Metro Animal Services Director: took the job for the animals

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Justin Scally has a lot of work ahead of him, heading up an embattled city agency. He faced criticism immediately after being picked to lead Louisville Metro Animal Services, but Monday morning, he went to work.

Scally comes to Louisville from the Humane Society of the United States where he was a manager for two years. He also worked as an animal control director and animal control officer before that. He takes this job at just 26 years old.

"I don't think age has anything to do with it," said Scally. "I think that's a simple and easy question. I have the compassion and the drive to help lead this agency in the right direction, and in the end that's what it's all about."

Scally's leading a department that's had a thundercloud over its head for years. At the end of 2009 former director Giles Meloche resigned amid accusations of sexual harassment and mismanagement. In February interim director Wayne Zelinsky resigned after the administration learned he was operating a racy website that provided VIP access to escorts and private entertainment. Two interim directors have been in place since then, so WAVE 3 asked Scally why he would take this job.

"It's a challenge and I think that the animals need the help that they can get," said Scally.

Scally says he's going to review policies and procedures and wants to address a major structural issue.

"(The Animal Care Center) is very outdated, is insufficient for our operations," said Scally.

Scally met with his leadership team first thing Monday morning and says they will be looking to hire for five vacant positions that include openings in enforcement, animal care, and an adoption coordinator.

WAVE 3 asked turning LMAS into a No-Kill facility.

"We are working towards the end of euthanasia for healthy adoptable animals and that's what the goal is," said Scally.

Copyright 2011 WAVE News. All rights reserved.