Bernalillo Co Stray Pets Left in the Cold in Matthew Pepper’s Building

Bernalillo County Animal Control, headed by Matthew Pepper, has an agreement with the city of Albuquerque to house stray pets:

The contract allows the County to drop off animals it collects at one of the two city shelters on any day of the week.

Upon intake, the city photographs the pet, creates a record for him, scans for a microchip, vaccinates and treats any veterinary needs.  The director says they would never deny a space to a pet from the county for any reason.

But the county is housing some stray pets at its administrative building – an old fire station.  Some dogs are being kept in outdoor pens with no protection from the elements and others are being housed in what appear to be unheated fire truck bays in small wire crates with wood shavings.  A local TV news crew visited the administrative building after receiving photos of the dogs living there:

[...] 4 On Your Side obtained photographs of dogs inside the county office building that showed obvious signs of medical distress. One photo showed a newborn puppy with several scratches on its face. Another showed a lactating female dog that had either just given birth to a litter or was soon about to.

The reporter states the newborn puppy died.

In an interview, Pepper stated he couldn’t remember those two animals being there, but stated there had been turnover among his staff and any issues in the past are now corrected.

Feeling reassured?  Me neither.  He can’t remember a tiny puppy who died in his building or a mama dog who needed vet care but it’s all good.

“The only reasons animals would come here would be for a couple of reasons,” Pepper said. “It would be if we had a likely owner for an animal or if we have a rescue partner willing to place an animal in a permanent home.”

How can any county animals be placed with anyone without being vaccinated, seen by a vet, posted online and held for a period so the owner, if any, can reclaim?  Are there even records of the animals being kept at this administrative facility?  The guy in charge doesn’t seem to remember at least 2 of the recent animals – does he know what happened to any of them?  How does an owner find a lost Bernalillo Co pet who is not at the shelter, not listed online, and may not be remembered by anyone?  This makes no sense to me.  On top of which, I imagine Bernalillo Co ACOs would issue a citation to anyone found housing unvaccinated dogs they do not own in sub-standard conditions.  But I guess, you know – turnover and stuff.  Everything’s fine.

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57 Comments

  1. Lisa in OH

     /  November 26, 2012

    is this THE Matthew Pepper? What is this, his third position, where there have been issues with humane care?

    Reply
  2. FrustratedACO

     /  November 26, 2012

    Pepper knows alot of those pets belong to county residents. He purposefully keeps ‘the nicer ones’ to give away. Tampering with evidence much……

    Reply
  3. About what I’d expect from pepper . . .

    Reply
  4. Arlene

     /  November 26, 2012

    Personally I would like to see Matthew Pepper having to reside in a stall in the firehouse for a period of time in one of those crates. Then he should be moved to an outside kennel with no protection to the elements….you know….so he could be seen by the public so they would know he is there.

    He certainly hasn’t learned anything from the time he was at MAS! Shame on him.

    Reply
  5. you can bet this is just the tip of the iceberg since Pepper’s is involved

    Reply
  6. mikken

     /  November 26, 2012

    Once again Matt Pepper has “staff issues” and that’s the supposed reason for the mistreatment of animals on his watch. Again. And again.

    When oh when will SOMEONE realize that the man’s gleaming resume of qualifications does not match his dismal performance in animal care? When will SOMEONE realize that he has ZERO leadership skills and continues to be completely feckless in a shelter environment?

    Reply
    • FrustratedACO

       /  November 26, 2012

      Couldn’t have said it any better! That’s exactly the problem! He covers up for ‘his boys’ and disciplines/fires anyone that sheds light on his many wrongdoings

      Reply
  7. Don’t try to cover up your mistakes. This is a disgrace and I’m ashamed this happened in my county!

    Reply
  8. Ona

     /  November 26, 2012

    Why would Bernalillo Co hire him in the first place? While at the Memphis shelter, he housed animals outside with little protection from the elements, he would not use the software already in place to post animals on-line so that owners could find their pets, and he limited the number of animals potential adopters could have access to. Staff did what they wanted under his direction and he always had an excuse for everything. If abuse was caught on the webcam, he would cover by saying it was only a snapshot of time. For example: Frank Lightfoot carrying a dog like a suitcase.

