Animal Advocates to Protest Dismissal of Former Shelter Director's Charges

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Ernie Alexander
  • Ernie Alexander

Members of Save Our Shelter-Memphis (SOS) will be holding a peaceful demonstration on Saturday, April 27th at noon at the corner of Poplar and Highland to protest the district attorney's office's decision to drop animal cruelty charges against former Memphis Animal Services (MAS) director Ernie Alexander and supervisor Tina Quattlebaum.

The DA's office announced last week that it would not prosecute Alexander and Quattlebaum for charges that stemmed from a 2009 Shelby County Sheriff's Office-led raid at Memphis Animal Services that revealed dogs dying of starvation.

According to a statement from the Shelby County district attorney's office, the charges were dropped due to lack of cooperation of key witnesses, a lack of direct evidence of the defendants’ contact with the animal victims, budget constraints that were placed on MAS by the city administration at that time, and because both Alexander and Quattlebaum made attempts to notify their supervisors about shelter conditions. Based on those factors, the DA's office determined that prosecution would not have a "reasonable likelihood of success."

Members of SOS wants the former administrators to be held responsible: "SOS Memphis implores the City of Memphis and the Shelby County Attorney General to prosecute all documented animal cruelty cases to the full extent of the law and to request the Courts to sentence the full terms of imprisonment and fines allowed by Tennessee Law with regard to aggravated and misdemeanor animal cruelty."

They're also asking the city to implement an employee review process for workers at MAS. According to SOS's press release about the protest, "Due to lack of documentation and lack of action taken, two MAS employees are still on the job despite watching animals being tortured and doing nothing. Mistakes attributed to 'clerical errors' continue to occur, resulting in animals that are missing or unnecessarily dying while in the care of MAS."

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