Internal audit shows harsh realities at Memphis Animal Shelter - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Internal audit shows harsh realities at Memphis Animal Shelter

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - An internal audit of the Memphis Animal Shelter reveals major problems with the handling of money and pharmaceuticals.

The audit was completed approximately three and a half months before Mayor A C Wharton took office.  On his first day as mayor, Wharton allowed investigators into the shelter.

On the favorable side, the audit found revenues were properly recorded, staff members followed purchasing guidelines, and computer data was reliable.

But there were some harsh realities.  For instance, the audit shows there was no formal policy to accept donations, and a need to improve the safeguarding and accountability of shelter money.

Auditors found Memphis Animal Services had no written cash handling policies, no written policies to remove system access for former employees, and every person in the shelter could void transactions in the shelter's financial management system at any time, without a supervisor. 

The audit also found that cashiers in the adoption booth did not maintain documents used to verify cash when they turned over their cash drawers to take a break.

The audit went on to highlight problems with pharmaceuticals.  The shelter uses the drug Ketamine to anesthetize the animals when they are put down.  It's the same chemical found in a date rape drug, and is used in small doses by ravers in nightclubs.

The audit shows Memphis Animal Services had no formal policy for safeguarding and accountability for pharmaceuticals.  The drugs were maintained in unlocked cabinets, veterans didn't know who had keys to those cabinets, and auditors found the back door of the clinic with the drugs was open six out of eight times.

Also, no one changed the combination to the clinic safe, and out of 108 drug invoices reviewed, 106 had no signature of the person receiving the order.

The audit is no doubt part of the Shelby County Sheriff's Office investigation, and Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons has said he expects someone will be charged for problems at the shelter.

But the investigation is still underway.

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