While Advocates Sought Rescue, MAS Killed Dog #239138 for Thinning Hair

On Tuesday, Memphis advocate Jody Fisher contacted MAS regarding some German Shepherds she had seen at the pound.  She was seeking more information in order to share with breed rescue groups. After receiving a response from Tracy Dunlap at the pound, Jody shared the info with fellow advocate Jan Courtney.

Among the several GSDs referenced, one (who was listed on PetHarbor with no photo or name) was described by Mr. Dunlap as “239138 – Due out today, alopecia, not an adoption candidate”. Naturally, those of us who care about the lives of shelter pets became concerned. Jan wrote back to MAS with questions about the dog and I put out word with the rescue groups that I would use funds from our reader donations to pay expenses if anyone was able to save this dog.

Unfortunately, pet advocates weren’t quicker than the high volume kill room assembly line at MAS. They killed the dog. Jan wrote to the vet (Rebecca Coleman) and the director (James Rogers) to express her outrage and question why this dog was killed for thinning hair/bald spots. The director replied that the dog had been killed for mange.  The vet wrote back saying that the dog wasn’t on the kill list, that the vets “only authorize euthanasia for animals that are suffering and in great pain” and Jan had jumped to wrong conclusions. Obviously Jan challenged this assertion. She never heard another word from anyone at MAS about the dog.

Read the e-mail string below and weep. This is not change. This is more of the same excuses, needless killing and lies from MAS. Another chokepole class for the staff perhaps?

On Wed, Apr 11, 2012 at 10:03 AM, Tracy Dunlap wrote:

Here are the stats on the dogs you were inquiring about.

237266 – ADOPTED
239138 – Due out today, alopecia, not an adoption candidate 238952 – on adoption floor
238170 – on adoption floor
238460 – due out 3/30/12 pending evaluation will be moved to adoption.


On Wed, Apr 11, 2012 at 12:17 PM, Jan Courtney wrote:

Tracy, Jody Fisher forwarded a copy of your email regarding the German Shepherds at Memphis Animal Services as she is trying to rescue another dog today. I am really surprised that Memphis Animal Services has elected not to put #239138 as an adoption candidate because of alopecia because this is the partial or complete absence of hair from areas of the body where it normally grows or baldness. This could easily be caused by stress or dietary conditions. This really concerns me and if this dog is euthanized simply because he or she has bald spots, this REALLY REALLY concerns me.

Please advise.

Thank you.

Jan Courtney


On Wed, Apr 11, 2012 at 12:54 PM, Tracy Dunlap wrote:


I do not have a degree in veterinary medicine. I rely on the professional opinions of our medical personnel. As this is a policy/procedural issue, I have included Mr. Rogers and Dr. Coleman in this response. In the future, if you have issues with our medical decisions, please direct them to Mr. Rogers. I have no authority to override our medical staffs findings. I am trying to take a picture of this dog to send to Jody and I have placed a hold on the dog as this is all I can do at this time. Thank you for asking about this dog and if I can assist further, please let me know.


On Wed, Apr 11, 2012 at 12:56 PM, Shirley Thistlethwaite wrote:

If anyone can rescue #239138, I will help with expenses from the blog’s donation fund. Readers have donated for the specific purpose of helping pets at MAS that MAS refuses to help themselves. This dog qualifies. Let me know if anyone can help this dog.


On Wed, Apr 11, 2012 at 1:10 PM, Tracy Dunlap wrote:


Thank you for asking about this dog. Unfortunately this dog has already been euthanized. If you have further questions, please let us know.


On Wed, Apr 11, 2012 at 1:34 PM, Jan Courtney wrote:

Tracy, I do indeed have further questions. When did hair loss become a reason to kill a dog. We could have spared this dog’s life and Jody said that there were rescue groups that were interested in transporting several German Shepherds. Why was this dog killed? I am absolutely sickened by this, especially when we could have found this dog a home. I rescued a dog named Dora that was in quarantine because she had a “bald spot” and I am sure that she also would have been killed. Dora is now a healthy and happy dog living in a loving home and she is the light in this family’s life.

Mr. Rogers, what do you have to say about this? I was looking for you to bring about change at Memphis Animal Services. This is not good.


