Local animal advocates said they are encouraged Alexis Amorose Pugh will bring needed change to Memphis Animal Services, especially considering her experience within the community.
Amorose Pugh has worked for Mid-South Spay and Neuter Services and the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County.
“I believe firmly in the humane treatment of all living things which is an attitude I plan to bring here to Memphis Animal Services,” said Amorose Pugh shortly after being officially introduced as the new executive director for MAS.
Mayor Jim Strickland highlighted Amorose Pugh’s work as executive director with Mid-South Spay & Neuter Services.
Strickland said she oversaw and managed all clinic operations. He went on to say under her watch the organization increased surgical productivity by 11 percent and generated more than $50,000 in new donor and grant-funding and implemented new customer service plans.
It will not be an easy job leading MAS considering it has been the subject of criminal investigations, dogs mistakenly euthanized more than once and claims of animal starvation that prompted a raid in 2009.
“I am an animal lover and an animal advocate and as long as we’re operating in the confines of public safety I’m going to do everything in my power to improve the outcome so more animals end up having a live-release and end up in a home,” said Amorose Pugh.
Speaking at a news conference Amorose Pugh emphasized a focus on public safety, strengthening partnerships with the local and national rescue community and increasing the live-release rate.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said 2009 the live release rate was 18 percent, currently it is more than 60 percent.
“We know we have more work to do but with Alexis’ energy, leadership and new ideas along with the commitment of our administration we’re confident in the bright future for Memphis Animal Services,” said Strickland.
Animal advocates like Sylvia Cox with Save Our Shelter Memphis, an advocacy and watchdog group, are encouraged by the new director’s history in the community.
“She’s local which means she knows is aware of the history of all the problems that have gone on at Memphis Animal Services. We’re looking forward to her being able to hold employees accountable for doing their job correctly,” said Cox.
Amorose Pugh said the long term goal is to make MAS more progressive shelter to the point they will not need to euthanize adoptable animals because of time or space.
Amorose Pugh begins her new role in June. She will report to Chief Operating Officer Doug McGowen.