There has been a great public outcry over the deplorable conditions at Memphis Animal Shelter. Mayor Wharton has reacted quickly and decisively. Today, he fired shelter director Ernest Alexander and appointed former Med CEO Lucy Shaw as interim director. Cameras are being installed at the facility and criminal charges may be filed.
The Commercial Appeal reported today that there were similar problems at Alexander's previous employer, the Animal Services Division of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Alexander was hired by the Herenton administration after the proverbial "nationwide search."
The public's outrage was fueled by photos in local media of starving animals and the disgusting conditions at the shelter. There have been dozens of letters to the editor, comments on websites and, last night, a candlelight vigil. And as might have been predicted, numerous reactive letters and comments immediately appeared along the lines of: "How come all these people are outraged about animals when (pick one) 1) babies are being aborted 2) children are being shot 3) people are being murdered at Fort Hood ..."
It's so tiresome and misguided. The director and employees of the Animal Shelter betrayed the public's trust. We expected them to treat animals in their care humanely and compassionately. Instead, they ran an animal holocaust. Why shouldn't people be pissed and why shouldn't they protest vociferously? And what's that got to do with drive-by shootings? They are also horrible, but caring passionately about one cause does not preclude people from caring passionately about another cause.
I don't understand why it's somehow deemed clever or insightful to demean the outrage because it's "just about animals." As in, "I love my dog, but he's not as important as my Momma." Well, duh.
Comparing the importance of causes is not insightful or clever. It's predictable and meaningless. If you feel your issues are more important, then by all means organize, protest, make your voice heard. But lay off the silly conflation of issues. It's apples and kittens.
I'm writing this from the restroom facility at Big Hill Pond State Park in southern McNairy County. On Monday, I commandeered the building, which contains the men's and women's restrooms, some racks of pamphlets, and two vending machines. There's no one here right now, but I plan to stay as long as necessary to protest the fact that the state of Tennessee is run by oppressive know-nothings who wouldn't know small government — or freedom, for that matter — if it bit them on their considerable backsides ...