    Reply
  9. Harry Reif

     /  November 26, 2012

    Does anyone have information about what the temp. should be to bring dogs inside? The Ky statutes just says that dogs and cats should be in a protected heat controlled environment. Our shelter in Taylor County had dogs outside in 20 degree temp. The county attorney said they had a policy to take dogs inside when the temp was 20 degrees or less. Just so happened that the projected temp for C’ville was 21 that night. We had the State Troopers check on it but they went with the county attorney’s statement because Ky has no set temp. Can anyone help us. The Taylor County SPCA is trying to get this shelter in shape but we are being met with total resistance from County Government.

    Reply
    • The minimum temperature is going to vary based on things like breed, age, and health status. Do these dogs have weatherproof dog houses with warm bedding inside?

      On Mon, Nov 26, 2012 at 12:06 PM, YesBiscuit!

      Reply
      • Harry Reif

         /  November 27, 2012

        The dogs have plastic igloos with nothing inside them.

      • A bare plastic igloo may be sufficient protection for healthy, adult, coated dogs in 20 degree temps but it won’t do for all dogs. Are these dogs buddied up so they have each other to help keep them warm?

      • There should at least be a thick layer of straw they can burrow into – if it would be cold for humans to stay out in, then it’s too cold for pets. It really shouldn’t take a law or statute – just someone who cares for animals. Why does everything have to be so damn complicated?

      • Harry Reif

         /  November 28, 2012

        The dogs have nothing in the houses and many are in there by themselves. Including puppies. All water bowles were frozen this morning.

      • What does the director say when pups freeze to death during the night (I am assuming that happens)?

      • Harry Reif

         /  November 28, 2012

        Dogs die out there some for no apparent reason. Just listed as “Died” and are disposed of quickly.

      • FOIA the records and document the conditions. Evidence is needed.

  10. MOre Matthew Pepper regurgitation, er I meant reflux, oh damn! I meant redux, yea, I’m sure that’s what I meant.

    Reply
  11. FrustratedACO

     /  November 26, 2012

    Right after this story was aired, he had a staff meeting with all the officers and threatened to fire anyone leaking information to the press about what goes on at Bernalillo Animal Control. The sad thing is, he has already fired officers that he accused of leaking information when the first KOB story was aired. He acts like he is aboventhe ordinances they are supposed to enforce. Sad state when the people that are supposed to protect the animals is doing the most harm.

    Reply
  12. Andi

     /  November 26, 2012

    That guy used to run the Memphis Animal Shelter in Memphis, Tn . This story sounds very familiar. You should investigate some of the crazy things that happened when he was here. Just FYI.

    Reply
    • KateH

       /  November 27, 2012

      Andi, you’re new, so I’m only going to say this: Archives, read ‘em.

      Reply
  13. He needs to be fired!

    Reply
  14. New Mexico Pets Alive!

     /  November 26, 2012

    We are asking everyone in the county to contact Bernalillo County Commissioners and ask them to relieve Matthew Pepper of his duties as Director of Bernalillo County Animal Care Services. See top post at https://www.facebook.com/NewMexicoPetsALIVE

    Reply
    • Jen

       /  November 26, 2012

      Unfortunately, this sort of thing happens all the time (one shelter’s trash is another shelter’s new-hire). That does NOT make this situation accetable. We need compassion. We need Matthew Pepper OUT.

      Reply
  15. KateH

     /  November 27, 2012

    Why can’t this asshole get a job at McDonald’s already?!?! Of course, they might actually have sensible hiring practices that would weed his sorry ass out.

    Oh, and I apologize to all the wonderful donkeys out there for the slur on your nickname.

