Memphis Bans the Public from Giving Treats to Shelter Pets

Memphis Animal Services, which functions primarily as a pet killing facility and does not vaccinate all animals upon intake as per standard shelter best practices, is suddenly concerned that treats given to doomed dogs might compromise their health. As such, the public has been banned from giving out treats at the pound. This email is from La Sonya Harris Hall, Deputy Director of the Division of Parks & Neighborhoods in Memphis:

From: Hall, LaSonya
Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2014 8:30 AM
To: Boyd, Bill; Brown, Joe; Cain, Pam; Clark, Dynisha; Collins, Harold; Conrad, Kemp; Flinn, Shea; Ford Jr., Edmund; Fullilove, Janis; Garcia, Rebecca; Geater, Lisa; Halbert, Wanda; Harris, Lee; Hedgepeth, Reid; Hooks, Director Janet; Keplinger, Juaness; Little, George; Lowery, Myron; Milam, Judy; Morrison, Bill; Spears, Danielle; Strickland, Jim; Sullivan, Maura; Turner, Ann; Wordlaw, Sophia
Cc: Little, George; Sullivan, Maura; Hooks, Director Janet; Rogers, James; Coleman, Rebecca
Subject: MAS takes precaution with pet treats

Good Morning Councilmembers:

As a precautionary measure and based on observations by Dr. Rebecca Coleman noted below, Memphis Animal Services has temporarily suspended visitors from providing treats to the animals in our care. We will research this matter over the holidays and develop a plan that will be in the best interest of the pets.

Recently MAS encountered a situation involving several dogs that were vomiting and experiencing diarrhea after they had been fed treats.  The partially eaten treats were found in each dog’s cage that became ill. Unfortunately no one was able to identify who gave the treats.  As there are multiple visitors to the shelter each day, some type of control needs to be in place to ensure that the health of the pets is not compromised.  Not knowing what a pet has been fed adds an element of complexity to treating the pet if complications arise.

Rebecca Coleman, DVM

Veterinary Medical Director

Memphis Animal Services


Thank you for your continued support.

Happy Holidays!

La Sonya Harris Hall, Ph.D.

Deputy Director, Division of Parks & Neighborhoods

125 N. Main Street, Suite 200

Memphis, TN 38103


The most basic thing that could be done to protect the health of the animals at MAS is across the board vaccination upon intake.  That’s not being done.

Most of these animals are going into the dumpster, as fast as MAS can legally (?) put them there. But the city says there’s a risk of harm in the dogs receiving a bit of kindness from the public before being snuffed.

The biggest threat to the health of animals at MAS is Fatal Plus.  It’s got dog cookies beat by a mile.  Can we get a ban on that?

No doubt everyone in this email has been researching this issue over the holidays and is developing a plan to protect the best interests of the pets.  Who are going out the back door in garbage bags by the truckload.

Well done as usual, Memphis.

MAS Kills Dog Good Samaritan Wanted to Adopt

Photo by Vickie Carter

Photo by Vickie Carter

On December 16, Vickie Carter was driving her car and saw two dogs attacking a third dog.  She stopped to help.  After breaking up the fight, the dog who was being attacked ran into her car through an open door.  Although he appeared to have minor injuries from the fight, he seemed to be in otherwise good shape.  Ms. Carter called the police for assistance and decided to take the dog to Memphis Animal Services, which was right across the street from where she found him.  She thought he must live in the neighborhood and his owners would be able to find him at MAS, where he could receive vet care for his wounds in the meantime.  Ms. Carter photographed the dog in her car in order to network him on social media before taking him to the pound.

Photo by Vickie Carter

Photo by Vickie Carter

At MAS, Ms. Carter says she was very clear in her communication with staff:  she asked them to make sure the dog was not killed because she planned to get him out one way or another if no owner reclaimed him.  She and a friend began networking the dog online and both women placed phone calls to MAS to reiterate the “do not kill” request.  Between the two of them, Vickie says they spoke with multiple staff members, a veterinarian and MAS director James Rogers.  Ms. Carter says that in a phone conversation with a staffer on December 18, she offered to personally adopt the dog if no one claimed him and was told she had to wait until December 20 because the dog was on mandatory hold until then.

But when Ms. Carter went to MAS to adopt the dog on Saturday the 20th, she couldn’t find him.  She asked a staffer about the dog and was finally told he had been killed.  Ms. Carter was understandably upset and says she asked many questions, including why the dog was killed.  But no one at MAS provided any answers of any kind beyond “I don’t know.”

Now Ms. Carter is heartbroken.  She says she plans to attend the next public meeting of the shelter advisory board and is working to get this dog’s story out to the public.  She wants to know why MAS killed this dog, despite her offer to adopt.  And she wants people to know that when she was at MAS, the place was half empty but they killed the dog she wanted to save anyway.

