Council Committee Grills Meloche Over Flood Evacuation

by Gabe Bullard on September 9, 2009

The Louisville Metro Council’s accountability and oversight committee Wednesday held the first of two consecutive meetings focusing on Metro Animal Services director Dr. Gilles Meloche.

Committee members grilled Meloche about his agency’s reaction during the August 4th flood. The MAS facility on Manslick Road was inundated and while some animals drowned, most were evacuated to the fairgrounds.

Meloche says his team had received disaster training.

“Everybody knew exactly what to do, so we’re just talking to each other, okay, exactly,” he said. “We knew exactly who to contact—everybody, so that’s why we were able to move so fast.”

Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh questioned the effectiveness of that training, given the lack of a written evacuation plan.

“The idea was to have all this training and have the right plan in the coming fall. Because during the summer that’s our time,” said Meloche. ”

You didn’t have time to put the plan down on paper?” asked Ward-Pugh.

“No, not yet…not yet,” Meloche replied.

Councilman Bob Henderson defended MAS’s actions.

“When you take water going from a couple of inches, to go up to three feet in 30 minutes, I’d like somebody to get on the ball and tell me how you could do a much better job than you guys done,” said Henderson. “I’m going to commend you for the job you done.”

Most committee members questioned Meloche’s preparation and handling of animal records after the evacuation. Meloche will appear before the committee again in two weeks to address a financial audit of his agency.

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