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Metro Council Panel Criticizes Louisville Animal Services in Injured Dog Case

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A special Metro Council committee formed to investigate a series of allegations against senior management at Louisville Metro Animal Services has issued a report critical of the agency and the executive branch of Metro Government.

The ad hoc panelreleased its findings Wednesday. It concluded LMAS knowingly neglected an injured pit bull named Sadie, failed to properly apply donations made for the dog’s surgery and improperly disciplined an LMAS employee who sought out care on her own for the animal.

Panel co-chair Kelly Downard said obtaining information for the investigation was difficult.

“The committee met one road block after another, and this is in the report, that prevented quick resolution of the inquiry and at times seemed designed to halt the investigation altogether," said Downard, a Council Republican.

Downard said the committee’s findings have been turned over to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

The investigation was triggered by reporting by  thevillevoice.com.

A new leadership team has been installed at LMAS since the probe began earlier this year. The former senior managers named in the report, Margaret Brosko and Donald Robinson, now work in other Metro Government departments.

They have not commented publicly on the allegations.

In a statement late Wednesday, Mayor Greg Fischer said:
"Animal Services has been the biggest turnaround of the first four years of my administration. We've improved our live release rate from 38 percent five years ago to the upper 70s today. Thousands more animals are now leaving our shelters alive every year. The council found some weaknesses during its review and we've already responded with improvements to our donation and open records policies. My entire team is committed to always improving—it's part of our culture. It's very unfortunate what happened with Sadie. We remain committed to moving forward and helping save as many animals as we can."
The LMAS employee who fostered, Heather Adkins, the dog no longer works for LMAS. The panel recommended that her personnel file be amended to exonerate her of any wrongdoing.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the employee who fostered the dog.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.