Animal Rights activists call for change - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Blair Simmons

Animal Rights activists call for change

Several Animal Rights groups met Sunday night to propose some major changes to the Memphis Animal Shelter. Their biggest plight is to end what they call excessive euthanasia. And now they've made strides in getting some support.

Some animal lovers sat the Memphis Animal Shelter is not a place animals often come out of alive.

Lisa Trenthem, founder of Good Dog Rescue, went to adopt a dog last month but when she got there, the cage was empty. "I knocked on the euthanasia room door, dog sat on the table with her mouth clamped shut awaiting euthanasia from the tech standing there," said Trenthem.

Several others at the meeting had similar stories.  According to the latest figures, of the 13,000 animals taken in so far this year, almost 11,000 them have been euthanized. That's an eight-three percent kill rate. 

Congressman Steve Cohen was at the meeting. He said the numbers are disturbing and the shelter should be in the business of protecting animals, not killing them.

"Animals should be a priority as well and there should be an opportunity for people to adopt animals before the last resort of euthanization," said Cohen.

Donna Malone with Responsible Animal Owners of Tennessee, said, "When you get involved in rescue what happens is you don't just love your own anymore. They're all yours and when they're all yours, you see that happen and it's really upsetting."

But the issue is not just emotional, it's fiscal too.  The city could not only save money by putting dogs up for adoption, they could earn it.

For every dog adopted, the city gets $75. For every dog euthanized, the city gets nothing.  Activists say they're just throwing money away. 

And with almost 11,000 animals euthanized already this year, they say that's a lot of money the city could use elsewhere.

Click here to email Blair Simmons.

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