Shelter Leader, Activists Appear to Find Common Ground

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(Memphis)    After the recent arrests of three Memphis Animal Shelter workers, and new video that surfaced showing a shelter worker improperly using a catch pole, animal activists and the shelter’s new leader could be finding some common ground. 

At his first public meeting with the shelter’s advisory board and animal activists, Interim Memphis Animal Shelter Director James Rogers noted intense retraining that has been going on at the shelter for the last few weeks, including how to properly use a catch pole.

“I want them to have real compassion, mercy, to give aid and support to someone that is hurting and needs support,” Rogers said, referring to shelter employees.  “That’s our mission to take care of these animals and have compassion on them.”

“I’m feeling good confidence right now that he is going to do what he says he is going to do,” said Save Our Shelter’s Sylvia Cox.  “If he manages those people properly, they will properly take care of those animals.”

Activists also scored a win when the shelter’s advisory board agreed to add a security camera to the euthanasia room, an effort to prevent the cruelty that lead to the recent arrests of three shelter workers.

While the dozens of people in the audience were looking for change, a well known Memphis pastor hopes to soon change the conversation, saying the animal talk is getting out of control.

“It is a very important issue and I do send my heart out to those who love animals.  Animals are a part of the family.  But we must love people.  We must put God’s priority and human rights above that of animal rights,” said Pastor Keith Norman.

Shelter leaders say more changes to come include more adoption opportunities, partnerships with local weight watching groups that will pair people trying to lose weight with dogs to walk, and an agility course to better train and socialize shelter dogs.