(Memphis) The operations manager for Memphis Animal Services has been fired, following the accidental euthanasia of a missing dog.
Nola and Uno, dogs belonging to Cordova resident Victoria Henry, were picked up by Shelby County Animal Control officer after the two escaped their backyard.
They were brought to the Memphis Animal Shelter, where Director James Rogers said the county employee made a mistake with the date on a form.
A Memphis Animal Services employee then input the wrong date in the system, incorrectly showing that Nola had been there a whole month already. Because of this error, she was euthanized the next day.
“There was another employee that told her that it was wrong. She failed to correct it. That’s a problem,” Rogers said.
The city of Memphis confirmed one employee received a written reprimand. The city also said Operations Manager Chelton Beamon was terminated, due to “failure to perform the duties of his position.”
The city states Beamon was fired after a result of incidents stemming from before Nola’s euthanasia.
Rogers admits this is a warning sign to all employees to be held accountable for their jobs.
“It’s a culture there that there are no expectations. We’re changing that culture. We’re getting better. People are being held accountable,” he said.
But none of these words can bring Nola back. Her owners, Victoria Henry and her fiancé, Greg Knight, attended a packed meeting of the animal advisory board.
Knight stood up and said to Rogers, “One man can’t right a ship that’s sinking. But you have a multitude of resources.”
He added, “Just because someone chose not to do their job on that particular day, the dog is dead.”
Henry told News Channel 3 she would like to see the employee who had input the wrong date fired.
“It really upsets me because somebody even brought it to the person’s attention and they chose not to [change the date.] And I think that hurts just as bad as knowing I’ll never see my Nola again. She was my baby.”
Animal advocates grilled the advisory board, asking about operations and procedures. They specifically asked about access to video surveillance, which Henry was not able to view.
They also asked about the intake process, where Uno and Nola should have been scanned for microchips. If they had done that, they would have found a microchip on Uno, leading them back to their owners.
Rogers said the process is in place, but the employees did not follow the rules.
Debi Berry of Save Our Shelter Memphis said, “Taxpayers and animal advocates are sick and tired of this sort of thing happening. We want a shelter that everyone can be proud of.”
Memphis police are still investigating what happened in this case.
Rogers said more discipline of other employees could be coming. He has agreed to refund the $165 Henry paid in boarding fees when she picked up Uno. He has also offered to give her any dog in the shelter she wishes to adopt.