We recently rolled our eyes hardcore at a story A Kentucky Newspaper ran about Louisville Metro Animal Services. Primarily because the author of the story didn’t bother checking any fact or figure they were provided by Justin Scally, Margaret Brosko and Sadiqa Reynolds.
Seems we weren’t the only ones who rolled our eyes.
A former LMAS employee wrote to the paper and the author with actual figures and information from LMAS. Naturally, they received no response. So we’re publishing the letter in its entirety. Not even going to hide part of it behind a jump link.
I am writing about the article Sheldon Shafer wrote in the Courier Journal online edition of May 11, 2012. There were several inaccuracies that I feel you should be aware of.
Mr. Shafer states that “new director Justin Scally has greatly reduced the percentage of euthanasia of animals taken in by the shelter, while increasing the percentage of adoptions or transfer of animals to other animal-care groups, the figures show.”
Mr. Scally has stated he prefers to use similar months for comparison purposes. Therefore, if we compare the first quarter of 2011 to the same quarter of 2012, euthanasia is down by only 2%, if you compare the number of animals euthanized to the number of animals brought into the shelter. In Jan, Feb, March and April of 2011, 3,690 animals came into LMAS and of that number, 1,369 were euthanized. In Jan, Feb, March and April of 2012, 2,904 animals were brought into the shelter and 1,026 were euthanized.
In my opinion, 2% is not a “great reduction.”
As for “increasing the percentage of adoptions,” the statistics show that for the first four months of 2011, 652 animals were adopted from LMAS. Of that number, 52 were returned for a total of 600 adopted. For the same period in 2012, a total of 739 were adopted and 69 were returned for a total of 670 total adoptions. This increase of 70 adoptions in a four month period equals less than 1 additional adoption per day. This, despite having two more full time adoption personnel at Animal House in 2012 than in 2011.
The reduction in the number of animals received by the shelter is significant but the increase in adoptions is not. When the shelter boasts of increasing the percentage of adoptions, they fail to mention this increase is primarily due to the decrease in their intake numbers. The actual number of adoptions performed has barely changed. If anything, it shows that productivity has actually decreased as there are fewer animals to care for (reduced intake), more staff and an almost imperceptible increase in adoptions.
As far as transfers to other animal rescue groups is concerned, the figures for the first quarter of this year show a decrease to those of the same quarter last year. In Jan, Feb, March and April of 2011, 915 animals were transferred to rescue groups compared to 777 for the same period in 2012. It should be noted that LMAS was recently removed from Petsmart charities Rescue Waggin program after participating for only five months. Rescue Waggin is a rescue program that had the capacity to take up to 90 animals a month out of LMAS to safety in No Kill shelters in the eastern part of the country. Despite a significant amount of publicity when the program began, the loss of this program wasn’t announced by any LMAS staff person, including their own Communication Specialist.
I am not sure what figures Mr. Sheldon used to make the calculations used for this article, but the figures I’m quoting came from LMAS through an open records request. I will be pleased to share these with you if you would like to examine them yourself.
After confirming the above, I am confident you will want to give your readers a revised analysis in order to maintain the journalistic integrity of the Courier Journal.
Sadly, all of those figures have actually been published on this website. So the author didn’t even have to file an open records request – everything was readily available. They just decided it was best to accept spin from three overpaid, inexperienced individuals instead of allowing the actual numbers to speak for themselves.
We can’t wait til June 14 when LMAS will have to address its poor performance at a budget hearing. You can bet Greg Fischer’s office will have someone else show up to speak on behalf of LMAS because they’ll be “too busy” – can’t be having LMAS folks face detractors or people asking legitimate questions. So if you’re at all interested in the LMAS shenanigans, you should consider filling the Metro Council gallery.