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.)

Memphis Takes Dog Away from Home to Pet Killing Facility

On January 10, Memphis Animal Services responded to a police department request for assistance with a loose dog.  The ACO knew who the owner was and apparently spoke with him/her.  The owner advised that the residence had no phone.  MAS issued a citation to the owner and impounded the dog.

MAS records, obtained via FOIA request, partially redacted by me.

MAS records, obtained via FOIA request, partially redacted by me.

MAS listed the dog as “stray” and entered a note on the cage card advising that the dog had an owner.

MAS cage card 262564

MAS placed a a “review date” on the dog of January 16.  In between the date of impound and the review date, there are no notes indicating any attempt was made to return the dog to the owner.  No return visit to the owner’s residence, no letter, no attempt of any kind was made to communicate with the owner about the dog according to the records.  The only notes indicate the dog was bright, alert, responsive and had a good appetite on January 11 and that she was vaccinated and dewormed on January 13.  Memphis Pets Alive photographed this pet on January 14 and posted her on the group’s Facebook page:

[via Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook]

[via Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook]

On this pet’s review date, the day MAS could officially offer her for adoption to the public, they killed her.

Did the ACO think taking this dog away from her owner and putting her into the Memphis pet slaughterhouse was the best course of action?

Did the owner, who apparently can not afford a phone, have any means of paying the fine issued by MAS in addition to the outrageous impound fees?

Why did no one at MAS make any attempt to return this pet to her owner or even communicate with the owner to see if he/she had the ability to care for the dog?

Why did MAS refuse to offer this young dog to the public for adoption, rescue or foster – even for one week, one day or one hour?

Why did MAS take this apparently healthy, friendly pet to the kill room the minute her hold expired and she was eligible for disposal?

How many more, Memphis?

Nobody WANTS to kill animals?  Shyeah.

Exemplary (adjective): serving as a desirable model; representing the best of its kind

On December 5, Memphis pet advocate Jody Fisher wrote to Memphis Animal Services to ask why they had so few pets posted on PetHarbor when the $7.2 million facility has 555 cages and whether this reflected a surge in live released animals. This is the relevant portion of the response she received:

On Dec 5, 2013, at 10:21 AM, DeKeishia.Tunstall@memphistn.gov wrote:

Ms. Fisher:

We have had some exemplary numbers in terms of positive outcomes recently.

While this MAS staffer was typing this response about “exemplary numbers”, records obtained via FOIA request show that seventeen animals were being killed in the MAS snuff room:

MAS kill sheet dec 5 2013

To the best of my knowledge, only one of these seventeen animals was ever housed in the area where the public is allowed at the pound. She was an owner surrender, apparently thin and obviously scared:

Female Lab mix, 37 pounds, owner surrendered on 12-3-13, killed on 12-5-13.  Photo via Memphis Pets Alive.

Female Lab mix #261612, 37 pounds, owner surrendered on 12-3-13, killed on 12-5-13. Photo taken 12-3, via Memphis Pets Alive.

The other sixteen animals were kept behind locked doors at MAS, never to see the light of day again.  They were never walked or evaluated by a behaviorist.  No one except MAS staff knew they were there.  Many were killed for “space” while hundreds of cages sat empty at the pound.  MAS defenders refuse to stand up for the animals by publicly decrying this practice of housing animals in a private dungeon then killing them.

Exemplary is not the word that comes to mind.

Puppy Stops Breathing after Surgery at MAS, is Left Alone

Puppy #259882 at MAS, as photographed by Memphis Pets Alive on October 8, 2013.

Puppy #259882 at MAS, as photographed by Memphis Pets Alive on October 8, 2013.

Puppy #259882 at Memphis Animal Services was approximately 8 weeks old and had rescue lined up but MAS spayed her on October 14, 2013 prior to release. The puppy was dead before 1o o’clock that night. Let’s take a look at what happened.  Keep in mind that I am not a veterinarian and as such, I will be asking lots of questions.

