Memphis seeks private owner for animal shelter - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis seeks private owner for animal shelter

After more than a decade of constant criticism over Memphis Animal Services operations, the city has officially submitted a bid to turn over the shelter to a private owner. After more than a decade of constant criticism over Memphis Animal Services operations, the city has officially submitted a bid to turn over the shelter to a private owner.

(WMC-TV) - After more than a decade of constant criticism over Memphis Animal Services operations, the city has officially submitted a bid to turn over the shelter to a private owner.

Community Action for Animals founder Cindy Sanders said the bid to privatize Memphis Animal Services is a long time coming.

"All of the administrations have fallen short when it comes to animal services," she said.

Through the years, the shelter has been the subject of protests, dog hunts and court actions.

The bid calls for a private operator to run the shelter three years.

I would like to see a not for profit privatization group," said Sanders.

She said a private shelter could take a huge financial load off the city, which is projected to spend $2.4 million on the shelter next year. Sanders also said revenue streams like the new vet clinic will have trouble bringing in money, after a series of animal cruelty incidents involving shelter employees.

"Who wants to take their animal there to be cared for," she asked.

A recent Rotary Club report revealed some staffers are linked to dog fighting rings.

The bid calls for services to be provided by the shelter's "private staff," but it's unclear if the current staff would just be rehired.

"It still comes back to the majority of the current staff," she said.

Sanders also said the challenges are community-wide, not just inside the shelter.

"We've got children bitten and attacked," she said. "We've got the elderly that can't go to their mail boxes because of stray dogs."

The city will meet with potential shelter owners in mid-January and the bid deadline is February 10.

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