Memphis City Official Explains Why Killing Pets Even Faster is Going to Be So Awesome

Manhandled kitten, as posted by MAS on

Manhandled kitten, as posted by MAS on

If you are partial to flowery political speeches, you might like to read the city’s full explanation for why it’s retaliating against rescuers shortening hours at the Memphis pound and proposing to kill pets faster than ever.  But if you’d rather blind yourself with rusty pokers than read more bullshit excuses for killing animals, I’ve got you covered.  Here’s the takeaway:

The proposed change in hours will assist with the reduction of holding time of animals from 5 days to 3, saving 104 days annually in the cost of food, work hours (animal care techs and vets), housing, medical supplies, etc.

Shorter:  Dead pets don’t eat food and take up cage space.  The faster we can kill them, the less we have to do our jobs.

So there it is.  In case anyone was wondering where the city of Memphis stands on the issue of animal sheltering.  It’s a no.

(Thanks to everyone who sent me this link.)

Memphis Expands its Retaliation Against Rescuers and Owners of Lost Pets

Screengrab from PetHarbor of a lost dog, posted by the Memphis pound.

Screengrab from PetHarbor of a lost dog, posted by the Memphis pound.

Ever since Mayor Wharton put straight man James Rogers in charge of Memphis Animal Services, MAS has become lolMAS.  While MAS slaughters pets by the thousands, Rogers blathers on about being “on a positive trend” and continuing the “march forward in terms of excellence”.  When rescuers started doing his job for him by volunteering to photograph shelter pets and network them on social media, he retaliated with a ban on photography.  When his ban was recently overturned by the city, he had to dig deep into his bag of shenanigans:

Memphis Animal Services director James Rogers is shortening shelter hours.

Specifically, Rogers is eliminating the evening hours, which totally by coincidence happens to be when most people, including the rescuers who photograph pets, can get to the pound.  He’s also eliminated all morning hours – because hey, who wants to deal with the unwashed masses before noon?

He’s got explanations people, so please buckle in:

He says his goal is to increase adoptions.

Rogers calls it a budget cut, but he is not cutting the number of staff members or the hours MAS employees will work. The only thing changing is the hours the shelter is open to the public.

By being open 9 less hours a week for adoptions, including the hours most people can get there, he’s going to increase adoptions. And it’s going to save money in the budget, even though every single staffer will be paid exactly the same as they are now so no actual dollars will be saved. Also: increased adoptions!

As soon as Rogers announced the changes at a public meeting of the pound’s advisory board on Wednesday, people knew what was up:

“There were two evenings a week they were open late. You’re eliminating both. On one Memphis Pets Alive took photos to network,” people in the crowd said.

Those against the changes pointed out there are now no hours for those who work 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to come.

The hour shift is also cutting into the shelter’s popular Thursday adoption event called Yappy Hours. It’s held from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Thursdays. Rogers admits the events are a huge help.

“What we’re trying to do is increase number of adoptions,” Rogers said to people in the crowd laughing.

All the credit for keeping a straight face, Rogers.  But there is something sinister going on here, beyond the obvious retaliation against rescuers and the ridiculous excuses.  Included in the announcement about shortened hours was another change:  MAS would open at noon for 2 hours each on Sundays and Mondays strictly for owners of lost pets to be shown some of the animals in the facility by staff members.

Since MAS has previously been closed entirely on Sundays and Mondays, those days were not counted against strays when determining their mandatory 72 hour hold.  With the announcement that the pound would open for 2 midday hours on Sundays and Mondays, comes a change in how Rogers calculates the mandatory hold for strays.  Sundays and Mondays will now count as 2 of the 3 mandatory hold days, even though the shelter is closed for all but 2 midday hours each of those days.

I am not an attorney but I think there is a legitimate case to be brought against the city of Memphis here.  The city appears to be subverting the intent of the 72 hour holding period for strays by playing games with the pound’s business hours.  It is entirely possible that a pet owner in Memphis who works a day job could not get to the facility to search for his lost pet during the newly announced, limited hours.  Since MAS does an extremely shabby job of posting impounds online and since the pound kills lost pets immediately after the 72 hour holding period expires, the new hours are in effect an automatic death sentence for many lost pets.  And Rogers won’t allow these animals to live, even for one day past their holding periods:

MAS holds stray dogs for 72 hours as required by law. The shelter has been euthanizing the dogs immediately once their time is up, often before opening and allowing them a chance to be adopted. Board members are questioning that logic, especially when the shelter has empty kennels.

