MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Killing animals for practice. The Memphis Animal Shelter is preparing to host a euthanasia training session. MAS is teaching its employees and those at other Tennessee shelters the proper procedures.
It's the second year they've done this. Animal advocates say while training is needed, it's not enough.
Critics don't like the sound of killing animals for practice, but like it or not, the training is mandated by law. Memphis animal advocates say it's what happens after training that needs to change.
"It's kind of a sticky situation," says Alyssa Ozier. "Just to be practicing on it, that seems really unnecessary. They could find another method or a different way to research that."
Next month, Memphis' animal shelter will be closed to the public so 15 employees from the city and around the Mid-South can be trained in proper euthanasia techniques.
"The sad truth is that Memphis Animal Shelter euthanizes 11,000 or plus animals every year," says animal advocate Debi Berry. "They do need training." Berry questions whether MAS is the proper organization to host it. "What I doubt is training is doing any good for Memphis Animal Services."
The last few years, several shelter employees have been jailed for breaking the rules.
Employees were caught on camera abusing animals at the old animal shelter. There are no cameras at the new one.
"We've asked repeatedly if they'd put security cameras in the euthanasia room," Berry says. "It would not be for the public to view, but so that it can be used as a security tool."
For Berry, arguing against the practice is useless. "Animals are going to be euthanized regardless, even if it was a no kill shelter. Whether they practice humane euthanasia is something we just don't know.'
MAS says there's no way to determine if an employee is qualified unless they practice the procedure with an instructor or vet.
"Follow the rules," says Louis White. "I don't think any animal advocates would complain about the rules being followed."
Training will take place two days in middle January.
Memphis Animal Services declined our first requests for an interview, then told us employees were too busy to talk on camera.