Memphis Animal Services responds to recent criticism - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Memphis Animal Services responds to recent criticism

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

It's one of Memphis' most controversial issues, the local animal shelter and its detractors who say not enough is being done to bring down its euthanasia rate. We've heard from the rescue groups but now we're hearing from the administrator of the center who says since he's been there, positive changes have been made.

James Rogers took control of Memphis Animal Services two years ago and since then he's brought down its euthanasia rate and more importantly brought up the center's live release rate, but he tells FOX13 News he welcomes the protesters anyway.

MORE: Dog put down at shelter after being adopted
MORE: Protestors say they're fed up with Memphis Animal Services

Rogers knows it's an emotional issue for everyone, and he does his best to deal with the criticism in a constructive manner.

"It's great they are out there protesting, its freedom of speech and they're letting us know were not the only ones that care," said Rogers.

Over the weekend, various animal rescue groups held a peaceful protest voicing their concerns about the shelter. Last week a dog named Josie that was already adopted and paid for was mistakenly put down.

"It's unfortunate that Josie was humanely euthanized, we admit it was a mistake, but what we are doing is eliminating those mistakes from happening again," said Rogers.

Rogers says there are three checks and balances put into place to make sure that does not happen again. He knows the reputation of the shelter before he came on wasn't the best, but he's determined to move forward.

"Our employees are some of the most compassionate people, trained by the Humane Society of America," said Rogers.

Rogers says their live release rate number is the most important. It's the number of dogs adopted, returned to their owners, or transferred instead of being euthanized.  And in 2013, that number was 4047, compared with 7692 euthanasia's in the same year. But in 2009, 13,255 dogs were put down and only 2614 were released. It's a big jump in the right direction.

"It makes me feel like there is room for improvement and rooms for growth because this is our shelter, the citizens' shelter and it's helping us all improve," said Rogers.

And all of the Memphis Animal Shelter statistics are available for the public to see on the city of Memphis website.

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