, the city posts every Wednesday. I’ll apply for all of them just to see how quick they send me a reject letter.

  8. all2real

     /  June 29, 2012

    Also in his presentation…he stated that when he took over as director there were 555 missing animals…and that he has accounted.for all but 35….Really Rogers?….If you are so proud of what you have done….Why pad the numbers and tell deliberate lies…smh…Some people will tell a lie when the truth sounds better….Pathological maybe?….Sound like Pepper and Rogers have taken a page from the same book….

    Reply
  9. Trisha McIntyre

     /  June 29, 2012

    This is my opinion but should be more than obvious that Mr. Rogers (how ironic that his surname is that of one of the late most beloved TV characters in childhood memory) is a paid “assassin” to put it bluntly. He was appointed byt the Mayor of Memphis should indicate, in my opinion, the truth, MAS Mr. Rogers was bought and paid for to commit these crimes against innocent healthy, savable & treatable animals by the governing bodies associated with Memphis, even the State of Tennessee. For shame on him, all who work under him and for all he answers to, meaning the mayor, etc. who is more than likely in on these drastic killings. All the writing and pleading to these hard-hearted killers will not change anything, but fighting them all on different levels of force (and there are such that can put a stop to these criminal acts above the political peons in TN & Memphis) can stop this devastation and end some political careers as is the only correct step to ending this tyranny and saving all animals brought into MAS…

    Famous political saying holds here as in anything politically affiliated (which this is), “It is not what you know but who you know”!

    Reply

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