Local News Politics Uncategorized

LMAS Installs Barriers At Manslick To Stem Disease Spread

With some help from the private sector, Louisville Metro Animal Services is upgrading its Manslick Road facility to help stop the spread of distemper and other diseases.

Workers have been installing dozens of plastic barriers between the chain-link canine kennel runs at Manslick.

MAS Director Justin Scally says the barriers will prevent dogs from spreading disease through nose-to-nose contact.

“As the municipal animal shelter for Louisville Metro, we take in everything that is brought to us, and so there may be an animal that has symptoms of distemper that’s brought in. There may be an animal that’s brought in that has kennel cough. Our responsibility is that we keep it under control,” Scally said.

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Humane Society of the United States President Supports LMAS Director

The president of the Humane Society of the United States says he believes Louisville Metro Animal Services Director Justin Scally is qualified to improve the troubled department.

Wayne Pacelle is in Louisville on a book tour. He hopes to use his time in the city to meet with Scally, who worked for the Humane Society before Mayor Greg Fischer appointed him to his current post.

“I know that he shares our enthusiasm for ending euthanasia,” says Pacelle. “We know, though, that it’s not just up to animal services. It needs to be a community-wide solution. Everyone’s got to participate. We have to have all hands on deck to adopt out animals and to sterilize animals and to deal with all the issues that are critical.”

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LMAS Closes Temporary Shelter

Louisville Metro Animal Services has closed a temporary shelter that was set up last month to help stop the spread of distemper and other diseases at the Manslick Road operation.

Officials opened the shelter September 20 in an old public works garage next to the MAS adoption center off Newburg Road to separate new intake animals from the Manslick population.

As a precaution, all new animals arriving at Manslick will be cared for in a separate building on the property by staff that has not had contact with the main shelter.

No new cases of distemper have been diagnosed at the shelter, but two possible cases were identified by officers in animals picked up over the weekend.

Pet owners are being encouraged to have their animals vaccinated to prevent the spread of deadly diseases.

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After Distemper Outbreak, LMAS Opening Temporary Shelter

Louisville Metro Animal Services Director Justin Scally is calling on the community to help with the latest outbreak of distemper in dogs at its facilities.

The department will open up a temporary shelter tomorrow to deal with the latest outbreak. The disease is highly contagious and causes respiratory ailments, depression and loss of appetite. There have been 10 reported cases of distemper in dogs since June.

Scally says the agency is currently running three different facilities, but they are being mindful of the cost to the taxpayers while trying to make the animals healthy.

“Obviously this is a situation where we need to address the disease issue. If we want to look at our Manslick Road facility and Louisville Metro Animal Services as a whole, we want to make sure that these animals are healthy. You’re never going to have a 100 percent where there’s no animal sick because you’re bringing in animals from the community, but we do have an obligation to make sure that we’re doing the best we can to protect them while they’re in our custody,” he said.

The temporary facility is a vacant public works garage next to the Animal House adoption center off Newburg Road.

The agency is also offering two free vaccination clinics to encourage responsible pet ownership and help prevent the spread of disease in the community. The first free clinic is scheduled for October 1 at 9:00am at the Newburg Community Center.

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Animal Services Fighting Disease With New Standards

After several reported cases of distemper among dogs this summer, Louisville Metro Animal Services officials are taking action on disease control.

LMAS Director Justin Scally has been on the job two weeks. In a statement issued today he attributes the higher rate of distemper to owners who skimp on pet vaccinations in order to save money.

Daily disinfection and scrubbing are now part of the standard operating procedure at the Manslick Road and Animal House facilities. But Scally says that isn’t enough. To truly fight widespread infections, pet owners must stay current on all vaccinations.

The statement also announced that LMAS will continue to offer discounted adoption rates for the rest of the month.

Local News Politics

New LMAS Director Excited About First Day

The new director of Louisville Metro Animal Services started Monday as the city attempts to turn around the troubled agency.

Hired by Mayor Greg Fischer at a $90,000 annual salary, 26-year-old Justin Scally is taking over as the head of Metro Government’s animal department after a series of mismanagement scandals. But Scally told WFPL his nead leadership team is preparing to review the policies and procedures, and will address a number of other problems from filling vacant positions and improving media relations to addressing backlogs with animal control.

The agency had been without permanent director since December 2009, when former Director Dr. Gilles Meloche resigned amid controversy. Over the past two and a half years, the city went through three interim directors and considered privatizing part of the agency’s functions before hiring Scally in late July.

And while Fischer has defended the decision, critics quickly voiced concern about Scally’s previous employment with the Humane Society of the United States and his relative inexperience.

But Scally says he hopes residents give him a chance despite their misgivings about his age. He plans to meet with staff members individually, review partnerships and improve relationships with animal welfare groups.

“I hope that they will look beyond that and realize that we’re all working for a common mission and that’s the voiceless animals that are in our community. And I don’t think the animals would care how old I am as long as I’m successful for them,” he says.

