After years of allegations of abuse, promises of reform and now a 3 month undercover investigations, finally some arrests at Memphis Animal Shelter. Three shelter workers,Billy D. Stewart, 28, Frank Lightfoot, Jr., 59, and Archie Elliot, III, 35 have been charged with multiple counts of aggravated animal cruelty, Stewart and Lightfoot, Jr. with four counts each and Elliot with two counts.
All three have currently been suspended with pay. I take serious issue that these cretins are still being paid when there is video and expert police undercover evidence of their cruelty but that’s the way these things work, whether we like it or not! The city is working to terminate them from the shelter so at least the wheels are in motion.
Wharton said with all of the claims of abuse he felt an undercover was officer was necessary. “Only by getting somebody inside there who is credible and willing to talk and to name names and to give dates and to give places, only through that were we able to get to this point.”
Although there have been allegations, Wharton said no evidence of dog fighting or starvation was found during this investigation. Honestly, watching some of the video of what’s been going on in MAS, I’m surprised that there were only three arrests.
Mayor Wharton promises closer monitoring in the future but seems to me he said the same thing a couple years ago when the horrific conditions at the shelter came to light and in the meantime horrors have continued almost unabated.
See Mayor Wharton’s statement below:
Do I think this is the end of problems at MAS? I doubt it will even scratch the surface. I cannot even begin to express my anger that the torture and abuse has been able to continue day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year!! This hellhole needs a total housecleaning and restaffing. Staff and volunteers need to be trained, cameras need to be put back into use and oversight needs to be constant.
Those animals (the furry four-leggers) are innocent, defenseless and voiceless. I like to believe that most shelters, though often underfunded and understaffed, actually try. That they have heart and work with compassion and empathy. Often it’s thankless and hard work but the animals who wound up in these places do so through no fault of their own and don’t deserve anyone to take out their anger and cruelties on these, some of the most helpless members of our society.