Public Integrity review finds no wrongdoing in Louisville Metro Animal Services case

February 6, 2015

After a thorough months-long review, Louisville Metro Police — along with the Jefferson County Attorney and the Jefferson County Commonwealth Attorney — have found no criminal wrongdoing or neglect regarding a dog in the care of Louisville Metro Animal Services that was surrendered by its owner.

The review, requested by Mayor Greg Fischer last August after questions surfaced about a pit bull named Sadie, found that the facts didn’t support any charges. The review by LMPD’s Public Integrity Unit further concluded that there was no misuse of donation money meant to help the animal. It also concluded that the whistleblower law did not apply in this case.

“This investigation was both thorough and complete,” Police Chief Steve Conrad wrote in a letter to Mayor Fischer. “During the course of this investigation, investigators could find no evidence to support the allegations that members of LMAS intentionally or wantonly caused injury to the dog. Additionally, Mr. Ingram Quick, Director of Internal Audit, conducted an independent review of the internal documents maintained by LMAS and found no criminal activity regarding the funds collected on behalf of the dog.”

“All monies that were collected for Sadie’s surgery were refunded to the donors who could be identified,” added Commonwealth Attorney Thomas B. Wine. “There is no evidence to support any allegation that members of the LMAS management intentionally or wantonly caused injury to Sadie.”

Fischer said the significant improvements at LMAS led to the most successful turnaround of his first term as Mayor. The agency now has a live release rate in the middle to upper 70 percent range -- compared to upper 30s when he took office in January 2011.

He also acknowledged that the review in this matter has led to positive changes across city government, including a new policy for recording donations and improvements to the Open Records process.

“A core value of my team is the willingness to improve the work of Metro Government. We worked together with the Metro Council to identify weaknesses in donations and open records policies and we have improved them,” Fischer said.

Sadie was one of approximately 10,000 animals annually in the care of Animal Services. On two separate occasions, she was brought to the shelter, the second time abandoned by her owner. Sadie could have been euthanized on the day her owner surrendered her, but an LMAS employee took the dog into her care. 

The staff at LMAS works each day to save every animal, Fischer said. Most have pets of their own, and many foster.  

“Nearly every Monday morning, LMAS employees come into work to find owners surrendering animals.  The real way to reduce euthanasia is to educate pet owners in our community.  We hope now to move the conversation in that direction, as Sadie was one of thousands that end up in our shelter each year,” Fischer said. 

Wine pointed out that everyone had good intentions, including LMAS staff and the fostering employee, who declined to be interviewed by police. But, Wine wrote, “LMAS does not have sufficient resources to provide extraordinary care, such as amputations.”

To view related documents, click here.