    Reply
  16. Gerry

     /  November 27, 2012

    I’m still checking into this, but thus far I don’t see much more than people throwing stones and yelling here. Yes, some ACOs were fired and are yelling. But local rescues are telling me the bad ones are now gone, and those remaining are working with them to get dogs off of chains and help them. Some rescues are there several times each week, with pictures on facebook of ACOs working with rescuers. That dogs are held there only briefly, to try and get them into rescues INSTEAD of the Albuquerque city shelter.

    Yes, ABQ will take all of them, but some WILL be killed. While ABQ is improving, they have a long ways to go and I’ve pulled several dogs off their kill list for rehab and adoption in the last few months. What the ABQ director Barbara Bruin said is correct and she’s been behind many good improvements at ABQ, but that news article omitted quite a bit of detail and made their questions one-sided.

    So how bad is it here? I hear reporters saying one thing, but rescues saying something else. How bad are those issues I’m reading here? I can walk into a large no-kill shelter and still find some of them. Until I get there to see directly I can’t be sure. Yes, NM PetsAlive is one of those throwing stones, but they have little credibility with any of the established shelter/rescues here, and no expertise that I can find.

    How can one deny such-and-such of a report? In the past I’ve heard the same reports from two places, then on visiting them I found one really awful, but the other having some mild issues they were correcting. People will be people. Here, the one’s I’m relying on would make Shirley look like an apologist since she doesn’t carry a bolt cutter in her back pocket.

    Apparently, I’m going to have to make a visit there to find out any more.

    Reply
  17. Gerry

     /  November 27, 2012

    Curiously, after what they said here and elsewhere about Bernalillo Co., I find the following on the NM PetsAlive facebook page, posted just 3 days ago:

    “Many of you know that since the Albuquerque city shelter system does not currently have adequate quarantine space to meet the needs of the number of animals coming into their system, we are working very hard to raise enough funds to open a
    space to provide adequate quarantine and treatment services for the many animals with very treatable infectious diseases in the Albuquerque city shelter who are not making it out alive and into a loving home.”

    So, they seem to be throwing stones in every direction, including contradicting the news article they were supporting.

    Reply
    • Gerry,

      I’m not sure I’m following you here but it appears as if you may be looking for a forum in which to air grievances you have with NM Pets Alive. This is not that forum.

      Reply
      • Gerry

         /  November 27, 2012

        I used them only as an example of too many stones being thrown in every direction. That you can’t argue that those animals should be moved to ABQ to get medical care, and in the next breath say that ABQ cannot supply adequate medical care.

        But enough of them. I’m more interested in seeing Bernalillo so I’ll see what response I get there.

  18. montoyaj1

     /  November 29, 2012

    It doesn’t change the fact that many of these animals BELONG to someone and these people are never given the chance to find their pet as they aren’t registered or posted as even being found or listed as missing! They are in essence ‘stealing’ pets from people to give them to others. The animals are being kept in cages with other pets. No veterinary care, no immunizations, there is no medically trained staff to even evaluate them for adoption purposes.

    Reply
    • Gerry

       /  November 30, 2012

      No, it can’t change facts that do not exist.

      Pets with no ID either go directly to ABQ and are immediately posted there by ABQ or are held for rescues and posted by both BCACS and the rescue. Check the web sites. They can’t be “stealing” as they don’t adopt animals. No vet care as most are they less than a day as this is only a way-station not a shelter. Swinging by BCACS this afternoon on the way back from the ABQ shelter, the only animal I found there was a turtle. They don’t evaluate for adoption as they do NOT do adoptions. Who said animals are in cages with other pets? I’m not even sure what that means here.

      Don’t believe me? Check with them directly, or the City of Albuquerque, or any of the local rescues. Go look at the logs there and the following logs in Albuquerque that verify them. Try looking at facts instead of making them up.

      Reply
  19. Randy

     /  December 3, 2012

    What he has done thereas far as animals and personnel go is wrong. The truth will come out and he will be out of a job. He hasn’t lasted for more than 18 months at all his prior jobs either. The guy is a lying idiot who cant manage his own family much less a department.

