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Former Deputy Police Chief Tapped For Top Animal Services Spot

Louisville City Hall
J. Tyler Franklin
Louisville City Hall

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is calling on a recently retired Metro Police Deputy Chief to head the city's Animal Services agency.

In an email Thursday, Fischer said he's appointing Ozzy Gibson to head the long troubled agency.

Gibson retired earlier this year from the police department. His law enforcement career began in 1989 and he earned $125,000 annually upon retirement, according to a city database.

Fischer said Gibson is fit for the job due to his experience "managing a large agency, overseeing budgets and leading capital projects."

He also noted Gibson's standing relationship with Metro Government and the Metro Council as added benefits of his hire.

"He's also a lover of animals," Fischer noted.

Gibson will replace Jessica Jo Montgomery, who resigned this week after serving less than two years as the executive director of Animal Services. She earned $97,000 annually in her role as head of of the department, according to a city database.

Fischer, in his statement, said Montgomery left her post to "pursue another opportunity in Florida." A spokesman for Animal Services said Montgomery would not be available for comment.

Montgomery's tenure was not without controversy.

Last year, she was the subject of a Louisville Metro Police Department Public Integrity Unit investigation which stemmed from accusations that Montgomery illegally euthanized a colleague's dog.

Susan Ely, director of the Jefferson County Attorney's criminal division, sent a letter to Sgt. Robert Banta of LMPD's Public Integrity Unit suggesting no criminal complaint be filed against Montgomery.

Ely also suggested the case be referred to the Kentucky Veterinary Board for review and that an internal review be conducted of Louisville Metro Animal Services to ensure the situation doesn't happen again.

Chris Poynter, a spokesman for Fischer's office, said due to Montgomery's resignation, the "internal review has ceased."

Before Montgomery took over Animal Services, the agency had been under fire with allegations of misconduct and animal cruelty.

In 2014, turmoil involving LMAS centered on a pit bull named Sadie, whose death drew accusations of negligence by a former LMAS senior manager.

The claims of misconduct led Metro Council members Kelly Downard (R-16) and Cindi Fowler (D-14) to launch a council investigation into the organization.

Jacob Ryan is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative reporting. He's an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.

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