The Metro Animal Services Madness Never Ends

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.

-Jake

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.

SNIP-

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.

SNIP-

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.)

7 thoughts on “The Metro Animal Services Madness Never Ends

  1. “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”

    Wow. This is exactly what I think. I can’t tell you how many people in the rescue community jump on me for not getting along and playing nice. I actually had someone tell me last night that I made it all about me… hello! I was speaking up..where were you?

    For years – rescues and a few volunteers and some caring staff did what they could. They worked VERY HARD to save some while thousands died. To me – anyone who witnessed the things I witnessed while volunteering at LMAS should have spoken up. I don’t understand for one second why anyone could be quiet about it.

    I think it’s fair to give the guy a chance…but I’ve seen how this administration operates from the inside out and I’m a little more than fearful. Of course – No Kill Louisville’s volunteers (all of us) will work with LMAS no matter who is in charge to get as many pets out as possible – as we have since before it existed, upon its founding, and in the time since… we’ve never stopped, not once helping any chance we were able to but yet we, me, us, lots of people who are “NKL’ers” speak up… so should any pet loving or simply justice loving person.

    That place is an embarrassment and it WILL NOT change unless the pressure remains. I hope that Mr. Scally does a great job and does right by those animals… but I’m definitely cautiously optimistic. Guess what? He’ll never have to guess where I’m coming from and he’ll always know what I’m going to do – unlike the Fischer administration. If he uses every avenue to save the animals, then I’ll be his biggest advocate.

    One thing I’m really frustrated about – I’ve seen posts about “spay – please spay/neuter or these dogs wouldn’t be here” – I agree with that. spay/neuter should happen comprehensively, across the board. It’s two parts of the 11 part no kill equation BUT a “shelter” is a place that is supposed to deal with the problem – not simply kill the problem away. It is NOT the fault of the public that a shelter kills. That is a choice – I’ve seen the reasons for it – poor customer service, no critical thinking, lack of immediate vaccinations causing the pets to become sick, lack of proactive public relations (some of which seems to be changing), poor management, poor management of foster database, and more and more.

  2. I agree with Ms. Reid 100% . I am a LMAS volunteer and believe the agency, especially Manslick, is a wreck and its operation anti public, cruelty and bigger disaster waiting to happen.
    Some of us are not afraid of voicing my concerns but my problem is that they can just wear you out. I have repeatedly contacted the Mayor’s Office. I got referred to Reynolds and then her assistant. The answer was the exact same script, I believe to the word, regardless of my questions. I went to his meet and greet night to talk to him personally and quess what happen. He called Reynold’s assistant over to take charge of me and etc, etc.
    I also want to give Mr. Scully a chance and must hope he will go the limit to improve the shelter. I pray move it toward a NKL philosophy it not a NKL shelter. But if he does, we better be there to support him because I have no doubt the administration will be there to stop him.

  3. Nine people in 2 weeks is a LOT considering the ban for employees contacting you/media and the nervousness it causes volunteers to put something in writing. The mess at MAS is personal for me, too.

  4. Honestly, it’s a lot for any period of time. Usually it’s just two or three. And most of these new folks that have been less than kind in the past.

  5. Keep it coming Jake. SOMEONE has to keep the pressure on. If you don’t do it our fabulous news and print media here in town would just as well forget about it. The people on the inside who have to be absolutely sick to death about what is happening have to have an outlet. And the people of this city deserve to know the conditions and abuse their tax dollars are paying for.

  6. We need a TNR program – NOW!!! I’ve heard two people in the last week say they’d gladly pay for “community cats” to get neutered/spayed – but that they can’t take full responsibility for them – which is what happens when you take them to a local vet. You are expected to go the entire gamut of shots, etc., and then the never ending dinging by MAS to keep up their shots. These aren’t feral cats, but friendly, local cats that live in a community and often are fed by several families – who can’t take them in because 1) family allergies, 2) dogs that don’t get one with cats or 3) already have enough indoor cats.

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