Wharton: Euthanizations to be halted at Memphis Animal Shelter - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Wharton: Euthanizations to be halted at Memphis Animal Shelter

By Jason Miles - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Barbara Clemons has a new Chow puppy from Memphis Animal Services.

"Her name is Asia," Clemons said Wednesday. "She's very lucky, going to a new home with a big yard and where she can roam free."

Asia's new owner is afraid she might have ended up like the starving dog in graphic photos which sparked an investigation into alleged abuses at Memphis Animal Services.  The investigation included last week's raid.

"I had never seen anything like that before," Clemons said about the photos.

Nearly always eloquent, A C Wharton could barely put his reaction into words.

"I don't know how to describe it," Wharton said Wednesday.

But he promised drastic changes are still on track.  He's starting with an immediate halt on all euthanizations at the shelter until he's satisfied every attempt to reach an owner has been exhausted.

"In other words, a check, check, and re-check," Wharton said.

Personnel changes he plans to announce Friday could include an end to shelter director Ernie Alexander's tenure.

"I am not satisfied with the management," Wharton said.  "I will put it that way."

So far, Alexander has refused to address the abuse investigators believe took place under his watch.  Action News 5 failed to get past a door Alexander keeps locked at the shelter, and was told he was not available for an interview.

Mayor Wharton plans to properly address the public outcry.

"We're looking at everything," he said. "We're looking at everybody."

Wharton plans to cease stray animal retrieval when overcrowding at the shelter is an issue.  Crews finished installing new surveillance cameras Wednesday.  Activists plan a vigil outside the shelter Thursday night.

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