Portion of records from Memphis Animal Services for puppy #259882

Portion of records from Memphis Animal Services for puppy #259882

Portion of

Portion of records from Memphis Animal Services for puppy #259882

Ketamine is a Schedule III controlled substance with known recreational uses.

Xylazine is a Schedule IV, prescription-only drug with known recreational uses.  The label for xylazine includes the warning: “Do not use xylazine in conjunction with tranquilizers.”

Acepromazine is a tranquilizer.

Combi-Pen is an antibiotic and anaphylactic reactions are listed as a side effect.

Yobine is a reversing agent for xylazine.

This puppy could not possibly have weighed 98.5 pounds as indicated in the veterinary record.  Clearly an error was made in recording the dog’s weight.  Drug dosages are based on an animal’s weight.  A FOIA request filed with the city of Memphis revealed MAS does not maintain drug logs for any drug other than Fatal Plus.  If an overdose of Xylazine was administered to this puppy, the drug log would reflect that but since no such log exists, there is no way to check and the dosages listed above are the only records available, which we know contain at least one glaring error.  Yobine, the antidote for xylazine, was administered three times according to the records.

  • Why was epinephrine given when there is no note of cardiac arrest?
  • Why was Combi-Pen administered at the start of surgery instead of after the patient had demonstrated the ability to recover?

Here is where things go tragically wrong:

259882 vet record3

The puppy, who had gone into respiratory arrest while recovering from surgery and should have been considered a high risk patient from that point on, was apparently left alone after the tech punched out at 5pm.  At 8pm, the puppy was found seizing and her body temperature had dropped to an alarming 94 degrees.  Between 5 and 8pm, I would guess she was convulsing and that her tongue was probably white or blue.  How could this have possibly gone unnoticed for hours in a high risk patient at the “state of the art vet clinic” inside MAS?

Finding a puppy in this state would indicate emergency procedures – that is, the crash cart would be hauled out – intubation, lifesaving drugs, heated IV fluids and a warm water enema might all be immediately administered. Karo syrup and heated corn bags are not emergency medicine from a veterinarian in a “state of the art vet clinic” but rather something that panicked pet owners might try at home if they wake up to a seizing puppy in the middle of the night.

One note indicates that the “state of the art vet clinic” had no IV dextrose available.  I found it online for $2.29.

  • Why was 250ml of fluid administered to this tiny puppy (perhaps weighing 10 pounds) in a 5 hour period?  AAHA guidelines appear to recommend significantly lower rates.  Did fluid overload lead to this pups’ death?
  • Why wasn’t the puppy’s temperature taken as soon as she recovered from surgery and regularly thereafter?  Instead, the temperature was apparently never taken until someone noticed she was seizing and vocalizing at 8 o’clock at night.  By that time it was an extremely dangerous 94 degrees.  Did the failure to recognize and treat a possible low body temperature in this pup lead to her death?
  • Was the puppy given a dangerous drug combination (ketamine, xylazine and acepromazine) and/or possibly an overdose of one or more of these drugs based upon a wildly inaccurate weight listed in the record?
  • Why was this high risk pup apparently left alone for hours?  Did failure to monitor this pup as she was deteriorating lead to her death?
  • How does  $7.2 million shelter with a “start of the art vet clinic” not have IV dextrose on hand and why is the vet relying on things like karo syrup and heated corn bags to save lives?  Did Memphis Animal Services’ failure to secure appropriate clinic supplies and/or follow standard veterinary emergency medicine protocols lead to this pup’s death?

By the way, for anyone who didn’t catch the punch line at the end of the pup’s record, the vet attributes the pup’s death to a suspected liver disorder.  In other words:  I take no responsibility whatsoever, go Memphis yourself.

This isn’t the first time a dog has died at MAS post surgery because no one was monitoring the pet per standard veterinary protocols.  The city of Memphis has been a running a tab on neglect and cruelty at its pound for years. How many more pets must pay this debt with their lives before a local group takes meaningful action and demands reform?