The director’s explanation for why strays need to be put down immediately isn’t adding up.

“It behooves us to follow the law which is 72 hours,” said director James Rogers. “Anything beyond that opens us up to the susceptibility of allowing parvo to increase.”

“It’s a disease of puppies,” said Stephen Tower, who is a veterinarian and on the MAS advisory board. He argued an extra few hours won’t cause any greater risk. “I don’t buy that exposure argument.”

“According to the director of veterinary medicine at Memphis Animal Services, the parvo virus has mutated and it does affect adult dogs now,” Rogers said.

But just a few weeks ago, the head veterinarian Rogers is talking about said the exact opposite at an open press conference about parvo.

“There is some acquired immunity with older pets, so I don’t think the public should be concerned about adopting an older pet,” said Dr. Rebecca Coleman.

So to recap:

MAS is eliminating the evening hours that many adopters and rescuers can get there to save lives. To increase adoptions.

The shortened hours are going to save money. Not actual money but possibly Rogers has cut out some rectangles from construction paper and drawn pictures of himself and dollar signs on them and likes to pretend he can buy unicorns and fairy dust with them – those dollars might be saved.

Sundays and Mondays will now be counted against strays under mandatory 72 hour hold. Because parvo is magic and now infects all adult, vaccinated dogs at MAS and immediately zaps them with death rays on the 73rd hour.  And Rogers’ kill techs aren’t going to get beaten to the punch by no magic parvo death ray.

Memphis, this is your animal “shelter”.  File an emergency injunction to stop the killing.  Address your city council.  Demand meaningful reform.  Do something.

(Thank you to everyone who sent me these links.)

Memphis: One Step Up and Two Steps Back

Dog ID #267072 at the Memphis pet killing facility, as shown on Facebook.  Her "review date" is tomorrow.

Puppy ID #267072 at the Memphis pet killing facility, as shown on Facebook. Her “review date” is tomorrow.

After much public outcry, Memphis Animal Services has announced it will again allow Memphis Pets Alive and other rescuers to photograph pets in the healthy hold area before their review dates expire.  Photographs of the cage cards will again be allowed as well.  The statement from the city, which can be read in full here, is hardly anything to celebrate.  Although MAS staff is again allowing members of the public to do their jobs for them, as they were before, there are new restrictions in place which appear to be at least cruel and at worst, illegal.

MAS now stipulates that rescuers will be allowed just the first two business days of the mandatory three day holding period to save animals from the kill room.  Obviously MAS wants to protect its staff from the annoyance of dealing with e-mails and phone calls from rescuers wanting to save animals on their kill day.  Once the first two days of the holding period have passed, MAS staff has the green light to kill the animal - no need to even check if there is an owner standing in the lobby holding a leash and collar I guess.

The city’s statement also attempts to restrict the First Amendment rights of anyone using the photos:

Photos taken of animals housed at the facility are not to be used in any negative campaign or propaganda against Memphis Animal Services.

MAS is primarily a pet killing facility.  If city officials are worried about American citizens truthfully saying so in public, they need to find jobs outside the U.S.  Speech is protected in this country and anyone who wants to express that MAS is wrong to kill animals, that the staff doesn’t do their jobs, or any other “negative” opinion about MAS is free to do so.

Finally, I think it’s important to restate something that has long been true at MAS, even before the current administration began its shenanigans:  No member of the public has had access to every animal in the facility, including those in the so-called stray areas, in years.  MAS continues to impound pets, hide them in areas deemed off-limits to the public, then take them to the kill room after 3 days with no one ever knowing they were there.  The reversal of the photo ban does not change that.

Pardon me if I find little worth celebrating in the draconian measures being employed by MAS to continue its needless dog and cat killing spree.  And I’ll be saying so.  Still.  More.

Memphis Pound Kills Ten Kittens in One Day

Public records of ten kittens killed by the Memphis pound on May 22, 2014:

Records from Memphis Animal Services, obtained via FOIA request (click to enlarge)

Records from Memphis Animal Services, obtained via FOIA request (click to enlarge)

The first four kittens on the list were killed because of their “behavior”. I guess the person holding them in their hands must have been mauled after these photos were taken. The complete records, including all veterinary notes, were requested. The only records provided by the city of Memphis were copies of the cage cards. Records indicate that the behavior of these tiny kittens was so unmanageable, they could not be scanned for a chip or weighed. But all four kittens had their records marked “no chip” at the time they were killed.





no chip

The next two kittens on the list were killed because MAS staff didn’t have “time” to take care of them. The complete records, including all veterinary notes, were requested. The only records provided by the city of Memphis were copies of the cage cards.


