Man says animal shelter worker left dog inside a car to shop

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SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. -- A man claims an animal shelter employee left a dog locked up in his work vehicle while he went shopping.

He took pictures and put them on Facebook. They got a lot of attention, so WREG started asking questions.

News Channel 3 spoke to the man, who said he couldn't ignore the dog left inside a Memphis Animal Services truck outside a Kroger in Cordova.

"I noticed a dog in there, and he went in the store," he said of the MAS employee.

The side door was open, which is standard MAS procedure, but the man thinks it was not enough to keep the pup cool.

"I checked the temperature on my car, and it said it was 85 degrees," he said. "I sat in my car and waited for the man to come out, probably about ten minutes."

James Rogers, the director of MAS, told WREG the employee was making a "comfort stop" to use the restroom, which they are allowed to do.

However, the man who took the pictures said that's not what he saw.

"I followed him around the store," he said. "He was in the floral department buying some kind of floral vase set or something."

MAS also said the employee left the engine running with the air conditioning on. However, he left the vehicle unlocked, a violation MAS said it will be dealing with administratively.

The man who took the photos said he does not remember hearing the engine running.

"He was panting if you look at the pictures," he said of the dog. "He could have been stolen. I easily could have walked up and taken the dog out of the truck. He could have been dehydrated and dead by the time they found him."

Rogers said MAS will continue to investigate, but with a history that includes dogs being euthanized after they are adopted, the man said he's not putting much faith in them.

"I feel bad for the dogs," he said. "They get taken to MAS, and it's a death sentence."


  • Who Cares

    Obviously a slow news day…It says the employee left the engine running with the air conditioner running and he opened the side door. Now if he was in there for 30 minutes, I could understand, but he said 10 minutes. MAS is far from the model animal shelter, but this story seems a bit much…Sorry..

    • L Baker

      People that PAY taxes CARE !!! People that advocate against senseless killing of animals, CARE !!! People who see the City government departments run by inexperienced people CARE!! And most of all People with HEARTS care.

  • Mary M

    Considering the pattern of the stories coming out of the shelter, tax payers should care because that’s their government agency being cited AGAIN in a negative light. If you want to create a positive community, caring about the most defenseless would be an obvious place to start.

    Keep the pressure on! Worst to first!!

  • Bonnie Sweat

    WHO CARES…I CARE! sure what does it matter..just leave kids and animals in hot cars, it was only ten minutes. isnt that what they all say when they drag the lifeless bodies outta cars, “but it was only a few minutes”…”it wasnt that hot”…the employee also said he left the car running, the same employee that lied and said it was a bathroom break…really!! how can anyone rationalize thus behavior!

  • Paula Lutts

    AMEN! Bonnie Sweat , to your response to who cares! I couldn’t have said it better! I Commend Channel 3 & KATIE RUFENER for reporting the Errors that MAS continues to make on a Daily Bases. Not all of them make the News!
    That man in the story could have not said it any better when he said ” Animals that go to MAS, are given a Death Sentence!”
    The Pat Answers from Rogers are “Clerical Error” & “Training Our Employees” (Yet same Mistakes Over & Over Again!). Taxpayers, not just Animal Advocates, Need to Attend the MAS Advisory Board Mtg. on Wed. Oct. 8th at the Main Library at 6:00. See how Your Tax Dollars are being Wasted & the Statics of Animals being Killed versus Adopted by MAS. The Animal Shelter is supported by Your Tax Dollars so Step Up!

  • Mattie

    Thank you for
    this story.
    No one should leave a dog in a hot car, much less someone who has been charged with keeping animals off the street and out of danger.

  • Rude Druid

    These are Willie Herenton’s workers, straight out of the dog-fighting culture.

    We have NOT cleaned house at MAS, and it needs to be done. DONE.

    Zero tolerance for people from the dog-abusing culture.

  • Tina Steele

    Rogers said “all animals inside the truck at that time were all healthy and ready to be adopted or returned to their owner”. Really? So now they take random dogs out of the shelter that have been there for their healthy hold period, vaccinated and then put in that truck and the animal control officer was just taking them for a ride? Does he really think that tax payers are going to buy that line of bull? Time for a new director and staff.

  • MAS_sucks

    Thank you for your continuing coverage of Memphis Animal Services. This story is outrageous but I can’t say I’m surprised. Bad attitudes and deplorable work ethic consume the facility. Nothing the citizens do to demand change hits a nerve. The new shelter hours, beginning October 4th, will make the kill rate even more grim.

    Wharton, Hooks, Hall, & Rogers: this is completely unacceptable and so is your (lack of) leadership. Memphis deserves better than what you’re giving.

  • Pads For Paws (@padsforpaws)

    Memphis tax payers should be outraged! Animal Control Officers should be expected to do their jobs. What other fun activities are the ACO’s involved in while urgent calls go unanswered?

    This is pathetic, but what can you really expect when the Mayor hires his cronies to fill city positions. Wharton, Hooks, Hall and Rogers should all be tossed out!

    Thank you for bringing the continued mismanagement of MAS to the public’s attention.

  • L Baker

    It is truly a shame that MAS gets nothing BUT bad publicity. Citizens of Memphis deserve more from city government. For those who think this story was a waste, it is obvious that you have never had a true pet in your life. The rules at MAS change daily for whatever the situation is. The man who saw this sad situation to my knowledge is not even with an animal rescue group. He was a concerned citizen who saw WRONG being done. MAS has turned itself into the most highest ranked KILL shelter just for SPITE and it is obvious to most people who keep up with the waste of tax payer dollars. MAS is run by UNSKILLED people from Management all the way down through the staff. No one with any supervisory position has any experience with animals at all and appears their goal is to kill them all off just as fast as they reach intake. So many people try very hard to help them get the animals back to owners or find new homes and MAS fights against them daily. The worst part is, the Mayor ignores this waste of money as he spends the rest of it on useless other things and we honestly wonder why the city is broke???

  • buck

    I chose not to go on camera so I don’t get blacklisted from mas bc that would do more harm. I never said if the truck was running or not. But if the truck was left running I may not have worried about this issue. But why are they leaving city trucks running unattended? There’s another story there. Thank you for everyone’s support. I will continue to fight for our fur babies. We are their voice.

  • joseph

    Gee dude, if only you would spend as much time observing your fellow man as you would the well being of a dog, Memphis might stand a chance of becoming a better city to live in. I am not saying that I am not sensitive to the plight of the dog, it simply alarms me that people will flock to leave a comment about a situation such as this, while you will not see half as many comments due to a murder, domestic violence, armed robbery, gang violence, etc. etc.

  • anotherchris

    We have become desensitized to the “murder, domestic violence, armed robbery, gang violence, etc. etc.” you speak of. Certainly, feel free to comment on those perpetual situations and some of us will try to voice our concerns for these poor animals that have no voice.

  • Who cares

    I still say it’s a waste of news. MAS isn’t going to fire a unionized employee (do yall forget that most city jobs are union?) over something like this? All MAS trucks have Gps sensors on them that tell wether or not the engine is running. Director Rogers wouldn’t risk saying that the engine was running to the media unless he’d already checked this. These trucks are designed to transport animals on hot summer days and cold winter days. This isn’t your typical Toyota Camry with the window cracked. The engine was running, the a/c was on, the employee wasn’t in there longer than 10 minutes. Get a life people.

  • Sad

    MAS is hurting the image of Memphis again. They need to clean house and get people who care and show compassion toward defenseless animals. It’s apparent this employee could care less and should be fired!!! Better yet stick him in a hot vehicle with no way out and see how long he can last

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