Please visit us at
How would you expect a dog who looked like this to score in a shelter evaluation? To find out how this dog actually scored and what will happen to her as a result, click here.
Every shelter dog deserves a fair evaluation.
The Memphis Animal Shelter killed around 13,000 pets in 2009. In 2010, they hired Matthew Pepper to take over the helm. I was thinking he was going to work toward reducing the killing at the shelter. Now I'm not so sure.
This week, the community gathered at a city council meeting to discuss a proposal regarding mandatory spay neuter. MSN supporters far outnumbered those opposed and Matthew Pepper was there. But he apparently did not speak out against the proposal, which would likely increase the killing at MAS:
Shelter director Matthew Pepper, who started his job this month, said that as a newcomer he was there to listen. He said whatever the fate of the ordinance, community-based programs that address responsible pet ownership will be needed.
He was there to listen to people proposing a bad law that would burden animal control, cause families to lose their pets, increase the intake at his shelter and increase the killing. This is not a "whatever the fate" tra-la-la-la-la issue. This is the time for the new director at MAS to take a stand and establish himself as a leader in Memphis with regard to decreased killing of the community's pets. Programs that address responsible pet ownership are good. MSN is not one of those.
Why is Matthew Pepper not speaking out against something that will lead to increased killing at MAS? Haven't the pets of Memphis suffered enough?
A Mother in NC left 4 kids home alone 2 weeks ago with a Pitbull puppy in a crate. The house caught fire and firefighters were able to save a 4 year old and a 7 year old but were sadly too late to save the two babies in the home. A neighbor mentioned there was a dog inside and firefighters rescued her from the flames:
The 8-month-old pit bull suffered third-degree burns.
"All this is scarring," [veterinary technician Sandy] Gainey said, pointing to burns on the dog. "She was in pretty rough shape. Wherever you see no hair is where she was burned. And if you look at her ears, they're crinkled because of the burns and the scarring."
Gainey said that Phoenix could lose an ear because of the damage. Despite all the pain, Gainey said the dog is a sweetheart.
Local animal control has been caring for Phoenix but transferred her to another shelter for adoption since they are legally prohibited from adopting out Pitbulls. The 7 year old child has visited with the dog and will continue to do so after adoption. There is a video at the link of this dog's gentle demeanor while receiving veterinary care for what must be incredibly painful burns. She will make some new owner very happy I'm sure.
Thank you to the firefighters who saved her from a horrible death and to the local animal welfare community for making sure the dog will have a chance to be adopted.
This sounds like a pretty good dog
We all use stamps, even if we use them less frequently than we did in the before time - why not buy these?
Rescuers in Houston would like to take a dog at BARC to a veterinary specialist to see if her sight can be saved but BARC is refusing to release her
Austin is encouraging the community to get involved in achieving its no kill goals
Grace's Law, a proposal to end the use of the gas chamber in GA shelters, passes the House and heads to Senate
23 Pitbulls seized in Oakland, CA are owned by someone with a prior dogfighting conviction
This video depicts a dog in obvious need of veterinary care (long overdue). It was allegedly shot inside the Webster County dog pound in KY. The conditions the surrounding dogs are living in are evident in the clip. After seeing the video and some photographs, the local TV station went to the pound with the KY state police. The dog warden, John Dunn, did not want the camera crew inside the pound and seemed to know who his friends in high places were right away:
Dunn: "You probably need to talk to the judge executive. Or the county attorney."
NEWS 25: "Okay, you can't tell us anything about those wounds on the dog, or the video that we saw?"
Dunn: "I'm not collaborating on none of it."
Good to know. The news crew pressed on:
The outside pens reek of urine and feces...we see it in the cages. Food and water bowls are too high for little dogs. One of the older dogs won't stop whimpering
NEWS 25: "You're saying there's nothing going on in here?"
Dunn: "No. I try to help every dog I can help. I mean I don't know who put this out on the Internet, that's just dirt. They're trying to pull up a lot of problems."
"People's getting real nosey, than what they should be. Because they don't know what goes on in this facility," Dunn says.
The judge executive never returned our call or acknowledged our request to go inside the pound.
Based on what the KY state police saw inside the pound, one count of animal cruelty - a misdemeanor in KY - was filed against the warden. And it seems he does indeed know who his friends are:
Judge Executive Townsend said that he has no plans to remove John Dunn as dog warden.