MAS killed the last four kittens on the list because they were “too young”. Kittens have that tendency. It’s not a permanent disability but when you operate primarily as a pet killing facility like MAS does, any excuse will do. The complete records, including all veterinary notes, were requested. The only records provided by the city of Memphis were copies of the cage cards.  Note that all four kittens were killed before their “review date”, the date the city says must expire before the animals can be photographed or networked by Memphis Pets Alive to save them from the kill room.





But don’t criticize, they’re doing the best they can, we all want the same thing, blah.

Memphis Pets Alive Uses Literacy in Fight Against Oppression by Pet Killing Facility

Puppy ID #A266460, as depicted on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook.

Puppy ID #A266460, as depicted on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook.

One of the most notorious pounds in the country, Memphis Animal Services, is continually trying to up its game in the pet killing department.  Frustrated by the success of pesky do-gooders like Memphis Pets Alive who have helped to network and save the pets MAS would apparently prefer to kill, the city has banned photography on a significant number of animals.  And now the ban has been extended to cage cards.

Memphis Pets Alive had a successful system set up where a photo of the pet’s cage card was posted on Facebook followed by a few photos of the animal so people could have all the available information to share.  Not wanting to abandon the proven system already in place, Memphis Pets Alive had to improvise when the city dropped the Acme anvil on cage card photos.  Behold:

Cage card information for puppy ID #A266460 at MAS, as written by a volunteer for Memphis Pets Alive and posted on the group's FB page.

Cage card information for puppy ID #A266460 at MAS, as written by a volunteer for Memphis Pets Alive and posted on the group’s FB page.

Literacy wins again.

Burn on you, MAS.

Burn on you, MAS.


(Thanks Arlene for the link.)

Note: The puppy pictured is obviously not a German Wirehaired Pointer. That’s just MAS failing, as usual, to take its responsibilities seriously. Proper breed ID is so important for reuniting lost pets with their owners and getting pets out to rescues and adopters. The note from Memphis Pets Alive indicates the puppy is no longer listed on PetHarbor as of May 31, 2014.

MAS Moves to Increase “Time and Space” Killings with Photo Ban

Memphis Animal Services (MAS) is a pet killing facility which has long cited “time and space” as its primary reason for killing dogs and cats.  In order to counter the alleged time and space issues at MAS, a group called Memphis Pets Alive has been photographing pets at the pound weekly, sharing them on Facebook.  In this way, owners looking for lost pets have an opportunity to see clear photos on an easily navigable and popular website – a service the pound does not provide.  In addition, rescuers and potential adopters can see the pets currently at the pound and begin making arrangements to get the pets out alive once the holding period expires, a date which Memphis Pets Alive notes on its posts.

The marketing of pets immediately upon impound is an important tool used by shelters wishing to increase their return-to-owner and overall live release rates as well as reducing their average length of stay.  MAS does not market pets upon impound, selectively choosing to photograph only some pets, using seemingly arbitrary criteria, and list them on a user-unfriendly website not designed for the public to navigate.  But Memphis Pets Alive has helped bridge the gap by photographing pets every week and sharing them on Facebook.

This week however, Memphis Pets Alive was informed by pound director James Rogers that they would no longer be allowed to photograph pets who are still within their mandatory holding period.  The “review date”, as MAS terms it on its cage cards, must be met before anyone is allowed to photograph the pets.

The Tiny Problem with That:  MAS typically kills pets the day of, or the morning after, their so-called review date.  Review is MAS-speak for Kill.  Some examples of pets who have been killed by MAS on, or within hours of, their review date:

  • Beauty and Rocko – two young, healthy dogs whose owner wanted them back.
  • Two owned dogs who were supposed to be quarantined at MAS for 10 days but who were killed after 72 hours because “review date”.
  • 3 year old mixed breed dog who was impounded after the owner fell behind on utility bills and killed by MAS on her review date.

In addition, the following pets listed on the Memphis Pets Alive Facebook page are just some who were recently listed as having been killed on their review date:

Dog #265867 at the Memphis pound, listed as killed on his review date.