I wish I could say this is the first time we’ve ever seen a story like this out of MAS but tragically, it’s the So Many I’ve Lost Track time we’ve seen this same scenario.  MAS has always been primarily a pet killing facility.  And until someone is able to buck the status quo, fire the animal killers and send the enablers scurrying back under their rocks, it always will be.

How many more, Memphis?

411 Empty Cages at the Memphis Pound Today but Dog #271273 Can’t Be Allowed to Live in One of Them

Memphis taxpayers were bled for $7.2 million to build a new pound containing 555 cages.  The city has never filled them.  Today, there are only 144 cats and dogs listed on PetHarbor as being housed at the Memphis pound:

Screengrab from PetHarbor, October 8, 2014.

Screengrab from PetHarbor, October 8, 2014.

This means that even if every single animal is in his own cage at MAS right now (which is probably not the case since litters are commonly housed together with their mothers), there are 411 empty cages.  But MAS keeps killing healthy, friendly pets anyway.

This email exchange between a pound supervisor and rescuer Jody Fisher regarding a young dog she was networking will leave you cold:

On Oct 7, 2014, <> wrote:


The animal referenced above has a note in the system stating that you are networking this pet.
Please be advised that this pet must be adopted no later than close of business today (6:45pm).
To date, no one has stepped forward.

De Keishia


On Tue, Oct 7, 2014, Jody Fisher wrote:

Thank you for your email. I am still networking her. Why does she only have til end of business today?


From: Jody Fisher
Date: Wed, Oct 8, 2014
Subject: Re: A271273 – 1 Year Old Female Black Lab
To: <>

Please advise status of this dog. I did not receive an answer to my question- what is the answer?
Thank you


From: <>
Date: October 8, 2014
To: Jody Fisher
Subject: RE: A271273 – 1 Year Old Female Black Lab


This pet has been here since 9/18/14.
We are not a long-term holding facility.

De Keishia


From: Jody Fisher
Date: Wed, Oct 8, 2014
Subject: Re: A271273 – 1 Year Old Female Black Lab
To: <>

I understand that MAS is not designed to be a permanent home for pets but so long as there is a cage available, can I not be allowed some additional time to network this dog?
Thank you


From: <>
Date: October 8, 2014
To: Jody Fisher
Subject: RE: A271273 – 1 Year Old Female Black Lab


I cannot grant any additional time. The pet has been here for 3 weeks.

De Keishia


From: Jody Fisher
Date: Wed, Oct 8, 2014
Subject: Re: A271273 – 1 Year Old Female Black Lab
To: <>

I understand she has been there for 3 weeks but since her cage is not needed for another animal, I am asking for additional time to try to save her life.


From: <>
Date: October 8, 2014
To: Jody Fisher
Subject: RE: A271273 – 1 Year Old Female Black Lab


I’m sorry, but I am unable to grant any additional time.

De Keishia

Gee, ya don’t sound sorry.

But remember folks, don’t criticize, nobody WANTS to kill animals, we’re all on the same team and fuck all.

Dog #271273 at the Memphis pound, as photographed by Memphis Pets Alive.

Dog #271273 at the Memphis pound, as photographed by Memphis Pets Alive.



Portion of a posting on

These things take various forms and get circulated online from time to time.  They’re generally rants against the so-called irresponsible public.  This one is too, which is why I didn’t bother posting the entire thing.  I’m sure all of you already know the myriad things you’re doing wrong which “force” shelter workers to kill animals and their enablers to justify it for them.

Plus I wanted to make clear what these rants are by focusing on the header.  They are, in no uncertain terms, a threat to continue the needless systematic killing of healthy, happy dogs and cats unless the world meets the demands of the killers and their enablers and becomes perfect in their eyes.

It’s terrorism.

And these people are monsters.


Dog #267442: Hidden and Illegally Killed by the Memphis Pound

Records obtained via FOIA request indicate dog #267442 was impounded as a stray by Memphis Animal Services on June 10, 2014. She was housed out of sight of the public, in the room reserved for animals being killed:

267442 cage card

MAS was obligated to hold her for the mandatory holding period which would have expired on June 17. Her medical notes indicate she was a generally healthy young dog.

267442 medical

On June 15, an MAS supervisor noted that no one had placed a hold on the dog who had remained hidden from the public since impound. And despite the fact that her owner still had 2 days to claim her, the supervisor noted the dog’s time had expired which appears to be a violation of the stray holding period law.

267442 MAS notes

Never having been made available to the public for adoption, rescue or foster, and not even having been held for the mandatory holding period for an owner to reclaim, MAS killed dog #267442 on June 15 (or June 14, if the date noted by the kill tech is accurate).

267442 cage card back

The first day that MAS would legally have been allowed to kill dog #267442 was June 18. I guess they just couldn’t wait.  Not that anyone WANTS to kill animals, of course.