And in fact:
One day after NEWS 25 broke the story, we decided to head back to Webster County, to question the Judge Executive about the dog pound. Thursday, Kentucky State Police charged John Dunn, the county's dog warden, with animal cruelty. A day later, the Judge Executive told us it's all a mistake.
Judge Executive Jim Townsend stands by Dunn, calling him the best warden Webster County has ever seen.
The BFFs gave their side of the story to the local news:
"We need a new facility," Webster County Judge Executive Jim Townsend said. "We know that, but we just don't have the finances to do it."
The pound only has eight pens, and many are filled with several dogs.
Also, at the entrance to the facility, there are two large freezers holding dead animals.
"When you come into the door, the first thing you see is a freezer," Dunn said. "That is no good, I know that."
"That is a disturbing thing," Townsend said.
You know what else is disturbing? The Good Ol' Boys Club in the South. Just sayin'.
Compassionate members of the community are pooling resources to try and help the dogs at the pound.
There is another article in the local paper regarding allegations of cruelty at the Robeson Co Animal Shelter (RCAS). It's basically a he said/she said type deal with the shelter manager countering one eyewitness report with this handy retort:
“She did not witness anything. What she thinks she saw was not the truth.”
Beyond the back and forth, there are a couple of noteworthy items:
Robeson Co is paying for the HSUS to come down and evaluate the shelter. Part of the expense is being covered by a "grant" although the article doesn't give any details on that. It seems a shame that a shelter with less than a $400k annual budget would spend money on getting an evaluation from an organization that does not operate a single shelter. Since RCAS kills roughly 4000 of the 6000 pets they take in each year, I would think they'd want to spend their money on consultants who actually shelter and save pets. But what do I know?
The article ends with the county and Rachelle Dudgeon, a shelter critic, enthusiastically blaming the public for the killing:
One point the county and Dudgeon agree on unequivocally is that the shelter’s problems start with pet owners: “These animals wouldn’t even be in the shelter if people took care of them,” Dudgeon said.
County officials and animal rights advocates both emphasize the necessity of spaying and neutering animals and properly identifying them with collars and tags, which would reduce the number of animals that have to be euthanized.
“Everyone needs to understand that everything that is happening is preventable,” Dudgeon said.
There will always be pets in shelters. Pet owners become incapacitated/die, stray animals reproduce, etc. The idea that if everyone just did what I said, we'd have no need for shelters is fatally flawed.
Preventing unintentional breedings and putting ID on pets are fine ideas but those things are not going to stop the killing.
What is preventable is killing healthy/treatable pets. And you don't have to pay HSUS to tell you that.
"PETA does not maintain an animal shelter. PETA has a couple -- we call them 'quarantine rooms' -- which are used to house animals that are held for one reason or another. And animals who are, who have a chance for adoption, are usually fostered in private homes. We do not have a public facility that's open to the public where people can stroll through and pick an animal. That's not a service that we are able to provide. We're an office building."Did you ever hear anyone who supposedly cares about animals make pet adoption sound so dirty? "...[P]eople can stroll through and pick an animal" - eww, those filthy people who want to adopt pets. Look how they stroll though like they have some kind of right to save a pet. And then they pick an animal they want to care for and love. It makes me sick!
We are about to be evicted from our premises. We need to fundraise and FAST.To paraphrase, give us a million bucks or we'll kill every last one of these pets.
We desperately need $1 million US to buy the Sanctuary before March 31st. If not and heaven forbid, we may have to put down all the dogs and cats we shelter. That's over 100 dogs and 25+ cats. Please pass this on to anyone and everyone - local and overseas. Anyone with any fundraising suggestions, solutions or investors/donators - PLEASE contact us[...]
Pepper plans to join the Animal Services Advisory Board for a public discussion next Tuesday on the issue of spaying and neutering. The meeting is scheduled for March 16th at 4pm at Memphis City Hall.I sincerely hope Mr. Pepper will be speaking in favor of low/no cost spay neuter programs for Memphis and against the mandatory spay-neuter proposals on the table:
Councilman Shea Flinn is proposing an ordinance that would require all dogs and cats owned by Memphis residents to be altered, with several exemptions. The proposed law is in response to the overpopulation of animals in the city, which has led to a euthanasia rate in the Memphis Animal Shelter of more than 79 percent.Again, this meeting is open to the public and you may speak if you wish. MSN doesn't decrease shelter killing. Sometimes it increases the killing. Only comprehensive reform will reduce the killing in Memphis. And if Memphis is looking for funding for low/no cost neuter, look no further than your own backyard:
For months you've been paying three Memphis Animal Shelter employees to sit at home. All of them were suspended in the latest scandal at the facility.