Dog #265867 at the Memphis pound, listed as killed on his review date.  [Photo by Memphis Pets Alive]

Tragically, these dead pets are the “lucky” ones, in terms of MAS killing, since they were allowed to live until their review date.  MAS also kills pets before their review date.  Nola, a lost dog whose owner went to MAS trying to find her, was killed before her review date.  And pets who are owner surrendered do not get the “benefit” of a review date at all.  MAS often kills them upon impound.

Needless to say, shelter pet advocates raised hell about the photo ban.  After all, MAS is still killing pets for “time and space” but now actively blocking efforts by advocates to reduce the supposed time and space burdens placed upon the $7 million pet killing facility.  The city posted a response on its website which explains that the reason for the dick move ban is because MAS doesn’t want a potential adopter to see a pet’s photograph on Facebook and mistakenly believe the animal is immediately available for adoption.  Because MAS cares, really, so much:

MAS views the emotional trauma of such an unfortunate misunderstanding too great a risk[...]

I wonder how much of an emotional trauma it is to have your pet killed by MAS because of “time and space”, such as has happened to so many Memphis pet owners.  But I guess Memphis is all full up on caring.  The city can’t possibly care one iota more.  It’s too great a risk to consider more caring.  So please everyone, stop bothering MAS about its enormous level of caring.  Just leave it alone and quit bringing up how hugely much MAS cares.  Because the caring, it’s bulging and gigantic.  And space is an issue.

(Thanks Arlene for sending me info on this story.)

Summary of 2012 Undercover Police Report on Memphis Pound

The following is my summary of the animal cruelty observed by a Memphis police detective who worked undercover at the Memphis pound in late 2011 and early 2012.  Read the full report hereWarning:  This material ranges from disturbing to fucking atrocious.  And I’m putting that as diplomatically as I can.  Proceed with caution.


2011 image from MAS webcams of a dog being dragged on a chokepole.

2011 image from MAS webcams of a dog being dragged on a chokepole.

Detective Arrington observed MAS employee Glenn Andrews tell a small dog who was loose in the break room to come to him.  When the dog ignored the command, Andrews kicked the dog and cursed at her.  (page 8)

Detective Arrington observed MAS employee Glenn Andrews drive away with two Pitbull puppies after hours.  An MAS employee named Tameka Booker told Detective Arrington that she had taken a Pitbull puppy she did not intend to keep home with her and that if he wanted one, he should talk to Glenn Andrews since that is how she got hers.  (page 9)

An MAS employee named Mario Jiles advised Detective Arrington that he took home a Pitbull adult and a puppy without paying the fees because he cleared it with Glenn Andrews.  (page 10, two entries)

Detective Arrington was advised by MAS employee Billy Stewart (later convicted of animal cruelty and fired) that another way to get free pets was to tell the surrendering party to wait in the MAS parking lot.  If the person gave an employee the pet outside the shelter, there need not ever be any record created nor any fees paid.  (page 10)

Detective Arrington observed MAS employee Kirby Hankins kill 6 puppies from the kill list.  Immediately afterward, MAS employee Glenn Andrews walked into the kill room looking for one of the pups as he had been adopted the previous day.  Upon finding the pup dead, MAS employee Glenn Andrews called the adopter with a fabricated story about the puppy having to be killed due to parvo exposure.  (page 10)

Detective Arrington was ordered to conduct an inventory of dogs in the facility and found that four dogs on the inventory were missing.  He also found many dogs who had incorrect or missing records.  (page 10)

Detective Arrington observed several animals who were injured while caged at MAS, including a dog with a broken leg.  (page 10)

Detective Arrington observed MAS employee Billy Stewart kick a dog in the face in the kill room and strike another in the head with a chokepole.  (page 11, two entries)

Detective Arrington observed MAS employee Frank Lightfoot (later convicted of animal cruelty and fired) administer Fatal Plus to several cats.  Four of the cats were still alive several minutes post injection.  MAS employee Lightfoot killed three by dropping them on the floor in their cages from a height of six feet and the fourth by stepping on the pet with both feet while the cat urinated and defecated.  (page 11)

Detective Arrington observed MAS employees Kirby Hankins and Billy Stewart killing animals in the MAS kill room.  When MAS employee Stewart brought in a dog on a chokepole, he said, “We are not going to be able to wrap its mouth.  I’m going to have to choke it out.”  MAS employee Hankins waited to inject the Fatal Plus until after Stewart strangled the dog which took approximately a minute while the dog gasped for air before falling unconscious.  (page 11)

