MEMPHIS, TN -At a time when Mid-South animal activists are howling about more transparency at the Memphis Animal Shelter, the embattled organization may soon be out of the public eye.
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton says current budgets and plans for the new municipal animal shelter do not include web cameras.
"First of all, they're not in there and I don't have the money," Mayor Wharton said.
The mayor ordered cameras installed at the current shelter in 2009, after the shelter was raided by the Shelby County Sheriff's Office. At the time, he pledged the cameras would lead to greater transparency at the shelter.
"We are going to see what the situation is going forward and then make a decision," Wharton said.
Thursday afternoon, July 14, 2011, Mayor Wharton he had not reviewed a grievance filed by several shelter workers asking the cameras be removed because of safety concerns.
The Mayor said, "Once I see what policies are in place that will prevent what happened at the old shelter from happening at the new shelter, then we will make a decision at that point."
The developments come as the Memphis Animal Shelter Advisory Board held its first private meeting Thursday night.
"It would be my preference that all of our meetings are open," the Mayor said.
He added though that recent meetings had gotten out of hand, and certain rules and guidelines would need to be implemented.
"I am going to look at what brought that about, is there some way other then closing the meeting, that would be my preference."
The board does plan on holding open public meetings every three months. State rules regarding open meetings do not apply to the shelter board because the board only advises the shelter, and doesn't create or implement rules.