Mayor Requests Review of Alleged Animal Services Incident

August 20, 2014

The Metro Council's decision to appoint an ad hoc committee to examine allegations involving a dog at Louisville Metro Animal Services - without first receiving the information that the Animals Services team had offered for weeks to provide them - led Mayor Greg Fischer today to ask the city's Public Integrity Unit to review the incident.

Fischer said the review involving the canine Sadie would ensure that all details are aired in a fair, unbiased way.

"We have made unprecedented progress at Animal Services and have turned around the agency, but anytime questions arise about city services, our citizens deserve the details," Fischer said. "My approach is to always seek the facts and let the data inform the process."

Fischer noted that in 2010, just before he became Mayor, Animal Services was a department in crisis, with a vacuum in leadership and a live animal release rate of 38 percent. In less than four years, the agency has been transformed with a live release rate of 74 percent while creating strategic partnerships with local and national animal agencies, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and Best Friends Animal Society. Both partnerships resulted after an intense review of Metro Animal Services' staff, policies and strategic objectives by animal care professionals from around the nation.

Fischer said his team examined allegations surrounding Sadie when they first surfaced earlier this summer and determined that employees did nothing improper. In fact, although Sadie was surrendered by her owner and could have been euthanized upon intake, staff worked to find a foster home in an attempt to save her life. The team constantly works to reduce the number of animals euthanized, even paying for trips to transfer animals to other cities, where they are adopted.

"I believe that a review by the Public Integrity Unit should answer all the questions that have been raised by my team, the public and the Metro Council," Fischer said. "The data shows that, under the leadership of Assistant Director Donald Robinson, impressive performance gains have continued even though the employees of Animal Services have some of the most emotionally challenging jobs in Metro Government, taking care of animals that people abuse and neglect or abandon."