Mayor AC Wharton introduces new animal shelter director

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis Mayor AC Wharton introduced the public to the new animal shelter director Saturday.

Matthew Pepper, the new Memphis Animal Shelter Administrator, officially took the helm during a pet adoption event.

"We will have the best shelter," Pepper said, "and I need everyone's help in this room to make it happen."

Before Mayor AC Wharton took office, the city heard of shoddy shelter bookkeeping, squalid conditions and even instances of stealing dogs out of shelter cages.

"I wasn't here when that stuff happened, so I can't comment on that," Pepper said.  "I can only tell you what's going to happen from this point forward."

Wharton knew Pepper was his man after seeing Pepper's detailed plan to turn the shelter around.

"There will be no excuse for anybody to say, 'oh, I thought' or 'I misunderstood'," Wharton said.

Pepper's plan outlines every detail, from when pets are fed to when they get their meds, along with an open-door policy.

"I'll be the first to say, 'Something happened wrong and this is what we've done to prevent it again'," Pepper said.  "You won't see us make the same mistake twice from this day further."

Cindy Sanders, Animal Shelter Advisory Board Member, said the city made the right choice.

"The city took its time and found the proper person to take over the job and we're all very excited about that," Sanders said.

With cameras installed all over the shelter, Sanders said animal groups look forward to seeing where the shelter goes from here.

"There will not be a day that goes by that we will not look for a way to get better here at the animal shelter," Sanders said.

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