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Council Members Launch Investigative Panel Into Louisville Animal Services

A bipartisan duo of Louisville Metro Council members announced Tuesday the creation of an ad hoc committee tasked with investigating a series of allegations about the city's animal services department.Republican Kelly Downard and Democrat Cindi Fowler will co-chair the panel, which will conduct an eight-week probe of the department based on accusations published last month in TheVilleVoice.com."We believe that's it important in our job to provide oversight for the administration and that's why we're doing it," said Downard.Council members have a particular interest in a July 22 story alleging animal cruelty involving a pitbull named Sadie, which died while in LMAS care earlier this year. The VilleVoice report includes allegations that, among other things, former LMAS senior manager Margaret Brosko's negligence led to the animal's death.Brosko, who now works in Mayor Greg Fischer's communications office, could not be reached for comment. In an Aug. 19 letter, attorney Gwendolyn Snodgrass, who is representing a group of unnamed individuals familiar with the case, requested city officials conduct an investigation regarding animal cruelty."Kentucky courts have ruled that failure to provide necessary veterinary care that resulted in immense suffering of the animal, self-mutilation in an effort to relieve pain, is a criminal offense, and some of the perpetrators are serving significant jail time," Snodgrass said in a letter to the county attorney's office."If the allegations against LMAS and Ms. Brosko are confirmed, an animal in LMAS custody was subjected to cruel neglect by LMAS' failure to provide health care."Downard, R-16, said many of Snodgrass' clients have already spoken with city lawmakers about the so-called "Sadie case" anonymously, but that it's time for the council to conduct act."In the case of Sadie they want that case reviewed in terms of potential animal cruelty, which is a violation of state law," said Downard. "So there's issues to look at and we're going to have to do it. And it's not just one person saying it."We've talked to several people, now we have to do things openly, on television and let the people also see what we've found, and help make some decisions."The special committee will not propose any legislation or take votes on policies, Downard said. It will review department actions, hear testimony from city officials, and review practices and operations.The ad hoc panel will hold its first meeting on Aug. 27. The full membership for the committee will be announced in the coming days."We look forward to sharing the information with Metro Council," said LMAS assistant director Donald Robinson. "All of the facts will be put out on the table, so that's what we're focusing in on right now."