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Memphis animal advocates call out mayor’s willingness to review MAS applications

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Some organizers of Memphis-based animal groups did not believe the mayor's call to send him applicants for the top job at Memphis Animal Services.

"I knew that it just wasn't the truth," said Cindy Marx-Sanders, Co-founder of Community Action for Animals.

This week, the mayor explained James Rogers never applied to lead Memphis Animal Services.

He said a role change would not hurt Rogers' feelings.

"I want somebody to put up or shut up," the Mayor said Thursday.

Still, the mayor said he was overall pleased with Rogers' performance.

Rogers' suspension was recently overturned.

The city's initial disciplinary report said Rogers authorized the euthanasia of a rottweiler, whom he had agreed to save to be featured in a magazine article.

Marx-Sanders and Save Our Shelter Memphis Co-Chair, Sylvia Cox, told WREG the last round of hiring brought at least two excellent alternatives.

"She [an applicant] contacted a large national organization who hand-delivered her resume to the city and said, 'I am handing you a pot of gold,'" Marx-Sanders recalled.

That candidate reportedly had experience overhauling a Nashville rescue organization.

The other spoke on the phone with Marx-Sanders Friday.

The second candidate ran a large municipal shelter in Kentucky.

Marx-Sanders said that candidate drove from Kentucky to Memphis City Hall asking why she never even got an interview.

"Let's get the record straight. Qualified applicants have applied. They just haven't ever been interviewed," Marx-Sanders said.

"We're telling people in the community, if you want to apply for this job, contact the mayor's office," Cox said.

Rogers said he did not want to comment Friday.

A representative for the mayor said he was not aware of any new applications submitted to the mayor's office Friday.

MAS recently made headlines again when two inmates allegedly sprayed toxic chemicals on cats, killing one of them.

Rogers said MAS no longer let inmates help.

MAS said it was proud because every month this year, except June, more animals were adopted than euthanized.