ASPCA Assists Shelby County Sheriff's Office with Investigation at Memphis Animal Shelter

ASPCA Dispatches Forensics Team and Emergency Responders to Site
October 27, 2009

Memphis, Tenn. — A search warrant was executed early Tuesday morning by local Memphis law enforcement at the request of the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office to investigate allegations of animal cruelty taking place at the City of Memphis Animal Shelter. The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) was called in to assist with forensics evidence collection, as well as the rescue and veterinary care of animals at the shelter.

Shelby County District Attorney Bill Gibbons and Shelby County Sheriff Mark Luttrell announced Tuesday that deputies with the Sheriff’s Office had executed a search warrant at the Memphis Animal Shelter located at 3456 Tchulahoma Road. District Attorney Gibbons requested the Sheriff’s Office investigation of the shelter earlier this month after receiving a tip from a resident regarding the conditions at the facility.

According to the search warrant, “detectives have learned that some animals have been deprived of food and water while at the Memphis Animal Shelter...” and while in the shelter’s care, “some dogs have been starved to the point of requiring euthanasia.” According to the search warrant, some of the dogs “are involved in court cases involving dog fighting and have been marked ‘Hold for Court.’” Additionally, the warrant says that shelter employees keep “dogs that are to be quarantined for rabies with dogs that are not required to be quarantined in the same kennel.”

“Animal cruelty and neglect must not be tolerated, and we are proud to lend our support to Shelby County law enforcement,” said ASPCA President & CEO, Ed Sayres. “Work like this is central to our mission, and the ASPCA is encouraged that Shelby County is raising its voice against animal cruelty.”

The ASPCA, along with the American Humane Association, is collecting evidence for the prosecution of a possible the criminal case, as well as lending the services of its special forensic cruelty investigation team, comprised of disaster animal rescuers, field service investigators, and Dr. Melinda Merck, the nation’s premier forensic veterinarian. Also onsite is the ASPCA’s “Mobile Animal Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Unit,” a critical tool in the collection and processing of evidence at crime scenes. The CSI unit brings both state-of-the-art forensics tools and expertise to crime scenes and is outfitted with medical equipment tailored for animal patients.