When we started talking about Louisville Metro Animal Services in mid-2007, it was all I could do to muster interest that was more than passing. I didn’t want to accept it, deal with it or understand the inner workings of yet another corrupt local government agency. Especially one dealing with such sensitive areas of life. Especially one seemingly devoid of compassion on any tangible level.
That’s clearly changed. LMAS changed me. It changed everyone else here. It turned my friends and colleagues who couldn’t stand dogs and cats into activists and concerned citizens. It’s driven the community to care about its needy critters. It’s forced government to try to take responsibility – no matter how late in the game.
It’s now personal. It’s infuriating. It’s sickening.
We have high hopes for change at LMAS and we’re going to continue focusing on it – good or bad. So if you don’t like it? You don’t want to hear about it and just want to sit in denial like we tried to do in 2007? Then, by all means, it’s time to stop visiting The ‘Ville Voice. And believe me, I’d love nothing more than to stop talking about LMAS.
On the story…
In just under two weeks we have received emails from nine different employees and volunteers at Metro Animal Services. Some of them hate each other and have no clue I’m communicating with more than one of them. But their messages all have a constant theme: fear, corruption, incompetence and a sheer lack of responsibility when it comes to LMAS. Not on their parts – but of management and the Fischer Administration — primarily Sadiqa Reynolds, who allegedly can’t help but cause drama and work to silence employees with concerns rather than work with them. Because that’s what a “community builder” does – builds distrust and unrest in the community, right?
Here are some excerpts from emails we are receiving from highly credible individuals. Some of them were key in breaking many other stories in the past, so I have solid faith in them.
Then there’s the guy with apparent MRSA who walked into Manslick Saturday and said the dog he adopted had given him a staph infection. They took the dog and killed it, no questions asked. Two volunteers were there. One is a nurse, young and new to volunteering; she thought she recognized MRSA (which I think is not a zoonotic disease) and her assessment was that if the dog had given the guy a zoonotic staph infection, there would have been an outbreak at Manslick. But staff didn’t question, and they didn’t test the dog. They just killed it.
Neither the good staff nor the rescues will come forward because they’re afraid they’ll be fired, banned, or refused access. As I see it, they’re choosing to allow systematic cruelty and killing to go on unchallenged in order to help those few they’re allowed to help, but they don’t believe that challenging it would make a difference.
If volunteers, rescuers, and staff go to the media or otherwise go public, the mayor’s staff and LMAS can retaliate, but if the Mayor’s office and LMAS ban or otherwise fuck with volunteers, rescuers, and staff, those people have lots of evidence with which to go public. And if Sadiqa shut down the volunteer program, or if she got the new people to do it, OR if they do it on their own, that would be news and draw criticism. But the volunteers et al. seem to accept their threatened position and not realize their power. I don’t know; maybe my perspective just reflects my naiive idealism.
I’m holding the more serious stories for a while out of courtesy. It’s best to give Justin Scally at least a few weeks to try to clean up shop.
These excerpts are the most tame we could find in all that we have received. So you can expect more.
Several things we’ve written about over the past year – serious issues, some potential legal and ethical issues – are raging on harder than ever. So you can bet those will be what we focus on first, as, well, with anything these folks do, they almost never weed out the corrupt of the bunch. (No, this isn’t even cynicism at this point – it’s proved to be reality time and again.)