Memphis Animal Services
Thank you, Bianca Phillips, for producing the most compelling evidence to date to support turning off the webcams at Memphis Animal Services ("Shelter in the Storm," September 8th issue). Your coverage was certainly graphic and disturbing. You have compiled some big numbers to substantiate your point of view. But here are some very small numbers for you and Memphis Flyer readers:
Number of animals ever adopted from Memphis Animal Services by anyone interviewed for this article: zero; number of interviewees who have ever volunteered at the shelter: zero; time actually spent at the shelter by those interviewed: less than an hour, total, in the last year; number of active volunteers interviewed for this article: zero; number of active (i.e., who have taken 20 or more dogs in the last year) rescue groups interviewed: zero; similarity of Memphis to Austin, Texas, on a scale of 1 to 10: zero; interest in finding out what is happening outside your computer: zero.
If anyone wants to adopt from the stray area, come in with a reputable rescue group and take as many as you can place in good homes. Rescue groups do this every single day while you are watching the webcams from the comfort and safety of your homes.
I've volunteered daily at Memphis Animal Services for more than six years. Matt Pepper was the best thing that has happened to MAS for years.
Eleanor Goodman Gipson
Bianca Phillips responds: An attempt was made to contact the volunteer coordinators at Friends of Memphis Animal Services, but there was no response. I did interview a couple of volunteers for the article, but they mostly complained about the volunteers' relationship with Friends of Memphis Animal Services. Without a response from the Friends group, I could not run any quotes from those interviews. The animal advocates who were interviewed for this story are responsible for bringing problems at Memphis Animal Services to light, and that's why they were chosen.
Many thanks to Bianca Phillips and the Memphis Flyer for the compelling and balanced story on Memphis Animal Services. Great and important work.
Correction: The Flyer incorrectly stated that the Memphis Animal Services Advisory Board had suggested the city no longer hire new shelter employees from the Second Chance program. Instead, the board has asked the city to no longer hire animal control officers from the program. The board's advice does not apply to other shelter positions.
Bikes on Madison
I was struck by the poignancy of the ads that ran in the August 31st issue. The stark advertisement read simply: "On August 12th, my father/husband/friend/son was killed" and featured a picture of a bike. If that's not a reason to promote bike lanes on Madison, I don't know what is. Those concerned with a loss of business from a three-lane option come across as mostly just resistant to change. As the wife of a licensed traffic engineer, I am well-aware of all the technical benefits, as well. After attending one of the meetings in July, I felt as though all sides of the issue had been carefully considered. The dedicated bike lane option just makes more sense.
Constitutional Sheriff's Bill
On August 31st, eight Tea Party leaders from across Tennessee met with state legislators at the Capitol and presented prioritized legislation. One item of legislation high on our priorities is the "Constitutional Sheriff's Bill." This bill would require that any federal law enforcement would be required to obtain written permission from the appropriate county sheriff before they would be allowed to search, seize, or arrest a resident of Tennessee.
The Constitution gives our sheriffs the last word in law enforcement in every county across America, and they are charged with protecting our Constitution. This would give our locally elected sheriff oversight involving federal law-enforcement actions in Tennessee, but it would not hamper a federal investigation.
The "Constitutional Sheriff's Bill" would prevent federal misadventures such as Ruby Ridge, Waco, or the idiotic department of injustice's raid on Gibson Guitar's manufacturing plants. How reasonable is it for agents to shut down a manufacturer for using wood that might violate a law in Madagascar? I would prefer our elected sheriffs make that decision than a federal government appointee who has likely never read our Constitution and is never held accountable.