You know I’ve been foaming at the mouth about the nightmare that this glorious city faces at Metro Animal Services.
But it’s time to let the employees at good people at LMAS have the floor.
Please read this open and heartfelt letter from a Metro Animal Services employee. I have agreed to conceal their identity.
To the people and pet owners of Louisville,
As an employee of Metro Animal Services – one of many who have come forward in the last week – I want to take this opportunity to address you and answer a key question that has been raised.
Many of you have asked why it has taken us “so long” to come forward; I feel the truth needs to be available to those who seek it. The truth is we have been coming forward, for over a year now, to our supervisors, managers, department Director, Metro Council members, members of Greg Fischer’s campaign team and, now, his administration. Despite those consistent efforts, we have gotten nowhere. Our requests have fallen on what would seem to be deaf ears.
We first began by bringing our concerns to Metro Animal Services supervisors and managers. When those individuals refused to hear our concerns, or otherwise dismissed them as overreactions, we went to our Director. At first, he listened patiently, even at times agreeing with our assessment of inadequacies and inconsistencies in policies and employee behavior. However, despite promises of action, no action was ever taken. This did not deter us from returning again and again to him, many times with the same concerns left unaddressed from previous meetings. His reactions changed from patient listening and understanding to hostility and criticism. Our concerns were met with statements such as: “how dare you criticize your fellow employees; their jobs are so hard. You have no idea what they go through; you are not to question them.” It was clear that we had to go elsewhere.
So, we went to Metro Council. Several council members, and one in particular, have met with us on multiple occasions. We have recounted our experiences, brought forth evidence of euthanasia, adoption, and rescue numbers. I believe that at least one council member is completely dedicated to seeing change made at Animal Services; however, for whatever reason (political or otherwise), action by Metro Council to affect that much needed change has been slow in coming.
Once the mayoral candidates were decided in May’s primary, we began approaching both candidates to tell our story. We told them what has happened under the current “leadership” of our agency and presented a detailed plan to improve it. Both candidates were receptive, making promises of change at Animal Services. We anxiously awaited November’s general election.
When it was decided that Greg Fischer would become Louisville’s 50th mayor, we immediately moved to schedule meetings with members of his transition team. We presented our evidence again, along with more in-depth statistical analysis of the numbers. We were promised change was afoot.
In light of news that Mayor Greg Fischer has called for a complete review at LMAS, I think you’ll want to read the rest of this exclusive letter after the jump…
Throughout this process, the atrocities never stopped. Each new meeting we scheduled with Metro Council or Mayor Fischer’s team involved new evidence. We became more and more desperate; it seemed no matter the actions occurring at the shelter – no matter how disgusting, how painful to witness, how illegal – no action was ever taken to correct the wrongdoings or to punish those at fault.
So last week, when we decided to come forward with our evidence to the media, it was not out of spite. It was not because we wanted anonymous fame. It was not because we hadn’t already tried every other possible outlet we could think of.
Rather, it is because we are at the end of our ropes. It is because, collectively, we have reached a point where we can no longer sleep at night, knowing what is happening at the shelter, knowing we haven’t totally exhausted ourselves trying to right the situation. We feel as though telling our story to the media is a last resort. We have reached our breaking point.
Every single one of us fears for our jobs. We fear retaliation, harassment, and belittling from management. Perhaps most of all, we fear not being able to help the animals – if we lose our jobs, not only would we lose our income and health care benefits, but (most importantly for some) we would lose the little access we have to help some of the animals. We are dedicated animal lovers; we put the animals above ourselves everyday – the ones in our homes and the ones in the shelter. We took this step, fully knowing what we risk in doing so, for the animals in the shelter. The ones who look death in the face every day, for reasons like “too hyper,” “too lazy,” “barks too much,” “doesn’t seek affection,” “fearful,” and a whole host of others. (We are not arguing that no animal should be euthanized; by all means, any animal truly dangerous to the public should be removed from the public. Our argument, among many, is that animals are being euthanized for the wrong reasons – while countless volunteers and rescues beg for access to save them and are denied.)
Thank you to those who have stepped up in support of our efforts; and more so, thank you to all of you who act to help animals in Louisville. We can see positive change happen if we act as a unified front.