MEMPHIS, Tenn. — FOX13 obtained documents that show the city admits, "The current cat kennels are not considered humane housing according to national standards."
The document is part of a request for proposal from potential builders to start the kennel improvement project. There is no evidence of inhumane treatment at MAS but their 74 cat kennels are in need of upgrading. Built in 2011 under the AC Wharton administration, they were top of the line and the industry standard.
“What we found over the years, standards of humane housing has changed over time that it's just not really meeting our needs currently,” said Alexis Pugh the Director of Memphis Animal Services.
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Pugh told FOX13, the kennels are made of laminate which is much more difficult to clean than stainless steel, which is what the new kennels will be made of. Oddly placed shelves make it difficult to place litter boxes.
“The glass fronts make it difficult to connect with the adopters and the people here.”
The new kennels will have bars in the front to also allow for better airflow. Removable dividers will allow for more space if a pair of cats need to be together, like a mom and her nursing babies or when the population is low.
“Everybody can have double the space to play and roam and really overcome some of the stress that's associated with being in a shelter,” Pugh adds.
Pugh has known these improvements were needed for some time but the money hasn’t been there to do it. She said the industry humane standards are always evolving and the city is now ready to upgrade. The city’s new CFO did a budget clean up and found $100,000 in donations given to the city years ago. Pugh just found out and knew exactly where she would spend the money adding, “the happier the animals are when they're here, the better they're going to look to adopters, which means their adoption chances go up which means they get out of here sooner which means more lives are saved.”
MAS hasn’t euthanized a healthy cat since 2016. Money will also be used to subdivide the outside play yard. Tops on some of the dog kennels will also be installed because right now some bigger dogs can hop out.
Cox Media Group