Warning: Details of cruelty to animals may be too disturbing for some readers.
Two of the three former employees at the Memphis pound charged with animal cruelty have pleaded guilty after being caught on videotape tormenting animals in the kill room. The following description of one act of cruelty is from the Commercial Appeal. (Note: The torture occurred within days of the February 2012 video footage obtained by FOIA request and posted on this blog.):
On Feb. 11 this year, a small, timid Chow dog was scheduled to die at the Memphis Animal Shelter with a sedative injection followed by a lethal solution injected into the heart.
“Now you want to act stupid?” former shelter worker Archie Elliott III said to the Chow as he pulled the uncooperative leashed animal into the euthanizing room. “I know how to take care of this. This is my sedation.”
Elliott then lifted the dog off the ground and held the choking animal over a sink as it urinated and defecated while gasping for air, according to court papers.
After Mr. Elliott finished inflicting pain and suffering on the dog, Mr. Lightfoot reportedly stabbed the pet in the heart with a needle, which is extremely painful and only supposed to be used in rare circumstances on fully sedated animals. This was one of several incidences of the two men torturing pets.
ABC 24 adds:
One of the charges Elliot admitted to was hanging a small, timid dog from its leash to strangle it to death. Lightfoot admitted that several times he choked dogs to the point they passed out, and then stabbed them in the heart with what is called a ‘heart stick.’ At no point were the dogs sedated.
Although both former MAS workers have pleaded guilty, they remain free on bond and may never pay for their crimes:
Both […] are eligible to ask the judge for diversion, a special form of probation which could result in their records being cleared.
It is worth noting that some of the employees who worked with the two confessed animal abusers are still at the pound, working with animals. None of them have been charged with any crimes.
Note: The employee depicted in this video clip, dated just a few days before the incident described above, has not been charged with animal cruelty. The pound management, the mayor and the police are all aware of the mistreatment of animals depicted in these videos but no legal action has been taken.