Hooks tapped for promotion despite animal shelter woes

Janet Hooks, photo courtesy the City of Memphis.
Janet Hooks, photo courtesy the City of Memphis.

(WMC-TV) - She's been vilified by critics of Memphis Animal Services and they've even called for her firing, but that didn't keep city division director Janet Hooks from getting picked for a new job at city hall with more responsibility.

By phone from her home in Southeast Memphis, neighborhood association leader Lynda Whalen said, based on the help she received cleaning up problem properties, the decision to promote Janet Hooks makes sense to her.

"You may not like what she says, but she's generally right," said Whalen.

City CAO George Little believes that's the kind of praise that has gone unheard when it comes to Hooks.

"Well, certainly Director Hooks has had some real challenges," he said.

Most of those challenges involve Memphis Animal Services which falls under the division Hooks currently heads.

The shelter has been plagued by problems from disease outbreaks, allegations of abuse and criminal charges related to missing family pets.

"Whoever had the challenge of the animal shelter over the last several years would have had a hard time having that in a totally positive light," Little said.

Ignoring any potential political impact, Mayor A C Wharton and his team tapped Hooks to lead a new consolidated division to include Public Services, Parks and Community Enhancement.

Wharton cited the strides she's overseen, including shortening lines at vehicle inspection stations and the recent transition to a new animal shelter.

"She's been up to the challenges, which is why we think she should head up this new consolidated division," said Little.

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