Mayor taking Animal Control Officer's arrest seriously - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mayor says he is taking Animal Control Officer's arrest seriously

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - While Memphis Mayor A C Wharton believes everyone deserves a second chance, animal activists say people who've demonstrated violence against people should not work with animals.

Demetria Hogan was given a badge to protect and serve the animals of Memphis. Now, she is charged with the very crimes she enforced.

Wednesday, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said the city's taking her arrest very seriously.

"We're working on it and we're going to push it all the way through," he said.

Not only is a Pit Bull Hogan picked up still missing, but the city confirms that while police were searching for Hogan on the animal cruelty charge, the dog she had in her animal control truck died.

When Action News 5 spoke to Mayor Wharton on Wednesday, he wasn't aware of the dead dog.

"I'm not going to blow smoke," he said. "I haven't been briefed on that. We'll get answers to that."

The previous mayor's office placed Hogan in Animal Services as part of the Second Chance Program to employ ex-felons.

In the past, Hogan has been charged with more than a dozen crimes, including identity theft, theft of property, forgery, passing bad checks and aggravated burglary.

Wharton said his religion teaches second chances.

"It's a case by case (situation), and I've never judged one of the Second Chance applicants," he said.

Hogan was promoted to supervisor in 2009, two months after Mayor Wharton took office.

"I'd have to go back and look at all the circumstances how that recommendation was made," Wharton said. "I don't know her personally.  I'm sure someone felt that she merited that."

Wharton has fired or indicted about a dozen Animal Shelter employees since taking office. Many of their jobs are protected under the Civil Service guidelines.

Wharton, a former trial attorney, says he has to be very careful when weeding people out.

"The worst thing in the world would be to start having people fired only to have it reversed by the Civil Service Commission," he said. "So it may be slow, but it's done right."

Hogan is currently suing a Memphis Animal Services Advisory Board member, claiming emotional distress because the board member made comments about Hogan's criminal past at board meetings.

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