Memphis Animal Services Launches New “Safety Net” Program

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Memphis Animal Services is launching a new “Safety Net” program, aimed at easing pet surrenders and helping lost pets find their way home.


Memphis, Tenn., May 1, 2017 – Memphis Animal Services today announced the MAS Safety Net Program, a set of initiatives designed to keep pets in their homes, both by helping to prevent loving pet owners from surrendering their pets and helping lost pets find their way home.

One major aspect of the MAS Safety Net Program is a change to the way MAS handles intake, including owned pets being surrendered by their owners and found pets being surrendered by citizens. Effective May 1, the MAS intake office will be open for stray surrender Tuesday through Saturday from 12 to 4 p.m., and those wishing to surrender must be in line by 3:30 p.m. People wishing to surrender their own pets may do so by appointment only; owner-surrender appointments will be made only on Wednesdays and Fridays. Stray surrender will also be available on those days, but the owner-surrender appointments will take priority. As always, the MAS intake office will be closed to the public on Sundays and Mondays.

People wishing to surrender their own pets will first be counseled via phone to educate them about potential alternatives to giving up their pets. These alternatives are also available on MAS’s website at on the “I Want to Surrender My Pet” page. The counseling will help make people aware of all the resources that are available to them, such as assistance with pet food, spay/neuter, and more. This “managed intake” approach was recommended by Target Zero, the national nonprofit for which Memphis is a fellow city in its mentorship aimed at eliminating time/space euthanasia in three years.

“We see so often people who love their pets and want to be able to keep them, but they lack access to some resource allowing that to be possible,” said Alexis Pugh, MAS administrator. “The goal of this program is to, firstly, keep pets in those kinds of loving homes, and secondly, reduce intake and leave more room for pets coming from homes where they truly aren’t cared for.”

Another new initiative under the MAS Safety Net Program is the shelter’s new volunteer-run NextDoor Proactive Reclaim program. Effective May 8, a team of volunteers will, five to seven days per week, review the previous day’s list of pets who were found stray and post each pet in the NextDoor neighborhood in which it was found, along with instructions for potential owners on how to reclaim that pet from MAS.

“We are hopeful that our NextDoor Proactive Reclaim program will help lost pets make it home more quickly, making more room in the shelter, and ultimately helping us continue to increase the number of animals we save,” said Pugh. “We ask citizens to be aware of what pets their neighbors have, watch NextDoor for our posts, and if you recognize a pet, help get in touch with that neighbor to let them know their pet is at MAS.”

Launching as part of the MAS Safety Net Program are electronic tablets in animal control vehicles on which animal services officers will track their field operations activities. Animal services officers with tablets are able to enter pets’ photos and information into the shelter database from the field, getting them online to for potential owners to see more quickly than before when they had to wait until the end of their shift to enter them once back at the shelter. MAS hopes the addition of the tablet technology to its field operations program will help them provide better customer service to citizens who lose their pets.

“Memphis Animal Services has consistently improved our save rate, or percentage of animals who leave the shelter with positive outcomes, over the last several years, jumping from 65 percent in 2015 to 74 percent in 2016, and up to 83 percent year-to-date in 2017,” said Pugh. “Our goal with these MAS Safety Net initiatives is to continue that upward trend to save as many lives as possible.”

Memphis Animal Services offers a wide range of programs and services including the sheltering of lost and homeless animals, pet adoption and placement, spay/neuter programs, handling of animal control complaints & bite cases, dog licensing, cruelty investigations, humane education, and more. For more information, visit, call 901-636-1416, or visit the facility at 2350 Appling City Cove.

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