Detective Arrington observed MAS employee Stewart choke a Rottweiler with a chokepole and while the dog lay gasping for air, MAS employee Lightfoot jabbed the unsedated pet in the heart with Fatal Plus.  (pages 11 – 12)

In a separate but similar choking/heartsticking incident with another dog involving MAS employees Stewart and Lightfoot, Detective Arrington observed that the dog was not killed by the Fatal Plus injection and left to suffer for 5 – 10 minutes.  The detective then saw MAS employee Lightfoot jab the empty needle into the dog’s heart again, this time drawing blood into the syringe and injecting that blood into the lower abdomen while telling the dog, “I’m going to put this blood where it don’t suppose to be so you can get dead.”  The dog finally died 1 – 2 minutes later.  (page 12)

MAS employee Stacey Miller advised Detective Arrington she had witnessed MAS employees Archie Elliott (later convicted of animal cruelty and fired) and Tameka Booker killing pets in the MAS kill room.  MAS employee Miller said she saw MAS employee Elliot hang a dog from the sink counter on a leash.  Miller said she asked Elliot why he was hanging the dog and he replied he was sedating the pet.  Miller told the detective she was aware of her duty to report incidents such as these but chose not to do so.  Booker told the detective the dog “was acting a fool so Archie hung him.”  (page 12)

Detective Arrington observed MAS employee Lightfoot heartstick an unsedated puppy who cried out in pain.  (page 12)

Detective Arrington observed MAS employee Glenn Lanton working in the kill room with Elliot and Lightfoot.  Elliot brought in a scared dog who was not walking well on the leash so Elliot hanged him.  The timid dog gasped for air, urinating and defecating, and Lightfoot jabbed the unsedated pet in the heart with Fatal Plus.  (page 13)

Detective Arrington observed MAS employee Billy Stewart choke a friendly female Pitbull with a chokepole until she collapsed on the floor and Lighfoot injected her with Fatal Plus.  (page 13)

Detective Arrington observed MAS veterinarian Rebecca Coleman placing a very sick puppy in a cage with another puppy inside a room containing a mama dog nursing a litter.  When the detective questioned Coleman, she explained she would sign off on the killings of all the dogs in the room since they could get sick too.  (page 13)

Detective Arrington observed MAS employee Elliot attempting to kill a dog via IV injection but was unsuccessful as the dog pulled away.  Elliot then attempted to heartstick the unsedated dog but the dog again pulled away as he pissed himself.  The detective pleaded with Elliot to put the dog in the squeeze gate on the wall to restrain the dog, to which Elliot replied, “If I use the gate it’s going to mess up the floor and I do not feel like cleaning.”  Elliot then hanged the dog but stopped when a noise was heard outside the kill room.  He finally put the dog in the squeeze gate and jabbed the unsedated pet in the heart with Fatal Plus.  (page 14)

Detective Arrington observed MAS employee Elliott tell a Pitbull puppy in the kill room, “You are going to get stuck in the heart because you are too small and I do not feel like fooling with you.”  Elliott then jabbed the puppy in the heart.  The puppy cried out in pain before dying.  (page 14)


With the exceptions of Elliot, Lightfoot and Stewart (who, as noted, were later convicted of cruelty and fired), the other MAS employees named in the detective’s report are still working at the pound as far as I know.  If anyone has any different information, please leave a comment.  To the best of my knowledge, none were reprimanded or fired for their roles in the torture and killing of pets at MAS as described in this report.



Deceptive Maneuvering at MAS Costs Another Dog His Life

Memphis Animal Services impounded a 2 year old male Alaskan malamute on January 31 for roaming loose.  His owner called the next day to inquire about redeeming her pet.  This should be the end of this dog’s story at MAS – right here.  Because the dog was owned and wanted and the owner contacted MAS to advise them.  But it’s Memphis, so no.

MAS told the owner they would sell the dog back to her for $83 but only if the dog’s heartworm test came up negative.  Then they ran to take blood from the dog and do a heartworm test.  Eleven minutes later, someone from MAS hopped back on the phone to call the dog’s owner with the news:  the heartworm test was positive so the price to buy the dog back was now $333.  So slick.  The owner advised she could not afford that amount and so MAS kept her dog.

