Memphis Animal Services defends practices after animal abuse allegation

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Controversy on social media is causing Memphis Animal Services to defend its practices and the way it works with law enforcement.

Memphis Animal Services recently saved a family of puppies and yet still came under fire. Now, MAS wants to assure the community while it does everything it can to help save animals, it’s still required to follow the law.

The below video posted by All 4s Rescue League on Facebook is labeled an awareness post with a seemingly well-intended message, but it also contains accusations aimed at MAS related to abuse and neglect.

MAS admitted it visited the dogs last week and confirmed it found two dead dogs, but the puppies appeared to have died from natural causes.

MAS said the dogs' owner faces multiple counts of animal neglect due to unsatisfactory conditions.

When MAS agents left the home, the mother and puppies were taken inside the house. They said they helped that mother and her puppies to the best of their abilities.

“You hear from some of these same people that say if it was them, they would just go steal the dog," MAS Director Alexis Pugh said. "Well, we’re an agency charged with the enforcement of the laws, and we’re going to do everything in our power to enforce those laws and protect animals. But we have limits, too.”

MAS continued to do surprise welfare checks, finding each time the dogs were inside a warm home and getting adequate food. But as the puppies grew and costs like vaccines and food loomed, the family eventually gave up the animals, which are all now at MAS.

“We feel that this was the right way to act," Pugh said. "We didn’t violate this citizen’s rights. As much as I disagree with this, the law across the land says animals are property.”

Despite surrendering the dogs, the owner still faces multiple charges in court. MAS often works closely with Memphis Police, a relationship Pugh said both agencies work hard to respect and maintain.

“When they say we have to take these animals, police are there ready to go, ready to write the charges," Pugh said. "These are key components of having a relationship that works, and we’re seeing that relationship grow and strengthen all the time.”

WREG reached out to All 4s Rescue League but has not heard back.

As for the seven puppies at MAS, they still need to be kept with their mom, and MAS is looking for a rescue partner who can take the entire family while they continue to grow.

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