On October 27, Shelby County Sheriff’s Deputies executed a search warrant at the Memphis animal shelter. On Tuesday, the Sheriffs' department released a search warrant and photos detailing the extent of the cruelty and starvation.
The photos were taken by an employee whistle-blower. Volunteers had also sent "numerous" e-mails to officials who are no longer employed by the city.
According to the Commercial Appeal, ten shelter employees and an Animal Services administrator were relieved of duty. It is unclear whether or not these same employees returned to their jobs when the shelter re-opened. Possible charges include: Aggravated cruelty to animals, official misconduct and tampering with or fabricating evidence.
The Pit Bull puppy shown in photos released to the news media was to be held for a court case, but died of starvation after being impounded at the shelter for three weeks. Pit Bulls seized on suspicion of dogfighting simply disappeared prior to hearings.
The Commercial Appeal reports that death rates of animals being kept at the shelter have risen sharply, from 75 in 2006 to 119 in 2007 to 193 in 2008.
Today, Mayor AC Wharton halted all euthanizations at the shelter until the investigation has been completed.
For more information see Memphis Commercial Appeal.