On Wed, Apr 11, 2012 at 1:46 PM, Jan Courtney wrote:

Dr. Coleman, why would you authorize that a German Shepherd with hair loss be euthanized today. Jody Fisher had been emailing Tracy Dunlap that there were rescue groups interested in the German Shepherds at MAS and we received an email from Tracy that this dog was not an adoption candidate and was due out today because of alopecia. WHICH IS HAIR LOSS OR BALDING.

Which is probably caused by the stress this dog was under or the diet you had him on. Or maybe it was an allergic reaction. NONE OF WHICH ARE REASONS TO EUTHANIZE A DOG.

Why did you authorize the killing of this dog, 239138. Was it retaliation? Tell me so I can understand why you made this heartless decision.

Jan Courtney


On Wed, Apr 11, 2012 at 2:36 PM, Rebecca Coleman wrote:

Ms. Courtney,

There are notes in this animal’s file that it has hairloss. We routinely make notes about animals if we find medical issues that are noteworthy. The veterinarians only authorize euthanasia for animals that are suffering and in great pain. This animal would not meet that criteria. I just checked the records, and the animal is not listed for euthanasia, nor are there any notations of any type that indicate or suggest euthanasia. I think you may have jumped to some incorrect conclusions.

R. Coleman, DVM

Veterinary Medical Director

Memphis Animal Services


On Wed, Apr 11, 2012 at 3:05 PM, James Rogers wrote:

Ms. Courtney,

You are right. This is not good. The animal was euthanized today at 11:00 am because of mange.

It should not have happened and we are painstakingly making sure this does not happen again.

Your help in rescuing is truly appreciated. Please continue to help us place animals for positive outcomes.

Thank you

James M. Rogers

Administrator, MAS


On Wed, Apr 11, 2012 at 4:52 PM, Jan Courtney wrote:

Dr. Coleman, Tracy Dunlap sent an email at 1:10 PM today that this dog was euthanized. Your email shows 2:36 PM. Then Mr. Rogers sent an email at 3:05 PM today that this dog was euthanized because of mange. You are telling me something totally different in that this dog did not meet the criteria for euthanization.

What really happened to this dog and if you, as the vet at Memphis Animal Services, are the one who authorizes the euthanizations of the animals at MAS, why is it that you did not know that the dog had been euthanized. And how did this dog’s condition suddenly change from alopecia to mange. Demodetic mange is also treatable too and is no cause for euthanization.

23 thoughts on “While Advocates Sought Rescue, MAS Killed Dog #239138 for Thinning Hair

  1. omg omg omg! HEAD HITTING KEYBOARD! RIP sweet HAIRLESS dog – – you deserved better. Thanks for the valiant effort of those who REALLY CARE about the animals at MAS.

  2. I wish I could say that this surprises me but it doesn’t.

    The more I read about MAS, the more it seems to me like they don’t want to save animals, they just want to kill them.

    It’s very sad.

  3. What a damned song and dance the MAS staff and their Director do! Shame shame on them. A beautiful GSD was killed because a vet either wasn’t paying attention or was shoving the buck; a director was a sudden “expert” at determining mange in a dog when he has no experience with dogs; and the apparent head in charge of securing placements for dogs wasn’t a medical expert!

    I find none of you are expert in anything at all. Oh, wait….playing the blame game for killing dogs for no reason; that you are definately expert at.

    I suggest you sit down and assess your role in shelter care and either get your act together or get a new line of work, preferably one that doesn’t have lives of innocents in your hands.

  4. Hair loss can be caused by stress or diet. It can also be caused by a flea allergy, a thyroid condition, cushings disease, mange (either demodectic or sarcoptic, sarcoptic being contagious and demodectic being autoimmune related), a fungus, or even a skin infection. All of these things are easily treatable. Sometimes hair loss can be caused by a genetic abnormality in the follicles. I knew a beagle-harrier who was bald on her black spots. Her white and brown places at hair, but her black spots were nekkid for no reason other than the follicles were abnormal. She was a cute, little partially nekkid dog. :)

    Poor GSD who never got a chance. :(

  5. Perhaps if MAS folks would use truthful terminology, they might see what they are actually doing . . .
    that poor dog was NOT euthanized. She was KILLED!
    Let’s stop sugar-coating and say it how it is.
    Most of the animals at MAS are KILLED!
    And what do you say to that, Mr Rogers? No, it’s not good!

