Activists enraged by Memphis Animal Shelter webcam image - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Activists enraged by Memphis Animal Shelter webcam image

This webcam image, recorded Wednesday, circulated widely online Thursday. This webcam image, recorded Wednesday, circulated widely online Thursday.

(WMC-TV) - Animal rights activists were enraged Thursday by a photo circulating online they said showed dog fighting by employees at the Memphis Animal Shelter.

In the photo, which was taken by one of the shelter's webcams on Wednesday, two shelter employees can be seen along with two pit bulls that are fighting.

Shirley Thistlewaite, a blogger in South Carolina, put the photo online, leaving the impression that the shelter employees were intentionally fighting pit bulls in the shelter.

"A reader sent me the photo," said Thistlewaite.  "She saw it when she was watching the web cams."

The photo received more than 100 negative comments from the blog's readers.  Thistlewaite said she regularly puts up photos from the Memphis Animal Shelter.

"They don't explain when we ask," said Thistlewaite.

Video from the shelter web cams shows an employee walking two dogs on leashes.  They appeared calm, until one dog attacks the other.  The shelter employee controls the dogs, then another employee comes from around the corner and they eventually break up the dogs.

Thistlewaite watched the video from the shelter.

"I feel relieved that it's not apparently criminal in nature," she said.  "It doesn't appear to be criminal dog fighting."

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton released a statement about the photo and web cams that employees want removed, saying, "while I have not yet made a decision about the web cams, this incident is exhibit A for why they should not be in our shelter. Viewing the footage of yesterday's 'dog fighting' incident and comparing it to the screen shot and caption currently circulating in the media shows exactly how manipulation of the webcam images has subjected our shelter employees to undue criticism and physical threats."

You can watch the video in the player on this page, or by clicking here.

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