Sunday, June 19, 2011

Memphis Sinking

If you check out the sites in the blogroll to the right, you may also have been experiencing a daily dose of abject misery via Shirley Thistlewaite over at YesBiscuit, and courtesy of the devoted public servants at the Memphis, TN municipal animal shelter.

These are the same animal-care professionals who intentionally starved dogs to death two years ago. Had to be raided by the county sheriff, they did. Cuz they are the guys who are supposed to investigate and prosecute the kind of knuckle-draggers who would abuse an animal that way. Tricksy.

One consequence of the documented criminal animal cruelty and evidence-tampering at the "shelter" was the installation of webcams in the corridors. And that's what Shirley has been posting just about every day; still images of MAS employees dragging dogs to their deaths, hoisting big dogs into small cages using choke poles, chuckling on their way to the kill room, poking caged kitties. You know. Good times.

Xeroxed poster taped up in the MAS break room: You don't have to be sociopathic to work here, but it helps!

These people know they are on camera. What happens inside the runs, in the blind spots, inside the killing room just before over 70% of the animals who cross the threshold breathe their lonely, frightened last breaths?

One thing Shirley has been doing is trying to spring some of the dogs spotted on the cameras back in the "stray hold" area.

Now, one might think that "stray" animals brought to a publicly-funded animal shelter might be made available to people who are, you know, searching for their lost pets.

Nope. No public access. No photos. Tough luck.

MAS posts about 10% of the animals in its custody on Petfinder. Or rather, they graciously permit someone else to do so on their behalf.

If you are "in back," you are SOL, goggie. The man with the snare pole has some nice juice for you down the hall.

Shirley writes to the new, improved shelter director pretty regularly, trying to find out about dogs on the webcams. By way of answer, MAS kills them.

Also by way of answer, the City of Memphis, via its city attorney, makes baseless, bullying, unconstitutional threats intended to intimidate a citizen into silence about the official conduct of public employees on the taxpayer's dime.

Just thought people should know about this. Maybe people such as the Tennessee ACLU. The Fourth Estate. At the very least, the voters of Memphis, who pay the salary of the mayor, the MAS employees, and the city attorney who billed y'all for his efforts in finding an obscure (and wholly irrelevant) law in another state with which to threaten a citizen engaged in protected speech.

This pathetic attempt at a tax-funded SLAPP on a citizen of another state is the exact kind of government misconduct that engendered the First Amendment.

If you don't give a fig about public employees abusing lost and homeless pets, or a rat's ass about lazy, venal shelter bureaucrats who rationalize and justify their choice to slaughter dogs and cats by blaming everybody but the ones who, you know, decide to kill them -- well, #1, what the hell are you doing here? and #2, you should bloody well care when a government agency responds to citizen criticism with abuse and illegal threats.

Meanwhile, for Shirley, consider this empty threat, leveled on lawyer letterhead, against a friend of mine who took the lead in exposing a fraudulent "search and rescue" product that was already being sold to public agencies.

I was threatened by officers of the law in two states for my own role in debunking the whizzboxes.

Thirteen years later, funny thing, we are still here, still standing behind our words.

Because the last thing a bloviating liar wants is to have to keep all those lies straight while up on a witness stand.



For some reason Pitt is posting a "page not found" for the threatening letter on my friend Keith's personal website. The link is here: and it seems to work if it is not embedded in the text. At worst, cut and paste it.

The story is blowing up the blogosphere; please circulate it as widely as possible. I figure that Shirley is best able to keep the roll of links updated. So far, nothing from the "traditional" media.

The new chipin is here.

I've thrown in a few bucks, what I can spare at the moment. I know things are tight for most everybody. But every little bit helps.


  1. The link to the empty threat letter appears to be slightly gebroken.

  2. The University of Pittsburgh link is dead, FYI.

    What a despicable situation, especially the letter Shirley received. I'm definitely not proud to be an Ohioan some days, but I'd be damn near ashamed of myself if I lived in Memphis right now!

  3. Weird.

    I find it easily by googling, but it won't take the link:

  4. I've been following this from YesBiscuit - because it's so close to home - make that - is my home. I work in Memphis and (thankfully) live in another state. Part of the reason I choose to have a 60+ mile commute everyday is the backwards, crooked politics that plague this city... most politicians around here don't need any brown nosers - they kiss their own rears just fine. Proof of that is in Operation Tennessee Waltz or inebriated pole dancing council member with a fake driver's license.
    I don't discourage anyone from writing the Memphis council or the Mayor, I just want you all to be aware of what type of people you will be contacting and be prepared for the unbelievable.

    Animal neglect by public departments isn't found in just the shelter. Shelby Farms Park just about won the award for bad management with their bison herd. If it wasn't for a grass-roots Facebook lead campaign those poor beasts would at death's door if not dead. Thankfully the Parks Management are not Memphis Politicians and apparently have only slightly deaf ears.

  5. Erin-- SO TRUE!!!!! I unfortunately live in this cesspool.

  6. There is a new setting that will disallow hotlinking to certain files, pages or attachments on your site. I assume Pitt has it enabled.

    That would explain why cutting and pasting still works.

    Shirley is my hero, btw. And donation happily made.


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