Fire.  Them.  All.

Seven People Apply to Save “VERY FRIENDLY!” Pitbull from Memphis Pound

Dog #259497 as pictured on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook, October 8, 2013.

Dog #259497 as pictured on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook, October 8, 2013.

Dog #259497 was impounded as a stray by the Memphis pound on September 25, 2013. A note appears on his cage card: VERY FRIENDLY!

259497 MAS cage card

MAS records for the dog, obtained via FOIA request, indicate a member of the public expressed an interest in adopting this dog on September 28 and gave his name and phone number. Records state that a few months prior, the potential adopter had passed the background check and fence inspection required by MAS. I assume he was not allowed to take the dog home that day because the holding period had not expired.

On October 1st, both a member of an approved rescue group and a second member of the public placed their names on this dog.  MAS conducted the background check on October 2 for this second potential adopter but the yard check had still not been completed by October 8 when the applicant informed MAS he had found another pet.  There are no notes indicating why the dog was not released to the first applicant or the rescuer, both pre-approved, after the holding period expired on October 1st.  For whatever reason, the dog was forced to continue living in a cage at the pet killing facility.  And people continued to fall in love with him.

On October 12, a third member of the public applied to adopt this dog.  MAS completed the background check for that potential adopter on October 15 – the same day a fourth person submitted her information in hopes of taking this dog home.  The background check was completed for the fourth applicant on October 16.  MAS never conducted the fence inspections for either of these applicants according to the records even though both passed the background check.    There are no notes indicating why the dog was not released to the first applicant or the rescuer, both pre-approved, after the holding period expired on October 1st.  For whatever reason, the dog was forced to continue living in a cage at the pet killing facility.  And people continued to meet him and fall in love.

On October 19, a fifth person submitted information in hopes of adopting this dog.  MAS completed this applicant’s background check on October 22.  MAS never conducted the fence inspection for this applicant according to the records even though he passed the background check.    There are no notes indicating why the dog was not released to the first applicant or the rescuer, both pre-approved, after the holding period expired on October 1st.  For whatever reason, the dog was forced to continue living in a cage at the pet killing facility while MAS staff did nothing to get him out alive.  Meanwhile, this note appears in the dog’s records on October 21:

mas note 10 21 13

To the best of my knowledge, Dr. Coleman is not a behaviorist.  There are no notes indicating a behaviorist ever saw this dog.  There are no notes indicating this dog was ever walked and no behavioral notes beyond the one above.  The dog who was “VERY FRIENDLY!” may have started going kennel crazy inside the pet killing facility, I don’t know.  With two pre-approved safe places to go and several other applicants just waiting for MAS to complete the fence inspection, this dog could have been released long before this date.  Meanwhile,the dog continued to be housed in an area visible to the public and people continued to meet and fall in love with him.

On October 24th, a sixth person applied to adopt this pet.  There are no notes indicating MAS conducted either the background check or the fence inspection for this applicant.  On October 25th, the records contain this note:

mas very friendly

Despite having 6 members of the public plus an approved rescuer who each offered to save this “VERY FRIENDLY!” dog, MAS killed him on October 26, 2013.

MAS dog #259497 as pictured on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook, October 22, 2013.

MAS dog #259497 as pictured on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook, October 22, 2013.

Adoption applicant #1 was pre-approved.  The rescuer was also pre-approved.  Why didn’t MAS send this dog home with either one of these people as soon as the hold period expired?

Applicant #2 waited for MAS to do a fence check for more than a week and finally adopted another pet.  Another missed opportunity to save this dog’s life.

Applicants #3, 4 and 5 each passed a background check but MAS could not be bothered to perform the fence checks for any of them.  Three more opportunities wasted.

Applicant #6 did not have either check performed by staff and MAS killed the dog two days after the applicant’s information was submitted.