Memphis taxpayer and attorney Bryan Mauldin doesn't understand why the three employees are still collecting a paycheck, while they're off the job. Mauldin says “Our shelter has limited resources and we can't afford to squander that money.”
The 4 pitbulls seized from the active dog fight were impounded at the Memphis Animal Shelter Thursday night. Director Matthew Pepper says the condition of the dogs shows it wasn't their first fight and it's too early to tell what will happen to them.
"Some violent and aggressive tendencies have been ingrained in them so, it's difficult for us to determine what we can safely do with them," Pepper said.
Well you could start by getting the dogs a fair evaluation from an experienced group or individual. These dogs have been rescued and placed in your care MAS. Whatever they've been forced to do in the past is over. Do not judge them on the cruelty of their abusers. They are each individual dogs with needs and abilities all their own. Violence and aggression are not "ingrained" in them. Judge them with a kind eye, as you would any dog who's been rescued from abuse. Don't allow your judgment to be clouded by preconceived notions.
Mr. Pepper wants a chance to show he can turn around the MAS. I hope he gives these 4 dogs a chance too. Every dog deserves a fair evaluation.
Bass said that at one time, the shelter was putting down 90 to 95 percent of the animals that came through its doors because of too little space and too few adoptions.Where is this "too little space" issue? It's not evident to me from these inspection reports.
There are three animal control officers and three employees at the shelter — with some contract assistance — who take care of the animal needs of a human population of nearly 130,000 people in the largest county in the state. They are typically stressed and stretched. By and large, they remain conscientious of their duty to the residents and the animals. The constant probing and prodding take away any satisfaction in the job.While the opposing sides are far apart, I'm sure most everyone will agree that working towards continued improvement is a worthwhile effort. I wonder if the shelter could make its practices more transparent to the public and thus reduce the perceived "probing and prodding" referred to in the letter. Public shelters should be accountable to the public to my mind. If there was more transparency in the sheltering world, it would go a long way toward reassuring the community that pets are being well cared for which is the main concern I think.
Is it perfect? Absolutely not. It is good though, it adheres to all standards and licensure requirements, but it could be better. We continue to move toward that goal.
[William] Stewart's criminal activities were first discovered by White County authorities when they responded to a fire at a barn on his property Thursday night. After the smoke dissipated, they say they discovered evidence of dog fighting, two boa constrictors, more than 100 marijuana plants each worth $1,000, a trailer dubbed "The Romance Club," nearly 40 loaded weapons and anti-government pamphlets.William Stewart was reportedly known in dogfighting circles as "Rushin' Bill" and published a dogfighting magazine called The Pitbull Reporter for many years.
Deputies Thursday found a pit bull fighting ring, two dogs and enough chains for 40 more.The two dogs were saved.
Deputies say all the weapons were loaded proving Stewart was ready to defend his property, but they say he killed himself before there was any confrontation.
I know what the caged bird feels.
Ah me, when the sun is bright on the upland slopes,
when the wind blows soft through the springing grass
and the river floats like a sheet of glass,
when the first bird sings and the first bud ops,
and the faint perfume from its chalice steals.
I know what the caged bird feels.
I know why the caged bird beats his wing
till its blood is red on the cruel bars,
for he must fly back to his perch and cling
when he fain would be on the bow aswing.
And the blood still throbs in the old, old scars
and they pulse again with a keener sting.
I know why he beats his wing.
I know why the caged bird sings.
Ah, me, when its wings are bruised and its bosom sore.
It beats its bars and would be free.
It's not a carol of joy or glee,
but a prayer that it sends from its heart's deep core,
a plea that upward to heaven it flings.
I know why the caged bird sings.
Lee County Coroner Alford Elmore told The Item of Sumter that an autopsy Friday showed that Ethel Horton had an enlarged heart and died before the dog did much damage to her.
