Memphis Animal Shelter's new director lays out goals and plans

Published: Mar. 10, 2010 at 9:10 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 10, 2010 at 11:54 PM CST
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By Jamel Major - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The new director of the Memphis Animal Shelter said Wednesday he is excited to move the facility in the right direction.

Matthew Pepper met with the Animal Services Advisory Board to lay out his goals and plans.

"To be successful we need people who have a real vested interest in our progress and programs we're here to promote.  I'm encouraged - very encouraged," Pepper said.

While the Memphis Animal Shelter has a dark past of mismanagement and employees not following rules and regulations, Pepper says he's hoping to change that.  

His immediate goal is to bring effective management and a solid structure to the shelter.

"I look at the issues that have happened in the past," he said. "If something happens once, it's an employee problem. If it happens repeatedly, it's a leadership problem. We need to define the roles and expectations of employees."

In order to turn the shelter around, Pepper said, people will have to be held accountable.  Others agreed.

"In order for the good and great employees to surface to the top, accountability is key.  That is how goodness rises," said Michelle Buckalew, Chairperson of the Animal Services Advisory Board.  

In addition, Pepper says he hopes to build good relationships with the community and promote responsible pet ownership.

"We can do it through not only a progressive adoption program," he said. "Our law enforcement can do their part in the community by educating people as a form of enforcement."

Pepper plans to join the Animal Services Advisory Board for a public discussion next Tuesday on the issue of spaying and neutering. The meeting is scheduled for March 16th at 4pm at Memphis City Hall.

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