  6. Dr. Coleman should have been arrested during the raid in 2009. But she was actually the whitsleblower….SMH

  7. This e-mails are giving a great inside look in to how responsibility is shuffled from one person to the next at MAS. Nobody wants to take responsibility for anything and there doesn’t seem to be any kind of accountability.

    1. Isn’t that the truth! All the fingers pointing blame at someone else and all the while there are four fingers pointing back at them. They are all to blame.

  8. would someone mind sharing email addresses and fax numbers if known of the head honchoes at MAS?

    1. If you click on Memphis Animal Services – Take Action on the right side of the blog, you will have all the information you need. Be warned, though, that they don’t answer emails (at least in my experience). I emailed the new director (is he still interim?) about this situation (and others) and have heard nothing back.
      I do think we need to keep writing to them, though. They need to be aware that we aren’t going to go away.

  9. Does MAS have a status for rescue only? Did this dog have a skin test done for mange? If MAS is too cheap to have one done then the dog should have been listed as rescue only!

  10. My most recent pibble foster from MAS broke out with demodectic mange after he had been with me for about a month. I honestly thought it was a hot spot that wasn’t going away, but when it broke out near his eye in addition to his forearm, I called Dr. Coleman. She said to bring him in and she’d check him out. My finace left work early to get him to the shelter, and I rushed there after work to pick up our foster son. Turns out Dr. Coleman had forgotten to examine him. He sat in a cage in the clinic the entire day with no food or water. Their excuse? “We don’t know what you’ve been feeding him and didn’t want to upset his stomach.” I was livid. Glenn Andrews said to leave him there overnight and he’d be sure my foster was checked out first thing in the morning. I took him out to potty and fed/watered him while I was there, and cried myself to sleep all night over the fact that I had to leave him overnight. Glenn assured me he’d take care of him, though.

    The next day, I called to check on my foster. Dr. Coleman said all the vet techs were out to lunch and they had access to his records (?) so I’d have to wait for one of them to call me back. An hour later, I get a call from Dr. Coleman explaining that my foster has mange, and that while it’s treatable, he’s no longer an adoption candidate. She told me there was nothing she could do for him, and told me that if I didn’t want to come pick him up, she’d “take care of him” (HER EXACT WORDS). I left work right then and FLEW to the shelter to get my foster. I was livid. And of course, there was no one there that day who could talk to me. No supervisor, no Dr. Coleman, no one. I left with my foster and took him to my vet, who was absolutely disgusted at what Dr. Coleman had said. My vet was also not surprised in the least that my foster hadn’t even had a skin scrape, meaning Dr. Coleman “diagnosed” him visually. A month of ivermectin and eye ointment, and he was good as new. Today, he’s spoiled rotten and spends his evenings cuddling with his forever family on their couch watching TV, after spending nearly every day outside with them on walks, runs, bike rides, etc. He’s got a WONDERFUL life, super devoted parents, several cat siblings he adores, and he wouldn’t even be here today had Dr. Coleman had her way.

    Just another reason my username is EX-MAS volunteer…

      1. Something makes me think she didn’t mean “bring him home with me and nurse him properly and tend to his needs while he sleeps on a soft couch with blankies”…

  11. Typical MAS responses…non acceptance of policy/ptocedures….Someone should admit that there are a number of reasons that dogs are deemed non-adoptable and subsequently euthanized in kill shelter envirinments….and unfortunately mange (likely sarcoptic), which is highly contagious to other animals and humans alike is one if them…however if someone had an interest and willingness coupled with a means to treat this should be considered based on the severity of the condition….Rebecca Coleman is a joke….she wants to run the shelter and.she will pull any unethical tactics she can to accomplish her goal…to include lying, staging, and.falsifying reports…..

  12. Typo-environments….and while it is true that I do have a lot of insight regarding MAS….any expressed opinion about an individual is just that, my opinion, based on fact…

  13. “It should not have happened and we are painstakingly making sure this does not happen again.”

    WHAT are they doing to make sure it doesn’t happen again??!!! WTF kind of answer is that?! GAH!!!!!!

  14. Wow…just wow. Between this story and the “Ex-MAS Volunteer”‘s story, I just get more and more horrified as time goes by with this place! I had such high hopes with Mr Rogers too. Nope, just same ole same ole.

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