City should take action on stray dogs roaming Memphis streets


The Washington Times recently reported that as many as 50,000 stray dogs roam the streets of the now-bankrupt city of Detroit. Often considered our sister city when it comes to such nefarious statistics, Memphis is apparently hell-bent on catching up with this one too.

I am personally aware of two of our neighbors, in two separate parts of CY, whose cats were brutally murdered by stray dogs in just the past month. Interviewing these neighbors for this article  ─ and the relevant info trails pursued as a result ─ revealed that the situation has reached near-epidemic proportions throughout the city, with horror stories coming from as far afield as Raleigh and Harbortown.  And given the 2013 city budget crisis, the situation isn’t likely to get better anytime soon.

According to the website, Memphis Animal Services’ kennel took in a total of 905 dogs in July alone, with 619 of these classified as stray. Their webpage states: “Our mantra has always been protecting people from the dangers and nuisances of uncontrolled animals and keeping animals safe from mistreatment and abuse.”  A well-written and surely well intended mantra for sure, but they are obviously falling appallingly short of their mission.

The most recent event (of the two that piqued my interest) occurred in the vicinity of Cox and Evelyn. The neighbor said she discovered her cat early in the morning laying in the median close to the street. Even though the black fur hooked in the claws evidenced a valiant fight, her cat of 10 years (who generally kept to herself

in the garage or under a bush) had suffered a lacerated throat and abdomen. Worse still, the neighbor’s 14 year old daughter happened upon the scene unawares, and was immediately traumatized.  A Facebook post by the neighbor led to a call from CYCA’s Kristan Huntley indicating that two more cats had been killed on Felix the same morning.

Obviously not every loose canine is a threat. Sometimes dogs just “get out” or wander off, which is of course why responsible pet owners make sure their dogs wear collars and tags. But the animals in question are

different. These animals belong to no one and are living on our streets, eating whenever and whatever they can, and often running in packs at night. The killers that have been spotted are obvious strays: unkempt with no ID, with temperaments ranging from skittish to vicious.

If you see any such dogs, please do your part by calling Animal Services at (901) 636-7297 or email descriptions and details to  And if that fails to garner any response, call the Mayor’s Action Center at(901) 576-6500.  It’s well past time for this squeaky wheel to get some grease.


–          Aaron James is a writer and Cooper-Young resident.

Author: LampLighter

The voice of Cooper-Young, a vibrant, diverse neighborhood to live, work and play, in the heart of Midtown Memphis, Tennessee.

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