MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com)-
Animal advocates are upset after a high-ranking Memphis City leader was recorded telling employees at the Memphis Animal Shelter to kill all pit bulls, or any dog that looks like a pit bull.
The direct order came last fall, just days after the Rotary Club released a controversial report about problems at MAS.
“God help any family that owns a dog that is a pit bull or anything that looks like a pit bull,” said Bryan Mauldin. Mauldin is an animal lover who has been critical of Memphis Animal Services.
On the recording, you hear the high ranking leader tell a supervisor, “I want you to euthanize every pit bull or every dog who looks like a pit bull whose time is up.”
Mauldin says, “If they are going to eradicate an entire breed it is apparent they will do anything to prevent the public from knowing what is going on at the shelter.”
The conversation was recorded in November. Records show that almost 270 pit bulls were killed that month. 244 were listed as being killed for space.
Memphis Animal Shelter Advisory Board member, Dr. Stephen Tower, admits the shelter kills almost all the pit bulls it takes in.
“Profiling them, maybe we are even profiling them for lack of a better word,” said Tower. “We are not putting a lot of pit bulls if any, up for adoption.”
Memphis City Public Services and Neighborhoods, the division over MAS, sent this statement to abc24.com, “MAS was not and has never euthanized every pit bull at the shelter just because it was a pit bull...
In this case, the shelter was at capacity, and management noticed an abundance of pit bulls in the facility. This is not uncommon. The pit bull population in Memphis continues to grow, and pit bulls and pit bull mixes represent the largest proportion of animals who enter MAS. Even MAS’ pit bull rescue partners are constantly at capacity, and the possibilities for adopting bully breeds into loving homes are limited.
Hard decisions have to be made at MAS every day. Owners come in to surrender family pets they no longer feel they can afford or take care of. Litters of puppies are dropped off by residents who find them by the side of the road. Animal control officers bring in strays, their fur matted and their bodies bone thin, from being in the wild. MAS would love to find new homes for all of the animals who enter the doors, but that is not always the outcome.
Based on the capacity of the shelter, the number of pit bulls that were housed at MAS at the time, the length of time they had been there, and the possibilities for adoption, the decision was made to euthanize pit bulls and pit bull mixes who had already been at MAS for longer than their allotted time.”