Sadly, this dog is just one of so many whose right to life has been violently violated by MAS and whose legal right to be held for owner redemption was violated as well. Pound director James Rogers recently wrote:

By all accounts the death of one animal in error is unacceptable and MAS is diligently seeking to be error free.

How’s that working out for you? Ready to try something different? Is doing your job on the menu?

Memphis Pound Oops-Kills Dog Who Had Rescue Waiting

Portion of the cage card for dog ID #269523 at the Memphis pound.

Portion of the cage card for dog ID #269523 at the Memphis pound.

Records for dog #269523 at Memphis Animal Services are incomplete.  Curiously missing is the e-mail exchange between Ms. Brenda Fortney, who was interested in rescuing the healthy, vaccinated dog, and pound director James Rogers.  On Friday August 8, 2014, Ms. Fortney e-mailed MAS to express an interest in the dog and director James Rogers told her he would keep the dog alive until the pound closed that afternoon.  Here is his reply in full. Note that several MAS staff members are copied on the response:

To: bfortney;;;;;;
Subject: RE: Interested in dog A269523
Date: Fri, 8 Aug 2014 12:01:01 +0000

Good Morning Ms. Fortney,

This pets time has expired. You have until close of business today to adopt. Please inform me of your intentions upon receipt of this message.

Thank you
James M. Rogers
Administrator, MAS

But when a second rescuer contacted James Rogers later that morning, she was advised the dog had already been killed.  Oops.  An explanation was requested, multiple times, and the director finally provided one.  It too is notably absent from this dog’s official records provided by the city of Memphis.  Here is a copy sent to me by a shelter pet advocate:

From: <>
Date: 11 August 2014 08:15:38 am GMT-5
To: alysemasserano, jennwestrich, bfortney
Cc: <>, <>, <>, <>
Subject: RE: A269583

Good morning Masserano,

My apologies for pet #269523 being humanely euthanized in error on Friday. I responded to Ms. Brenda Fortney at 7:01 Friday morning informing her that that she had until close of business on Friday to adopt the pet. I proceeded to remove the pet from the euthanasia list in our system at the time that I replied to her email at 7:01 a.m. This action should have been sufficient, however we have discovered through our investigation of this incident that it is not.

The pet was euthanized at 9:37 Friday morning. Reason being, pet ID # 259523 kennel card was not removed from the stack of kennel cards prepared for euthanasia the previous day. A fatal error. The pet’s kennel card remained in the stack of kennel cards for pets to be euthanized on Friday morning. The assigned staff proceeded to make the euthanasia list the “morning of” from the stack of kennel cards pulled the previous day. The pet was placed back on the euthanasia list from the kennel cards and subsequently euthanized.

We have a policy in place that the euthanasia list will not be completed until the “day of”. We followed that rule. The euthanasia list was made the “morning of” the euthanasia session. However, we must now include not pulling the kennel cards until the “day of” as well. By all accounts the death of one animal in error is unacceptable and MAS is diligently seeking to be error free. Again, please accept our apologies.

James M. Rogers
Administrator, MAS

*splashes cold water on face*

What the frell?

Does anyone on the planet earth understand the point of drafting a kill list the “day of” killing based upon information pooled from the previous day?

“We followed that rule.”

*slow clap*

By all means, step right up and grab yourself a prize from the Stupid Bin for following your own nonsensical rule that you made up because you can’t stop killing pets people want to adopt.

Despite all the staffers copied on the e-mail acknowledging the poor dog would be given an additional day to live, he was killed anyway.  Not because the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing at MAS.  That would be too innocent.  It’s because the left hand at MAS is always killing animals while the right hand is up someone’s ass trying to find a brain.

Oh and it’s not “euthanasia” nor is it “humane” when you kill healthy pets.  If you can’t own it, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.

How many more, Memphis?

Memphis Pound Kills Puppy Despite Waiting List of Adopters

“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” – Isaac Asimov

Puppy ID # 269057 at the Memphis pound.

Puppy ID #269057 at the Memphis pound, as pictured on Facebook.

Puppy #269057 was impounded by the Memphis pound on July 18 as a stray.  He was housed in the “healthy hold” area during the mandatory holding period and photographed by Memphis Pets Alive.

Animal lovers networking this pup on social media report that there was a waiting list of people wanting to adopt him. His “review date” at the pound was July 24. On that date, despite having been in the healthy hold area for several days, MAS decided this puppy was so sick with parvo he had to be immediately killed the moment his mandatory hold expired.  No one on the waiting list was contacted.

Tragically, this pup wasn’t the first to be killed by MAS while adopters tried to save him and he won’t be the last.  How many more, Memphis?

(Thanks Lou Ann for sending me this link.)

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.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 951 other followers