Portion of MAS records, obtained via FOIA request, for dog #263122 (partially redacted by me)

Portion of MAS records, obtained via FOIA request, for dog #263122 (partially redacted by me)

Memphis Pets Alive photographed this dog on February 4 and February 11 and captured some stunning images of him:

mal face 02 04 14 mpa

Dog ID #263122 at MAS on 2-4-14, as posted on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook.

mal 02 04 14 mpa

Dog ID #263122 at MAS on  2-4-14, as posted on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook.

Dog ID #263122 at MAS, as posted on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook.

Dog ID #263122 at MAS on 2-4-14, as posted on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook.

Dog ID #263122 at MAS, as posted on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook.

Dog ID #263122 at MAS on  2-11-14, as posted on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook.

mal smile 02 11 14 mpa

Dog ID #263122 at MAS on 2-11-14, as posted on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook.

A rescue group applied to adopt the dog on February 12.  There are no further notes indicating why this adoption did not proceed.

Two days after the February 11 photos were taken, MAS records indicate the dog had a “brief exam” by a vet and was diagnosed with a “mild” cough. Medications were prescribed.

mal vet notes 1

The next morning however, MAS notes state the dog was found unresponsive in his kennel and since “no vet was on duty” to examine him, they decided to kill the dog rather than take him to a vet for care.

Two entries by two different MAS staff members indicating no vet was on duty at the time the dog was found unresponsive and the decision made to kill him.

Two entries by two different MAS staff members indicating no vet was on duty at the time the dog was found unresponsive and the decision made to kill him.

In what appears to me to be a glaring discrepancy, the medical notes for dog ID #263122 indicate a vet at MAS examined the dog after he was found unresponsive and recommended euthanasia:

mal vet notes 2

A dog who appeared to be happy, healthy and smiling on the evening of February 11 was found unresponsive in his cage the morning of February 14. A decision was made to kill the dog without a vet exam since, as two staff members noted, there was no vet on duty. A vet at MAS then noted that she examined the dog and recommended euthanasia on February 14. Whatever shenanigans went on here, the dog’s death was entirely preventable because this pet should never have been at MAS after his owner called to claim him on February 1.

Holding a dog for ransom that an owner can not pay is inconsistent with animal sheltering.  Jacking up the redemption fees because a young, healthy dog tests positive for heartworm makes even less sense if the shelter’s goal is to get animals out alive.  Heartworm is not an immediate death sentence and there are different treatment options available, including a very low cost option.  The owner should have been advised of the positive test result and counseled to seek vet care.  If she was unable to pay the $83 in fines to get the dog back, a payment arrangement (of any terms that would work for the owner) should have been made.  Tacking on the extra $250 just because the dog tested positive for heartworm is cruel and unusual.  The end result of all this nonsense is yet another beautiful dog in a garbage bag at Memphis Animal Slaughtering.

How many more, Memphis?

Memphis: Insanity Would Be an Improvement

Year after year, the primary “service” performed at Memphis Animal Services is killing.  City leaders in Memphis have never held anyone accountable for the ongoing failure of the staff to do their jobs – that is, to shelter animals.  The system is designed to kill animals and that’s what they do, even in the face of proven, lifesaving alternatives.

Bolstered by killing apologists, MAS director James Rogers goes so far as to call the systemic slaughter of healthy/treatable dogs and cats at his facility “euthanasia” when in fact euthanasia (“easy death”) is a word reserved for mercifully ending the suffering of animals deemed medically hopeless by a veterinarian.  All shelter pets have a right to live.  There is nothing merciful about killing:

Shelter Director James Rogers said they make every effort to get the strays healthy and adoptable.

“I am not against euthanasia,” Rogers said, “I am against unfair and cruel euthanasia.”

I take this to mean James Rogers believes it’s neither unfair nor cruel to round up homeless pets and kill them. That’s the extent of his business plan. “Make every effort” translates to “make no effort” – just do the same thing year in and year out.  Insanity is sometimes loosely defined as repeating the same actions while expecting different results.  In Memphis though, they simply repeat the same actions – killing animals – while having no expectations of anything other than rounding up more animals to kill.  Not only is Memphis failing to achieve different results with its repetitious actions, the city isn’t even trying for those different results.  It’s a scratched record.  It’s a set of wash, rinse, repeat instructions where the wash and rinse have been replaced by kill.  It’s a loop.

