Fischer accepts Animal Services review, looking for agency to take over shelter

From the Mayor's Office:

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Saying Metro Animal Services needs a complete turnaround and professional help to accomplish it, Mayor Greg Fischer has announced that the city will contract with a private agency to handle pet care, sheltering and adoptions while the city will focus on animal control.

His action follows receipt this morning of a performance review which concludes that animal services has for years lacked structure, leadership, resources and a plan for improvement.

The six-person review committee concluded that cities around the country considered models in animal welfare and control have created public-private partnerships.

"As the committee searched the country for examples….a similar theme was revealed: Government entities focused on what they know best, which is the law enforcement aspects of animal care and control," the report said.

"Because of limited resources at the government level, all best in class governmental facilities have developed public-private partnerships for tasks that reach beyond law enforcement. It is the committee's overriding recommendation that Metro Animal Services seek this same scenario."

Fischer says he agrees with that conclusion and it will help move toward his goal of making Louisville a city in which no adoptable pet is euthanized.

"We must take drastic and immediate action to improve Animal Services, and I believe this will be the most effective course," Fischer said. "The problems at Animal Services are multifaceted but they have gone on too long."

Fischer said a request for proposals will be released as soon as possible allowing any animal welfare agency in Louisville or the country to submit plans for assuming control of adoptions. Agencies will have 21 days to respond and a committee will then review all proposals. Once an agency is chosen, the city will negotiate a contract with the group. The entire process could take up to nine weeks.

Fischer also announced that, pending the awarding of the contract, the city is suspending its search for a director of Animal Services and instead will seek to hire a manager to oversee the animal control division, whose main job is to pick up strays, lost pets and dangerous animals and to enforce the city's animal ordinance.

Fischer also announced several interim steps to improve animal adoption and to better communicate with the public. The city has revamped the Animal Services website,, making it easier to use and to see pets needing homes. The website includes a monthly report showing the intake of animals and how many were adopted or rescued and it includes videos, produced by Metro TV, featuring adoptable animals.

The city also is sending an email alert each Friday to rescue groups notifying them of animals which are facing euthanasia. In its first week, the alert led to the rescue of 41 of 46 animals.

Fischer said there are many passionate and dedicated employees at Metro Animal Services – both present and past.

"I want to thank each and every one of them for their work. This performance review isn't an indictment of any one person," he said. "The lack of good leadership over the years at Animal Services - along with many, many other issues —has led to many of the problems we face today."