Local News Politics

Third Interim Director of Animal Services Named, Search for Permanent Director Continues

A third interim director of the troubled Louisville Metro Animal Services department has been named.

Susan Neumayer comes from the city’s Louisville at Work team, which oversaw stimulus spending. She will replace Debbie Fox, who became interim director earlier this year, but planned to return to her job at MetroSafe in April, when Mayor Greg Fischer was expected to name a permanent director.

The search for a director has since been extended, and Fox will divide her time between Animal Services and MetroSafe starting next month. There’s no timeline for naming a permanent director.

Before Fox, the department was run by Wayne Zelinsky, who resigned earlier this year after it was revealed he operated a security service website for patrons of adult entertainment.

Zelinsky himself was an interim director. He replaced Dr. Gilles Meloche, who resigned amid allegations of mistreatment of animals and improper behavior. Both Meloche and Zelinsky were the subject of a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by employees.

In addition to the leadership change, Animal Services will now work with the Kentucky Humane Society to improve the adoption rate. As part of the efforts, adoption facility hours have been changed.

From Metro Government:

Animal Services, 3705 Manslick

To obtain a license, pay fees and clerical processing for releasing pets back to their owners:

Monday – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Tuesday – 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Wednesday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Thursday – 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Friday – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Animal Services will continue to operate seven days a week for the intake of animals and for lost and found strays brought in by Animal Control Officers.

Kennels are open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for people to reclaim lost pets or to adopt at the 3705 Manslick Road location.

Animal House Adoption Center, 3516 Newburg Road

Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday – Noon to 6:00 p.m.

Wednesday  –  Noon to 7:00 p.m.

Monday – closed

Local News Next Louisville Politics

LMAS Interim Director to Step Down Next Month

Louisville Metro Animal Services interim director Debbie Fox will step down in April, possibly leaving the embattled city agency without a permanent department head.

The mayor’s office is still conducting a national search for a permanent director and remains confident the city will find a replacement, who will be the fourth person to run the agency in less than a year and a half.

Earlier this year, former interim director Wayne Zelinsky resigned after it was revealed he operated a security service website for patrons of adult entertainment.

Since taking over animal services last year, Zelinsky was heavily scrutinized in media reports that had covered the worsening conditions and mismanagement at the agency’s shelter.

He took after former director Gilles Meloche — who was appointed by former Mayor Jerry Abramson in 2006 — resigned amidst allegations of mistreatment of animals and improper behavior. Both were the subject of a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by employees.

Responding to the continued concerns, Mayor Fischer announced the creation of two committees that were charged with conducting a top-to-bottom audit of the department and the search for a new permanent director.

Local News Next Louisville Politics

Zelinsky Resigns From Animal Services

The embattled director of Louisville Metro Animal Services has resigned.

Wayne Zelinsky had been interim director since Dr. Gilles Meloche stepped down amid accusations of mistreating animals and employees. Zelinsky was also controversial. He is named in two lawsuits and was allegedly operating an adult-themed entertainment business online. Zelinsky resigned after being confronted about the business.

“We advised Wayne [Tuesday] night that we were aware of a website that he had up and running and needed to discuss that with him and he came in [Wednesday] morning and resigned,” says Mayor Greg Fischer.

Last month, Fischer ordered a full review of LMAS and launched a national search for a new director. He said then he would keep Zelinsky in charge of the department, unless the auditors recommended otherwise. Fischer says the search for a permanent director will continue, though he’s not sure about the progress of the audit.

“You know, I make it a matter not to really get in the middle of audits while they’re going on because they start and then you never know what they’re going to find out. They’re hard at work right now. We’ll get a report on it at the end of the first quarter. We’re progressing with the audit, that’s all I know at this point,” he says.

Zelinsky will be replaced by current MetroSafe deputy director Debbie Fox. A permanent director will be named in April.

WFPL’s Rick Howlett contributed to this report.

Local News Next Louisville Politics

Fischer Launches Animal Services Review, Search For New Director

A thorough review of Louisville Metro Animal Services is underway. The evaluation includes a national search for a new director for the troubled agency. But a change in leadership could come sooner.

For years, reports of inhumane treatment of animals, mistreatment of employees and poor management have surrounded LMAS. Mayor Greg Fischer says that must be fixed.

“We all want to decrease our homeless pet population and increase adoption rates, reduce euthanasia, and we’ll look at other cities to see how this is accomplished as well as involving the tremendous amounts of citizens groups that we already have in the community,” he says.

Longtime critic of the department Metro Councilman Kelly Downard says he’s pleased with Fischer’s decision to launch the investigation.

“He just got here. So I think he’s moved…on the 5th day, that’s pretty quick,” says Downard. “We’ve had a situation that’s been going on for several years and nobody did a thing. I think he’s moved at a lickety-split pace.”

Interim director Wayne Zelinsky will remain in office during the search. Zelinsky has been named in lawsuits brought by employees, and is also under investigation by the police public integrity unit. Fischer says the director may be replaced sooner if necessary.

The review will be lead by Fischer’s director of community building Sadiqa Reynolds, who has discussed the issue with Zelinsky. Fischer says he hasn’t yet talked about the review with the interim director.

For more on this story, visit The Edit.

Here are Fischer’s full remarks on his first week in office and the review of LMAS:

Audio MP3
Local News

New Animal Services Facility Opens

by Sheila Ash

Metro Animal Services has a new adoption center. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Friday on a new shelter, called Animal House.

Animal House is a 10 thousand square foot facility that will showcase adoptable animals under the care of Metro Animal Services.

Wayne Zelinsky, Director of Metro Animal Services, says it provides much needed space.

“Congratulations number one goes to the animals they now have a beautiful state-of-the-art place to await their forever home, congratulations to the citizens who now have a centrally located, again state-of-the-art facility welcoming, inviting to come and find a new pet and also the employees and volunteers of Metro Animal Services this has been a long time coming,” he says.

Animal House has 20 dog rooms and a cat adoption area with space for 50 cats. The $2.6 million shelter was paid for with $1.6 million in bonds and $1 million in MAS funds.

Animal House is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 am to 6 pm and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 pm.

Local News

Zelinsky Discusses Animal Services Budget With Metro Council

by Gabe Bullard

Director of Louisville Metro Animal Services Wayne Zelinksy told the Metro Council’s Budget Committee Wednesday that he’s steering MAS away from recent problems.

A State Auditor’s report found numerous management problems in animal services under the tenure of former director Gilles Meloche. Amidst allegations of mismanagement and sexual harassment, Meloche resigned, effective at the end of last year. Zelinsky was promoted to fill Meloche’s spot, and he says many operating procedures have been changed.

The Louisville Kennel Club, however, recently told the LEO that Zelinsky had not stopped pet confiscations by aggressive animal services officers. Zelinksy says the officers are acting legally.

“There are thirteen circumstances where a law enforcement officer can enter a residence without a warrant, one of those being consent,” he says. “If I come to your house and say, ‘Can I come in?’ and you say yes, I don’t need a warrant to have that.”

Zelinsky also says problems with overcrowding and cleanliness at the department’s Manslick Road facility are difficult to fix without more funding.

“The more animals you have to clean, the longer it takes, the more disease is transmitted because they’re barking, they’re stressing each other out,” he says. “So what we need to do is control the intake as much as we can.”

A new adoption facility will open on Newburg Road this summer. Zelinsky says intake could be reduced if MAS could spay and neuter more animals, and encourage pet owners to have their veterinarians do so as well.