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

LMAS Director Named

After several sources within Metro Government and animal welfare groups leaked to WFPL that the city had interviewed two candidates to take over Metro Animal Services permanently, Mayor Greg Fischer quickly announced his selection for a new permanent director Tuesday afternoon.

From the mayor’s office:

Justin Scally, of Washington D.C., currently is manger of the Puppy Mill Task Force for the Humane Society, where he supervises and manages the agency’s national effort to combat illegal animal operations. He conducts investigations in conjunction with local law enforcement agencies and deploys rescue teams to save dogs being bred in puppy mills. He also responds to national disasters, such as the recent tornado in Joplin, Missouri and the wildfires in Arizona, to help rescue pets and animals in danger.

He is the former director of the Wayne County Department of Animal Control in Goldsboro, North Carolina, where he helped construct a new $2 million animal adoption education center.

Justin Scally (Photo Credit: Kathy Milani/The HSUS)

Earlier Tuesday, sources told WFPL  two candidates were interviewed by a 6-member selection panel before turning their recommendation over to the mayor. Fischer personally interviewed the 25-year-old Scally and Beckey J. Reiter, Executive Director of Boone County Animal Control in northern Kentucky.

But the mayor’s office did not return repeated calls for confirmation until after it released its pick a few days ahead of schedule.

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

LMAS Offers Special Dog Adoption Rate

Facing two additional cases of distemper in dogs that were discovered over the holiday weekend, Louisville Metro Animal Services is offering a special rate for adoption until 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Last week,  a 4-year-old Jack Russell Terrier died while in quarantine at the department’s troubled Manslick Road facility.  However, two other dogs were also infected with the canine disease after staff members failed to properly vaccinate the infected dog.

The city has sent out e-mails calling on residents to adopt a dog or puppy at the shelter for $9, but critics have said this is another example of mismanagement at the department.

“The place is full of families adopting today,” says Chris Poynter, a spokesman for Mayor Greg Fischer. “We had a total of three distemper cases—but have stopped the spread, due to the proactive work of MAS staff and volunteers. All dogs have been vaccinated against distemper.”

However, LMAS officials have admitted staff failed to follow proper procedures and the terrier should have been vaccinated before entering the shelter. Those Metro employees have been disciplined.

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

UPDATE: City Rejects No Kill Louisville Bid for Animal Services

Failing to privatize Louisville Metro Animal Services, Mayor Greg Fischer announced Monday the city has rejected a proposal by a non-profit group to take over the agency. Instead, the administration will immediately renew its search for a new director to turn around the dysfunctional department.

Fischer previously planned to outsource much of animal services’ functions such as adoption and sheltering after a scathing review of the department found it  had poor facilities, inadequate staffing and an unacceptable euthanasia rate.

“Our goal is to develop Metro Animal Services into a world-class agency,” Fischer said in a news release. “We must now strive to find a leader who is innovative and experienced to make that happen. We need a leader who can bring together animal advocates and our entire community.”

The animal welfare group No Kill Louisville was the sole bidder for the contract, however, a review committee determined they didn’t meet the requirements set forth in the request for proposals.

No Kill Louisville President Jessica Reid says the group submitted a detailed bid and was excited to make the necessary changes, but the mayor is flip-flopping at the peril of local pets.

“It just seems like no matter what we do it’s never good enough. They asked for help. We can help,” she says. “If they want fosters, we can send fosters down there. But they have to decide if the fosters are okay, if that’s what they want, if that’s what the volunteers are allowed to do, what programs can happen, which ones can’t. We only have so much control of how we can help.”

Local News Next Louisville Politics

No Kill Louisville Vying for Animal Services Contract

At least one Louisville-area animal care group is vying to take over certain operations of Metro Animal Services.

Mayor Greg Fischer decided earlier this month to privatize much of the troubled department. This week, one of the likely contenders for the contract to take over the operations, the Kentucky Humane Society, announced it would not submit a bid to the city. Organization officials cited the lack of existing plans to replace the substandard Manslick Road LMAS facility.

But No Kill Louisville will make a bid. Organization president Jessica Reid says she’s working on a plan to repurpose the shelter, and she was surprised the Humane Society decided not to bid.

“If that’s what they feel is best, then that’s what they feel is best. It’s really not my place to comment on their decisions. They do some great things for animals and whatever happens, whoever ends up with LMAS needs to partner with KHS in some capacity,” she says. “We are working on hammering out all the details, going through everything from the transition to the funding to how we could repurpose Manslick while we work to build a different shelter. So we definitely have a plan we’re working on. We’re trying to shift from being an all volunteer group. Obviously, if we were to get the bid, we’d have to move into employing people. So that is one of our biggest challenges, but it’s not insurmountable. It’s just having all the pieces in place.”

Bids are being accepted for the next week and a half. Information on who has bid is kept secret until later in the selection process.