When rappers take the most familiar hook out of a popular song and loop it so it repeats for 5 minutes, they can say anything they want over the top because people are comfortable with that recognizable riff.  This is what the city of Memphis has done.  MAS kills animals in an endless loop that everyone in the building is comfortable with and city leaders recognize as familiar while James Rogers blathers on about striving for excellence.  It’s a hoax.

When asked about the MAS pets who have owners, adopters or rescuers coming for them but are killed anyway, he says:

“We just cry to each other and then just get back in and do it again,” Rogers said.

See, that’s the problem.

(Thanks Clarice for sending in this link.)

MAS Oops-Kills Rescued Dog

Josie, oops-killed by Memphis pound

Josie, oops-killed by Memphis pound

The pet killing facility operated by the city of Memphis is one of the most notorious in the country, primarily known for stuffed shirts mouthing platitudes about success and excellence while city employees torture and starve animals to death.  Lest anyone think Memphis Animal Services has been falling down on the job lately, Exhibit A:

A pit bull was wrongfully euthanized by Memphis Animal Services after being adopted.

Oops.  The dog, Josie, was rescued by a local group who completed her paperwork after the next day’s kill list had already been made up and Josie had apparently already been moved to the holding area for the kill room.  Her status was changed from KILL to RESCUED in the computer and a cage card of a different color, which apparently indicates DO NOT KILL, was placed on her cage.  But when the kill techs came in the next morning, they went straight to work killing every animal on the previous day’s list, including Josie.

Chief Excuses Officer James Rogers issued the following statement in response.  This would be a good time to grab a barf bag and have it handy:

I regret to inform you that “Josie” Female Pit Bull, ID # 263120 was accidentally euthanized due to human error. This unfortunate accident provided an opportunity for us to review our processes and take immediate steps to lessen the likelihood of this happening again.

While MSA has made tremendous progress, our processes and procedures continue to evolve as we strive for excellence in our efforts to care for and preserve for adoptions as many pets as we can.

Our research into this incident shows that the ER list was created and duly signed by MAS management personnel on Tuesday, 2/11 at approximately 3:00 p.m. for Wednesday morning ER. The dog was in ER Holding. The pet was adopted at 4:38 PM on Tuesday evening by Bailey’s Arm rescue. Notes were put in the system that the pet was adopted and a green card generated to indicate adoption with all appropriate information and documentation placed in cage card holder.

The dog remained in ER Holding overnight with updated card. On Wednesday morning ER began using the approved ER list created at 3:00 PM on Tuesday, 2/11. Unfortunately, CAETS failed to inquire about the pet, which had obviously been adopted according to chameleon data and the highly visible green card on the cage.

I have addressed the issue with management and staff and instituted the following changes:

1) The ER list will be created the “morning of” the ER process with appropriate signatures from management.

2) All pets will be moved from ER to another holding when adopted.

3) Because CAETs are the last chance to ensure animals are not euthanized in error. All notes should be read, cards matched and the two (CAETs serving as the injector and holder) agree on the facts.

MAS has made tremendous strides in every aspect of the operation and we remain steadfast in our effort to make adjustments in our processes, and we will continue to work with rescue organizations such as Bailey’s Arms to find new homes for pets in our care.

- James Rogers, Administrator, Memphis Animal Services

I note there is no mention of disciplinary action against the kill techs who ignored the DO NOT KILL colored card on Josie’s cage and killed her anyway.

The most astonishing revelation to my mind though is that MAS kill techs have been killing animals without reading the notes made on the animals.  So if those notes say something like, “Seven people are trying to adopt this dog” or the slightly more direct, “Step away from this adopted pet you sadist”, the kill techs have never known it because MAS kill techs haven’t been reading the notes.  Nobody WANTS to kill animals, and MAS is totally awesome and they kill most every animal in their facility year after year but they have never bothered to read the notes on the animals they kill.  Because strive for excellence.

Josie was not killed due to human error.  Josie was killed because there is a long standing culture of abuse at MAS where killing is the standard.  The pound has always functioned primarily as a pet killing facility and any pets who make it out alive do so despite the efforts of staff to kill them.  The kill techs at MAS get paid extra to kill animals.  Their incentive is to kill Josie, not to look at her card indicating she’s been rescued and certainly not to read her notes that in effect say “Do not get your bonus pay on this one”.  Until a group of advocates is willing to publicly stand up and demand reform, for as long as it takes to get it, the culture of killing will remain at MAS.  And there will continue to be mountains of Josies sent to the landfill daily by MAS.

(Thanks No Kill Brevard and Clarice for sending me this story.)


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