UPDATE: Three former Memphis Animal Shelter employees indicted

Ernest Alexander (Source: Albuquerque Police Department)
Ernest Alexander (Source: Albuquerque Police Department)

By Anna Marie Hartman - bio | email

Updates by Nick Kenney - bio | email


  • Three former shelter employees indicted, including former director
  • New administrator of shelter named
  • Third indicted animal shelter employee arrested in New Mexico

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The former director of the Memphis Animal Shelter was arrested Friday in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Shelby County Sheriff's Office Fugitive Bureau tracked Ernest Alexander to New Mexico.  The Albuquerque Police Department made the arrest Friday evening at Alexander's apartment.

Alexander did not resist arrest and said he was aware that authorities were looking for him.

Alexander was one of three people indicted Thursday on charges of animal cruelty.

At a news conference Friday morning, District Attorney Bill Gibbons announced that Alexander was the subject of a six count animal cruelty indictment.

Alexander was fired by Memphis Mayor A C Wharton after the Shelter was raided in October.

After the news conference concluded, Alexander's attorney, Herschel Rosenberg, called the Action News 5 newsroom. He declined an interview, but claimed Alexander is not on the run.

"Mr. Alexander is out of town at the moment," Rosenberg said in a written statement. "He is in no way a fugitive trying to evade arrest. He welcomes his opportunity to say in court what has happened in our city."

The names of the other two former Memphis Animal Shelter employees were released Thursday evening.  Veterinarian Angela Middleton and shelter supervisor Tina Quattlebaum were both booked Thursday night at Shelby County Jail East.

The treatment of animals was among the many problems investigators uncovered during a June 2009 audit of the shelter.  Auditors found Memphis Animal Services had gaping loopholes in how cash transactions were managed, and there was no formal policy for safeguarding and accountability for pharmaceuticals.

Shelby County sheriff's deputies executed a search warrant on October 27th as part of an investigation into alleged animal cruelty at the shelter.

The search warrant in the case included photos of a puppy that was healthy looking when it was admitted to the shelter on August 18, 2009.  Photos of the same dog taken in September show it to be emaciated.  According to a necropsy, the animal died of starvation on September 4.

Since the raid, web cameras have been installed at the shelter that allow the public to monitor conditions there 24/7.

New Administrator Named

Mathew Pepper will be the next Administrator of the Memphis Animal Shelter, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton announced Friday.

Pepper, the current director of Caddo Parish Services in Shreveport, Louisiana, will start on March 1.

Wharton's administration says Pepper's resume includes 13 years experience in animal control and welfare.

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