I went to the candlelight vigil at the Memphis Animal Shelter tonight for the poor dog that was starved to death. I would say there were 200-300 people there. The poster-dog for this protest is a 5-month old Pit Bull-lab mix, now nicknamed "Justice." She was seized as part of an animal cruelty case and put in a cage at the animal shelter marked, "Hold for Court." Just about two weeks later, she was dead. A necropsy done by an outside veterinarian indicates the puppy was intentionally starved to death.
It's pictures of "Justice" released by the Shelby County Sheriff's Department along with the search warrant that incited so many people to come out on a chilly November evening and risk their lives to park along Tchulahoma and Winchester in that rather scary area where the shelter is located. The pictures of "Justice" printed in the Commercial Appeal this week...the first one showed a friendly-looking young white dog with a goofy spot over one eye--a dog that looked young enough to be rehabilitated, maybe even be adopted by a family looking for a pet. But unfortunately "Justice" would never get that chance... On the same page, the paper printed another picture of "Justice," showing an emaciated husk of a dog shortly before her death. If you saw that second picture, it haunts your dreams. I won't post it here because I need to be able to sleep tonight. But if you want to see it and read more about the raid on the animal shelter, you can go to commercialappeal.com.
The protest was a low-key affair. We held candles as cars drove by and honked. At times someone would start a chant such as "Fire them all!" But the chants would usually die out, as the crowd was motivated and sincere, but not very organized. No one gave any speeches, but several reporters showed up. Newschannel 3's Tom Powell did a live shot during the 6 o'clock news. After that, Mayor Wharton's top aide, Bobby White, appeared and began to speak individually to some members of the crowd. I give the new Mayor points for sending White to represent him at the vigil. It's the sort of thing that Mayor Herenton would never have done. Heck, he seldom even showed up at city-sponsored events! I heard later on the 10 o'clock news that Mayor Wharton plans to make an announcement regarding the Animal Shelter at a news conference at 10 tomorrow morning. Let's hope he makes a lasting change that really makes a difference in the way these animals are treated. Because no creature on this earth deserves to die the way "Justice" did.
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