First it was the "little suitcase dog." Now it's "trashcan puppies."
Those are images on the webcam of Memphis Animal Services — better known as the Shelter — that are sparking outrage and making news — and one of them could go national this week. Reporter ABC/Channel 24 reporter Jeni DiPrizio's covered the "trashcan puppies" on Monday evening. As a result, CNN called and requested the story "to be put on the feed," says DiPrizio. If they decide to run it, it will appear on all CNN affiliates.
Alerted by concerned animal advocates, DiPrizio reported that the webcam video "showed two women dropping off a female dog and her puppies. The women took the animals back to a cage. Three days later, employees put the puppies in a trashcan and wheeled them off to be killed. The puppies were not put in the area of the Shelter where they place adoptable animals; instead they were placed in the stray area" — which is off limits to the public.
DiPrizio also reported that Shelter director Matthew Pepper had been at the Shelby County Emergency Operations Center helping with animals displaced by the flood. "While Pepper was away, sources tell abc24.com, employees took advantage of the situation. At times animals were not fed and cages were not cleaned, according to sources." A city spokesperson told DiPrizio that the employee was disciplined for not following Shelter procedure.
This is the second webcam image in recent weeks that has raised a furor. The first — which prompted circulation of a petition to boycott Memphis — showed a Shelter employee lifting a dog by the skin of his back, like a suitcase, and taking it the euthanasia room. "We have made improvements in some areas," Pepper told this magazine, "but we have a long way to go before we make this organization what I want us to be."
To view and read the DiPrizio's story, go to http://www.abc24.com/news/local/story/Puppies-Tossed-in-Trash-Can-at-Memphis-Animal/72OSxkBE6EiIClg51RTvDw.cspx