The Memphis pound requires Pitbull adopters to jump through special hoops in order to save pets from their kill room.  But MAS can’t be bothered to perform the inspections they themselves require.  Even when a pre-approved applicant and a pre-approved rescuer were willing to save this dog, MAS couldn’t be bothered to release him.  Why?

This pet had seven chances to get out of MAS alive and MAS dropped the ball seven times.  And instead of finally doing right by the dog, they sent him to the kill room where he was probably tortured in the squeeze device on the wall before ultimately being dropped in a garbage bag.  Seven people fell in love with this dog while one vet with a notorious track record made one negative behavioral note and that trumps everything?  Nobody WANTS to kill animals?  Seriously MAS, you people are creeping me the math out.

Memphis Animal Services: Bruno Hauptmann Couldn’t Hold a Candle to You

On Saturday November 2, 2013, Memphis Animal Services impounded 3 Pitbulls estimated to be 12 months, 7 months and under 6 months of age respectively.   MAS is closed on Sundays and Mondays.  On Tuesday, November 5, the owner of the 3 dogs came to the pound to reclaim his pets.  MAS advised the owner that it would cost him $363 for each of the dogs over the age of 6 months and $163 for the puppy who was less than 6 months old.  This would be a total of $889 to get back his 3 pets that he came promptly to reclaim.  How many of you could come up with this kind of cash?  I could not.  The owner paid the ransom for the least expensive dog and signed a surrender form for the other two, who were both apparently healthy according to pound records.  MAS killed them both.  Their names were Beauty and Rocko.

Portion of Beauty's records at MAS, obtained via FOIA request (owner's name and address redacted by me).

Portion of Beauty’s records at MAS, obtained via FOIA request (owner’s name and address redacted by me).

Portion of beauty's records at MAS, obtained via FOIA request.

Portion of beauty’s records at MAS, obtained via FOIA request.

Portion of Rocko's records at MAS, obtained via FOAI request (owner's name and address redacted by me).

Portion of Rocko’s records at MAS, obtained via FOIA request (owner’s name and address redacted by me).

This was a case where the dogs had a home and an owner who wanted them back. But due to the exorbitant fees charged by MAS, made even higher by the crappy MSN law in Memphis, 2 of the 3 dogs weren’t allowed to go home. Instead of sending the 3 dogs home, MAS sent 2 of them to the kill room. For what? To punish an owner because he didn’t have his dogs neutered? To set an example for the community?

MAS apparently has hundreds of empty cages.  But space is so desperately “needed” that even animals with homes must be killed – erm

Portion of records for beauty and Rocko at MAS, obtained via FOIA request.

Portion of records for Beauty and Rocko at MAS, obtained via FOIA request.

Good going Memphis. Your suckass MSN law and disgraced animal “shelter” have earned another spot on humanity’s wall of shame.

Beauty, as posted on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook

Beauty, as posted on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook

Rocko, as posted on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook.

Rocko, as posted on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook.

Nobody WANTS to kill animals.  Except when they totally obviously do.

450 Empty Cages at the Memphis Pound?!

mas petharbor dec 6 2013

December 6, 2013 screengrab from PetHarbor.com

The $7.2 million pet killing facility in Memphis has 555 cages in it.  Advocates have been told repeatedly that every animal in the facility is listed on PetHarbor.  This afternoon, MAS has 112 animals listed on PetHarbor, including this uh, Cardi:

Screengrab from PetHarbor.com

Screengrab from PetHarbor.com

Assuming each animal is being housed in his own cage, that means there are currently 443 empty cages at MAS – more if any of the 112 animals are sharing a cage with siblings, a mama dog or cat, or a buddy.  Since animal advocates are strictly limited in their access to the shelter they paid for and are only allowed to see some of the animals in the facility, we can only speculate what is going on behind closed doors at MAS tonight.  Cast your vote in the poll below.

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