MAS workers file grievance to remove web cameras at shelter - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

MAS workers file grievance to remove web cameras at shelter

(WMC-TV) - Memphis Animal Shelter workers claim the camera put inside to keep tabs on them could put them in danger.

Memphis Animal Shelter employees recently filed a grievance over web cameras at the shelter.  City leaders said Thursday they are trying to determine if the cameras are still needed.

Amidst the recent controversy surrounding Memphis Animal Services, shelter employees said they are worried about their safety.

They asked that the web cameras installed at the shelter be removed from the current facility and that none be installed in the new shelter that opens later this year.

"They are the only ones who are being watched every move they make," said Memphis Mayor A C Wharton.  "Nobody else from city government has to work with a camera over their shoulder, so I want to look into that."

The Shelby County Sheriff's Office took over the facility after a raid in 2009.  Deputies then first learned some of the animals at the shelter were sick or deprived of food or water.

After the city gained control of the shelter, Wharton announced that surveillance cameras would be installed to allow the public access at all times.

"Do your job properly and treat the animals in a humane manner and then they don't have to worry about cameras on them," said former Memphis Animal Services Advisory Board member Cindy Sanders.

The Memphis Animal Services Advisory Board is closing its monthly meetings to the public.  The five-member, city-appointed board plans to hold quarterly public meetings, but will have monthly private meetings.

"It does create a problem in that if a citizen has a problem, what forum do they have to address that problem?" asked Sanders.  "That has been taken away from them."

"I want to visit with advisory board members and want to find out precisely what prompted it and see if there are less impactful alternatives," said Wharton.

City leaders said they will consider the shelter employees' request to remove the cameras, but so far no decision has been made.

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