Report: City animal services neglected dog, 'improperly discipli - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Report: City animal services neglected dog, 'improperly disciplined' worker who tried to help

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The city's animal services department “did knowingly neglect” an injured pit bull and “improperly disciplined” an employee who sought treatment for the dog on her own, a special Metro Council committee has concluded.

The seven-member panel also found “significant issues” with Mayor Greg Fischer's office, such as failing to provide records as required by state law and misrepresenting the actions of the mayor's cabinet member who oversees the animal services department.

The animal services ad-hoc committee released its findings Wednesday after a nearly four-month investigation. It made 10 recommendations, including that Fischer's office issue a public statement commending Heather Adkins, the worker who tried to aid “Sadie.”

“We ask that the Mayor's Office express this opinion publicly, to clear Ms. Adkins name, to avert any perceived inadequacies that may prejudice a future employer regarding her ability to work with animals,” the committee wrote.

READ THE FULL REPORT

Other recommendations directed at Fischer include policy changes related to storing emails and keeping former employees' records; and acknowledging that language from an August press release – stating that animal services employees “did nothing improper” – was inaccurate.

Fischer spokesman Chris Poynter declined to comment in detail because he had not seen the report.

“We agree that there is room for improvement,” Poynter said. He noted that the mayor's office has changed its open records and donations policies – both of which were criticized in the report.

The committee also recommended that the council create a whistleblower law. The council's government accountability and ethics committee approved such an ordinance on Tuesday.

The accusations of animal cruelty were first reported by the Ville Voice blog.

Mayor Greg Fischer sent a response Wednesday evening saying his administration is committed to improving. 

"The council found some weaknesses during its review and we've already responded with improvements to our donation and open records policies," Fischer said in a statement. "It's very unfortunate what happened with Sadie. We remain committed to moving forward and helping save as many animals as we can."

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