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Abramson Speaks On Meloche Resignation

Louisville Metro Animal Services Director Gilles Meloche has announced his resignation amid accusations of mismanagement.

Accusations of botched treatment of animals, mishandling of documents and sexual harassment have led to calls for Meloche to step down. But Mayor Jerry Abramson says Meloche’s resignation was not forced.

“He called, came in to see me on Friday, we discussed his future,” says Abramson. “He talked to me about another community that he was in the running for. He talked to me about the potential of private practice. He thought, look, he has gone through a lot over the last months and year. Change agents go through a lot of difficulties.”

Abramson declined to say if he would have asked for the doctor’s resignation.

“We never got to that point,” he says. “He brought a letter in and submitted his resignation. The letter basically said he was afraid that with everything going on around him that the focus on animals and the services that are provided by Metro Animal Services were being injured by that process.”

Abramson says investigations into the allegations against Meloche will be conducted. Meloche joined MAS in 2005 and will step down on December 31st. Assistant Director Wayne Zelinsky will then become interim director.

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Council Committee Grills Meloche Over Flood Evacuation

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.