MEMPHIS, TN - The case of the dog that recently vanished from the Memphis Animal Shelter sheds new light on the unexplained number of animals that turn up missing at the city pound.
“The shelter has a large number of missing animals,” says Cindy Sanders, a former board member of the Memphis Animal Shelter Advisory Board.
Last month, an animal control worker picked up two loose dogs in Cordova, one named Kapone, the other named Jersey. The next morning when the owner went to pick up her dogs at the shelter, Kapone couldn't be located. His owner, getting no explanation from shelter employees, contacted abc24.com.
“This is the first time," says Sanders, "the spotlight has been cast on the fact our shelter loses so many animals."
In 2010, city records show 155 animals were considered missing. In Nashville, just five animals were classified as missing during the same period.
Mary Cashiola, a spokesperson for Mayor A C Wharton, tells abc24.com the city is trying to reduce the number of missing animals. Cashiola points out, the numbers are trending down. In 2009, for example, Cashiola says 282 were coded as missing.
“There are a number of reasons animals show up missing," she says, "and none of them are acceptable. However, the majority of such cases come from simple data errors and timing issues, like ID numbers being entered incorrectly. Sometimes data entry lags into the next day, causing MAS to have a “missing” animal. We are working to correct all of these issues.”
Cashiola says MAS continues to adjust tracking procedures and will provide ongoing training to the staff about animal record reconciliation.
“The unfortunate case of Kapone," adds Cashiola, "is an isolated incident and is being actively investigated by the Memphis Police Department."
Demetria Hogan, the animal control officer who picked up Kapone, was charged on Tuesday, July 12th, 2011 with two counts of animal cruelty. Memphis Police won’t release any more details until Hogan has been arrested and booked into the Shelby County Jail.
Late Tuesday, officers were actively looking for Hogan.