New Memphis Animal Shelter readies for November opening

(WMC-TV) - After years of complaints and questionable activities, the city of Memphis is about to open a new animal shelter.

Wednesday, Memphis Public Services Director Janet Hooks gave the media an advance look at the city's new $7.2 million facility. The 35,000 square foot shelter is three times as large as the old shelter, with more adoption space.

"They will be able to come in and take a look at the animals," Hooks said.
Cages that will hold animals are made of stainless steel, are more sturdy than the current shelter's cages, and more sterile. There's also a holding space where animals can stay in a dry compartment while workers sterilize the cages.

While there are many changes, some things will stay the same. For instance, the staff at the current shelter will shift to the new facility.

For years, animal activists have scrutinized current shelter staff over allegations of neglect. The new shelter has a classroom to teach responsible pet ownership.  It also features an outdoor dog run, a state-of-the-art veterinary clinic for microchipping, spaying and neutering, a socialization room and a flea bath.

"It was designed to keep disease and the spread of disease down," Hooks said.

The facility boasts 57 security cameras, but they will not be linked to the web for live public viewing, like the cameras at the existing shelter.  However, the cameras at the new facility will be linked to the Real Time Crime Center, so Memphis police can watch.

The city of Memphis will launch a nationwide search for a new shelter manager next Wednesday.

"I would like someone to come in who has sheltering experience," Hooks said.

The city wants to change the shelter's business model to generate more income, possibly with outside spaying, neutering and microchipping services.

The new shelter opens in November.

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