Friday, July 8, 2011

Memphis Animal Shelter blues cross the Atlantic

By Michael Lollar, The Commercial Appeal

'Bad News' of city in Brit artist's tune

Chronic problems at the Memphis Animal Shelter are escaping the boundaries of the city into the international arena in the form of a mournful blues-rock song, "Bad News Comin' Outa Memphis," by British artist Maria Daines.
The song was posted July 5 on Daines' website at with photos of an emaciated dog discovered starved to death in its shelter cage in September 2009. At least two other dogs died of starvation in late 2009, according to the Shelby County Sheriff's Office, which raided the shelter in October of that year.
Release of the song comes just as Memphis deals with its latest crisis over an 11-year-old pit bull that disappeared June 24 when it was picked up by an animal control officer. That dog and another pit bull had escaped from their backyard in Cordova. One arrived at the shelter and one disappeared, although neighbors had seen the dog loaded onto the animal control truck. The pet owners have posted a $3,000 reward through Seniors B Safe, a CrimeStoppers hotline.
CrimeStoppers executive director Buddy Chapman, a former city police director, said late Friday he has received no substantive tips in spite of the high reward.
Chapman said the missing dog may be part of a larger problem. "The pit bull problem in Memphis is much bigger than someone's missing pet, and we ought to be concerned about it as a community because it's a very dangerous thing." He said there is evidence Memphis has become a hub for breeding and training of fighting dogs in the United States.
Memphis police are reviewing videotapes from the Memphis shelter for any indication that the missing pit bull, Kapone, may have been checked into the shelter before it disappeared.
On her website, Daines said she and songwriting partner Paul Killington were alerted to the Memphis problems by animal activists in the United States. "We were told animals have starved to death there and the kill rate is excessively high, thousands of healthy, adoptable pets are taken into MAS (Memphis Animal Services) but rarely leave alive . . ."
Among the lyrics of the song:
". . . There's bad news comin' outa Memphis
N' heartbreak a tearin' up our eyes
Please save the innocent, defenceless
Lord they need your help tonight."

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