Heather Adkins, a former employee at Louisville Metro Animal Services in KY, went public with the tragic story of Sadie, her foster dog from the pound. In a letter posted last month on a local blog, Ms. Adkins states that Sadie was impounded by LMAS in March 2013 with a dangling front leg. The owner who reclaimed her received an official notice from LMAS requiring veterinary care for the dog within 48 hours. Since the owner never obtained the vet care, a court date was set. When the owner no-showed in court, LMAS failed to take any action.
Sadie was again impounded by LMAS in July 2013 and held for one month. After the owner communicated that he would not be reclaiming Sadie, LMAS put her on the kill list. Ms. Adkins didn’t want to see the friendly dog needlessly killed so offered to take her home to foster around September 1. She began investigating options on how to get Sadie the vet care she needed within the rules set by LMAS, which still legally owned the dog:
In the meantime, I told Tabitha Gray, the vet staff supervisor about Sadie’s situation. I told her Sadie would be a wonderful adoption candidate because she loved other dogs, loved cats, loved people, and was an all-around sunny dog. Tabitha informed me her vet staff wouldn’t do anything for Sadie because they wouldn’t see a financial return on her.
Within a couple days, Kim [Ward, foster coordinator at LMAS] emailed me back to say hold off on collection any money, because [then assistant director] Margaret [Brosko] wanted to use Sadie as a PR tool. They’d received a donation from a citizen that was specified to be used to save a pit bull, and Sadie would be perfect for this. I agreed, because I didn’t care how Sadie got the surgery, as long as she did.
Months passed. Ms. Adkins kept in regular communication with her supervisors at LMAS asking about when Sadie could get her surgery but was put off at every turn. In mid-November, Sadie began self-mutilating – chewing off part of her paw on the dangling leg. Ms. Adkins rushed Sadie to her personal vet for care and paid out of pocket for the emergency treatment. She contact Ms. Brosko to advise her the situation had reached a crisis point and Sadie could not wait any longer for her surgery. Ms. Brosko replied that the money raised for Sadie had been spent on another dog and basically, sux being you.
Ms. Adkins did not give up. She offered to start from scratch with the fundraising herself but again, was put off by those in charge. Three weeks went by before she was finally given permission to raise money for Sadie’s surgery. Sadie continued to self-mutilate and Ms. Adkins continued to have her treated at her own expense. Fundraising for Sadie took place during January and February 2014 and was successful. But Sadie’s last self-mutilation, which occurred at the same time the fundraising reached its goal, took a heavy toll:
Within two days, Sadie went downhill. She began to cough and be lethargic. On Wednesday, she vomited several times. On Thursday, I took her to see Dr. Pollett, who did X-rays and found Sadie had actually consumed some of the bandages this time. She then suggested I contact the Arrow Fund and ask for help.
Ms. Adkins contacted the Arrow Fund and the group immediately offered to take Sadie. She was taken to a vet by the Arrow Fund. But it was too late:
Her condition at this point was too severe—she’d developed pneumonia from the constant vomiting, on top of the bowel obstruction, on top of the leg that needed medical attention. They opted to euthanize her.
In repayment of her heroic efforts to save Sadie, the management at LMAS officially reprimanded Ms. Adkins for seeking outside assistance. And they threatened to fire her for the negative publicity, including FOIA requests, regarding Sadie. Ms. Adkins finally quit.
A group of advocates seeking justice for Sadie retained an attorney who recently sent a letter to the Jefferson Co attorney requesting an animal cruelty investigation at LMAS. In response, the Louisville Metro Council announced an ad hoc committee will conduct an 8 week probe of the agency. In addition to investigating the allegations of neglect and cruelty that caused Sadie to suffer for months, the committee will be asking why the facility has been without a director for more than a year.
Margaret Brosko, who has since been promoted to the mayor’s communications office, is hiding from the media.
(Thanks Clarice for the links.)