    Reply
  20. Oh Randy, montoyaj1 and FrustratedACO, all of whom share the same registered gravitar and throw out these horrible accusations, perhaps you (single you, of course) will feel better to know that several weeks of research has uncovered what is really happening in Bernalillo Country.

    https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B2fWk1Zm9ARERFVjTHA2bVhYdW8

    Reply
  21. FrustratedACO

     /  December 11, 2012

    So, my guess is you weren’t there when officers tried to back a trailer directly next to a corral to load a deathly injured horse but Matt Pepper ordered them to park much further away so news reporters could get footage of the poor horse painfully limping his way much further than was needed. THAT is the tip of the iceberg and his true colors will surely come to light.

    Reply
    • Hardly a guess at my not being there, really. Although I do know another person who happened to be there.

      And for a horse issue I’d contact Animal Protection of NM.

      http://www.apnm.org/

      Around since 1979, they are a pure animal advocate and have been very active in helping horses through their Equine Protection Program.

      But wait a minute here…Animal Protection recently praised BCACS and thanked Matthew Pepper for his efforts. Oh my, perhaps we have a conspiracy here. Is that the truth which is coming out?

      Reply
      • FrustratedACO

         /  December 12, 2012

        Hmmmm. Seems odd you only care to address my comments and blind yourself to the DOZENS of negative comments all over this blog….
        l, by far am not the only one who sees a pattern with questionable actions under Peppers direction.

      • While there are many documented issues from MAS in Memphis, nothing there has changed since he left. In the document I posted, I did address the recent “staff issues” mentioned above here. The items which were reported by KOB News were addressed in detail, with some items having a paper trail that ran through several organizations. Other items above here are simply conclusions apparently based only on conditions at MAS.

        You stated that Pepper was stealing pets, gave no veterinary care, etc. You gave no basis for the former, and I saw paper trails that disputed the latter, which was also confirmed by a local rescue. You stated he gives no immunizations and has no medical staff, yet this is a way-station and not a shelter so that makes no sense at all. Animals not reclaimed or taken by a rescue go to the ABQ city shelter under contract.

        I know many of the rescues, shelters, and ACOs in several counties here and have access to many of their records, yet none of them see your issues. Are you claiming to still be working at BCACS? In all of this, you appear to be the sole person making specific allegations on BCACS yet some appear non-sensible and others without any factual basis or proof.

        Part of fighting against animal abuse is sometimes defending organizations which are helping the animals. If you have any sensible and factual allegations then please make them, and I’ll see where they lead.

      • FrustratedACO

         /  December 12, 2012

        My issues are more deep rooted. Its not just out of concern for animals but for his mistreatment of human beings. These ‘staff issues’ you speak of consist of firing five Hispanic officers for extremely minor infractions. The same infractions that have been made by nonhispanics go unaddressed. Seems that if you have zero qualifications and are either white/homosexual, you are offered a job. If you are hellbent on wanting facts, look into MORE than one FEDERAL EEOC investigations that are being conducted. Oh, and this ‘paper trail’ Pepper offered on the whereabouts of the animals from the KOB story were magically generated after the fact by an employee/volunteer from a rescue. This is the last time I comment as it seems you, out there on Pumice drive, have gotten bored tinkering with your little radio and have been brainwashed by Pepper and his white/gay brown nosers.

      • I have not looked at or spoken about your human issues, which were not previously mentioned and may perhaps be your primary motivation in all of this. My focus (and this blog) was entirely on the animals and my responses based on the nature and content of your allegations concerning the animals.

        Why any animal rescue would conspire with Pepper to effectively harm animals is beyond me, nor did the whole paper trail come from BCACS, as I noted.

        As your last sentence is in the manner of a personal attack (after a google search), it’s certainly time to end this and give other readers a break.

  22. Debbie Tucker-Smith

     /  August 12, 2014

    Geez, and then M Pepper gets appointed to the board of directors for the National Animal Control Association. What do these incompetents do, just go around appointing each other for the ‘resume’??? Cripes. http://www.bernco.gov/news/189080/

    Reply
    • Debbie, you missed that this is Pepper’s 2nd time on that board. It’s now over a year since my last post about him, and all of the local rescues still support him and are grateful for his help. Trying asking them directly, as they’re the people working in the trenches.

