MEMPHIS, Tenn — Nearly four months after Memphis Animal Services former director announced she was leaving, MAS has announced its new Interim Director.
MAS announced that Ty Coleman has taken over the role effective Sept. 5, 2023. They said Coleman has more than a decade of animal welfare experience, previously as Animal Services Manager for the City of Midland, Animal Services Director for the City of Sherman, and a supervisor for Dallas Animal Services, all in Texas.
“Coleman's experience, dedication, and passion for animal welfare make him a valuable addition to our team. We are confident that under his leadership, our Animal Services department will continue to thrive, and our community will benefit from his commitment to improving the lives of both pets and people in Memphis,” said a statement from MAS posted to Facebook.
According to ABC24’s sister station KWES, Midland officials said in late April 2023 that Coleman was terminated from his position due to not passing a one-year probationary period. Coleman told KWES that he thought it may have had to do with a dispute with Midland’s Interim City Manager.
“If I did make a mistake with the city, I am ready to own up to it," Coleman told KWES. "I would want to apologize to all of my supporters for whatever mistake this is, but at this time, I have no idea what I’ve done to be terminated, other than maybe it’s retaliation because I didn’t support Morris Williams privately when we were in a 'safe place,' is what he calls it anytime we were in a meeting.”
KWES reported a petition was started by community members to hire him back after the firing.
"The biggest thing I think about Ty is that he cared about the animals," Beth Meeks, a former Midland shelter worker, told KWES. "He was always very concerned, when anything would come in, he would talk to the staff, he would try and get fosters for the dogs, help for the cats; he was very big on trying to get spay and neuter set up."
Former MAS Director Alexis Pugh announced she was leaving in May 2023 for a position with a national animal welfare organization. She had been with MAS since 2016, and the city said the save rate improved to 86% under her tenure.