Wharton Fires Animal Shelter Director

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At a press conference held at the animal shelter this morning, Mayor AC Wharton announced that Memphis Animal Services director Ernie Alexander's appointment has been rescinded.

Alexander, who was hired in March 2008 to fill the long-vacant director position, was let go after an investigation found inadequate administrative oversight, a lack of documentation on paperwork, and missing paperwork. Wharton said some of that paperwork pertained to the use of euthanasia drugs.

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"That has led to the unacceptable conditions here," said Wharton, standing outside the animal shelter.

The other three shelter employees who were placed on paid suspension after a shelter raid by the Shelby County Sheriff's office last week remain on paid leave.

Wharton announced that he's appointing Lucy Shaw as interim facility coordinator. Shaw once served as the CEO of the Med. Wharton said he's appointing a health care expert because, we're going to have the same level of care [for the animals] as you would want if you were taking your child or grandparent [to the hospital]." Shaw's first task will be to inspect the facility to determine a plan of action for improving shelter operations.

Wharton says he'll also be working with the Memphis City Council to restore funding for a shelter operations manager, a position that was recently slashed from the city budget.

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