[C]ourt records filed in Harris County show that -- even though much of the dog fighting was caught on videotape and witnessed by law enforcement officers -- prosecutors doled out light sentences because, in most instances, the defendants were spectators, and were not witnessed entering dogs in fights. (Participants in dog fights can face up to two years in prison; spectators can get a year in jail and a $4,000 fine).Well I guess we'll chalk that one up as a FAIL. And we can toss it on the pile of 187 dog carcasses left to rot in a landfill after Houston SPCA killed them without even having them evaluated.
But in some of those cases, even defendants who officers witnessed entering dogs into fights had their charges dropped -- like William Stanforth, who was indicted on three charges of felony dog fighting, only to have two charges dismissed and receive deferred adjudication for the third. And then there's Albert Ramirez, who a grand jury said "unlawfully, intentionally and knowingly cause a dog to fight with another dog" in October 2008, and whose case was dismissed a month later.
Others who were sentenced to time in Harris County Jail were allowed to serve during off-work hours; some of those who were charged were never even arrested. Some had criminal records, like a man who was sentenced to 20 days for being a spectator, and who had previous convictions of assault of a family member, felony weapon possession, burglary of a vehicle, and auto theft.
On March 6, 2009, Darrick Ford was convicted on two separate charges of misdemeanor dog fighting -- he was a spectator -- and received a two day sentence for each. He also received a two-day credit for each. So things worked out well for Ford.
Ford got off much easier than Urias Contreras, who was sentenced to four whole days on one charge. Contreras was originally charged with felony dog fighting -- meaning he actually caused one dog to fight with another -- but the prosecutor lowered the charge to a misdemeanor.
[Animal Cruelty Prosecutor Belinda] Smith, who called the 2008 sting the biggest undercover operation in the country, has been vocal about her determination to bring dog fighters to justice. [emphasis added]
Hi!! I have three puppies that are ready for new homes. There is one boy and two girls. Their mama is a Newfoundland mix and the daddy is a Chow/Lab mix. These are very beautiful babies, and they are the sweetest things in the world. I would keep them but I have to feed their mama and her mama, which is the Newfoundland and they eat alot.
[A] reported owner of seven pits, was charged with assault and battery today after attacking our news photographer. We discovered that 27-year-old Eric Martin has a record that includes a criminal domestic violence charge. When we broadcast this story, he was being held at the York County jail with no bond because of an outstanding warrant from another law agency.
Eleven of the 13 dogs deputies found in February near a pit used to fight dogs have been euthanized for humane reasons, said Dr. Sonya McCathey, a veterinarian with York County Animal Control.
The other two dogs were released to a rescue group, she said.
Less than a week after a U-Haul truck dumped more than 20 pit bulls at the Greenville County Animal Care Services shelter, the dogs have found new homes.
Shelter manager Shelly Simmons said more than 21 families came in after the story ran on WYFF News 4 and WYFF4.com on Monday.
"We had many other inquiries ... over the phone and we've had several rescue agencies come forward and say that they'll take what doesn't get adopted," Simmons said.
Now, [Will] Harlee [the dogs' owner] says Animal Care and Control needs to be held accountable for its mistake, and he still has questions without answers.
"I need to know why and who," he said. "I want somebody to lose their job over this. I need an impression that this can't happen to anybody else."
I would take it a step further and say the community needs to be reassured that in fact, the shelter knows what is going on under its own roof. Otherwise, what are taxpayers paying for?
Animal Care and Control says it's working on better communication.Are we talking smoke signals and carrier pigeons or what? It really isn't that hard to find out how these two dogs were killed. If nothing else, the AC supervisor could jump up on the counter and yell out, "Raise your hand if you killed 2 Pitbulls recently!". That should get the ball rolling.
South Carolina Code of Laws - Title 47, Chapter 3, Article 13, Section 47-3-710: (C) An animal is not a "dangerous animal" solely by virtue of its breed or species.
MYTH: American Pit Bull Terriers lock their jaws.
Dr. Brisbin: "The few studies which have been conducted of the structure of the skulls, mandibles and teeth of pit bulls show that, in proportion to their size, their jaw structure and thus its inferred functional morphology, is no different than that of any breed of dog.
There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of any kind of "locking mechanism" unique to the structure of the jaw and/or teeth of the American Pit Bull Terrier.
National Research Council has a pdf pamphlet available called "Your Dog's Nutritional Needs - A Science-Based Guide for Pet Owners"***