Animal advocates express concerns over new shelter leadership - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Animal advocates express concerns over new shelter leadership

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Animal advocates continue to have concerns about leadership at Memphis Animal Services.

Three employees are on currently on paid administrative leave following an October raid prompted by allegations of animal abuse at the shelter.

Activists are now questioning the appointment of the interim animal control officer supervisor, Demetria Hogan.

Hogan has had more than two dozen run-ins with the law.

Her predecessor, Ivan Russell, now on paid administrative leave, had one drug charge and one weapon charge. But Hogan's rap sheet is much longer.

She's a participant in a prison reentry program, but activists say the shelter is too tempting for a woman convicted of identity theft and a series of charges ranging from drug dealing to forgery and aggravated burglary.

"It's too much temptation," said Memphis Animal Coalition Founder Beverly King."You have narcotics out there, you have controlled substances."

King questions whether the animal shelter is the proper work environment for people from the prisoner reentry program.

"I think the city needs to take a read, hard second look at the Second Chance program and put those employees in other parts of the city," she said. 

City of Memphis Spokesman Bobby White says the new A C Wharton administration is making strides, but it takes time. 

White says the mayor stands behind the Second Chance program.

"If there isn't an opportunity for people who spent time in jail to make an honest living and provide for their families and themselves, we're not punishing them. We're as a community, punishing ourselves," he said.

White says the shelter remains under a microscope.

"We're looking closely not only at those Second Chance employees, but every employee at the animal shelter," he said.

A search is underway for a new shelter director. Click here to read the job description on the city's Web site.

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