      Reply
  23. As to the KOB reporter, Chris Ramirez, who wrote the article “exposing” Matt Pepper and BCACS, he was sent this for comment:

    https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B2fWk1Zm9ARERFVjTHA2bVhYdW8

    His response?
    “Thank you for sending us this email. I have never seen such an in-depth analysis of my reports like this, you certainly spent a lot of time working on this. ”

    Yes, I call it Journalism and factual reporting. He did not attempt to dispute any of my findings, nor offer any additional comments. Also, he stopped writing about BCACS and Matt Pepper.

    Reply
  24. montoyaj1

     /  August 12, 2014

    Well, just as I predicted, Matt pepper was forced to resign after multiple lawsuits, complaints and federal EEOC investigation findings. His lies and ineptitude finally caught up to him… thankfully. But not after costing the county hundreds of thousands in lawsuits. Good riddance.

    Reply
    • Please give a reference to ANY of those lawsuits, complaints (other than from you), and any EEOC findings. Yes, he did resign from Memphis, after the county refused to improve conditions at the animal shelter there. That is public knowledge. I have referenced other public and municipal records in my report. You (under several names) have made many accusations, some of them downright silly, but none with any documentation or proof. In the past year, together with the sheriff’s office and local rescues, Matt Pepper has been found responsible for saving the lives of many abused dogs.

      Reply
      • montoyaj1

         /  August 12, 2014

        Just wait for it. It will be made public shortly and you will be eating your words… actually, I doubt you will. You seem to have some unusual affinity for the loser…

      • Not eating any words here. I just checked and he was lured away to Michigan, by an offer he couldn’t refuse. The local rescues are upset, but they know there’s a very large number of animals waiting for his help. They haven’t picked his replacement as yet, except that we know it won’t be you.

  25. montoyaj1

     /  August 12, 2014

    You want proof? Here’s a filing number for ya, not that it’ll change your mind, nor does it matter if it does. Whether he leaves makes no difference. The damage was done and the county will have to pay out a huge amount on account of his questionable judgment as a director…an ‘offer he couldn’t refuse’…HA! CV-201402748

    Reply
    • You two should continue your discussion elsewhere.

      Reply
      • Shirley, you were the one who started all this, and consistently refused to even discuss any information that contradicted your opinion, some of which was sent to you for preview before publishing, but you had nothing to say. And you know this guy (with 3 names) has made wild and often silly accusations, after being fired from being an ACO, yet you entertain that. At least that reporter shut up after the facts were thrown in his face. The only thing you did was block me from later posts on your blog. So goodbye to both of you; I have animals to save.

      • Apparently my blocking skills need work. Anyhoo, don’t trip on your cape on the way out.

  26. db

     /  August 13, 2014

    Where in Michigan is this man going?

    Reply
  27. montoyaj1

     /  August 13, 2014

    😂 well played……

    Reply
  28. jen

     /  August 14, 2014

    He is coming to Detroit and after reading all remarks here…..I am very concerned. We have a huge problem with strays here as I am sure many in animal welfare are already aware and one of if not the worst AC in the country. Pepper is slated to run Michigan Humane Society which is a non profit but the rumor is that MHS will be taking over DAC in the next couple of years once their new facility is built

    Reply
  29. jen

     /  August 14, 2014

    We have been fighting hard here to build a better strong system for the animals of Detroit (MHS has 3 locations, 1 in Detroit and 2 in the suburbs) and need a strong progressive leader at the helm of MHS.

    Reply
  30. db

     /  August 14, 2014

    This is terrible news for the animals of the Detroit area. DAC is a horrible, killing place and now we have Pepper coming to MHS. Jen, if you want to message me (I’m also in the central Michigan area and very concerned about this) I would love to hear who you are with and what you are doing. I know there are some really good rescues who are doing amazing things for the animals of Detroit. MHS already has a high kill rate (although their glossy PR would have you believe otherwise) and this is not going to get any better under Pepper.

    Reply

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