Rescue groups can now photograph animals at MAS before review date

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Rescue groups like Memphis Pets Alive can now photograph animals in both the adoption and healthy hold areas of Memphis Animal Services.

Animals that come in as strays spend 72 hours in the healthy hold area, and are technically neither city property nor listed for adoption.

Memphis Pets Alive used to shoot pictures every week to help promote adoption and to reunite lost pets with owners.

But the group says recently, a 2009 policy banning rescue groups from taking photos of animals considered strays began to be enforced.

This sparked a demand for change, so the city reviewed the photo policy and adjusted it “based on MAS’s mission to get animals adopted or reunited with owners as quickly as possible.”

The city says the photos may be shared on social media sites for lost and found, adoption, and pet placement purposes.

However, rescue groups can’t share ‘private’ information, like microchip data, listed on animals’ kennel cards.

The city stressed that the photos may “not be used in any negative campaign or propaganda against Memphis Animal Services.”

Also made clear was that rescue groups who have found placement for an animal must transfer it from MAS no later than two business days from the 72-hour holding period.

If the animal isn’t moved within that time, “MAS will have to adhere to city ordinance in the disposition of the animal, which may include humane euthanasia.”

MAS does not post photos of stray animals at the facility online.


  • Thomas H. Evans

    No surprise here, especially as we head toward an election year. Why don’t we just turn the shelter over to these animal lovers who will never be satisfied no matter what is done at this facility.

  • Sylvia Cox

    Thank you, Channel 3, for reporting on this issue.

    The citizens of Memphis raised their voices about the bad decision of ‘no photos’ of healthy hold dogs, and the city heard them.

    This is a step in the right direction and thanks to the Mayor’s office for reviewing this issue.

    But there are other problems – there are strays being held in an area where NO one from the public can even see them (let alone photograph them). Why?

    Too many strays are being killed ON the morning of their due out date (when their holding period is over) before the shelter opens to the public. JUST because someone doesn’t express interest in 3 days should NOT be an automatic death sentence on the fourth morning! Give more strays MORE time to be seen to help them reunite with their owners or get adopted, The shelter is RARELY, if ever, “full” and the unnecessary killing of adoptable animals needs to stop.

    Follow your own policies, MAS, of NOT killing a stray dog on its due out date when someone HAS expressed interest in adopting that dog.

    We still have a shelter director/administrator with a track record of poor and inadequate leadership skills, with no shelter experience, and who does not hold employees accountable for policy violations and abuse.

  • Roni

    Thank you for covering this story. With the shelter, it seems like we are always going backwards instead of forward. Now we are back where we were a month ago. There has been no real progress, we are just back at status quo. I’m not convinced this is reason to celebrate. Now let’s make some real, forward thinking changes at the shelter.

  • LAS

    Thank you for reporting on the animal shelter and please keep up the great work! While this is great to correct a bad policy (only recently enforced by Rogers), the animals in the stray area of the shelter have little or no chance. They not only can’t have pictures taken of them — but the public cannot view them as well.

  • Amanda Irwin

    We need to continue to support animal welfare and keep an eye on MAS!!! Great job to all of our wonderful rescue peeps here in Memphis TN!!!

  • Joyce Erexson

    Thank you for giving this matter media attention! I hear from FB friends all over the country how disgusting that the shelters in Tennessee are,especially the Memphis one!

  • Beth Spencer

    What happened to the security cameras? With its history of abuse, neglect and noncompliance, MAS needs to be monitored CLOSELY. While it’s great that the ban on photos in healthy hold was lifted, let’s not forget that there’s an entire section of the facility that is off limits to rescues. What’s going on in those areas? Why isn’t photography allowed there? I think a more thorough investigation is needed.

  • Lisa

    Thank you so much for reporting this story. You have helped to save many canine lives. PLEASE keep reporting the injustices done at this shelter. It could be such a better place if only those in charge would put their feet down and make the right decisions for the animals.

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