Regular readers may remember the tragic story of Sadie, an injured dog who suffered for months at the hands of Louisville Metro Animal Services before finally being euthanized by rescuers. Heather Adkins, an employee at LMAS during the time Sadie was there who later became her foster owner and advocate, was smeared by the city of Louisville after she went public with Sadie’s story. Due to public outcry, the city appointed an ad hoc committee to investigate what happened with Sadie. The committee’s report was released Wednesday and can be read here.
Terrible: The committee found “that by the clear and convincing evidence made available, the LMAS Department did knowingly neglect Sadie by failing to provide proper health care for the animal in a timely fashion”. Despite the finding, there is no recommendation that the appropriate authorities should determine whether criminal charges should be brought in the case.
Also Terrible: The committee was not only denied access to records and certain personnel involved with Sadie’s case by Mayor Greg Fischer’s office, it also found that the administration lied to the public in an August press release in an attempt to whitewash the neglect. Despite the corruption and fraud apparent throughout the office, there is no recommendation that the appropriate authorities should determine whether criminal charges should be brought against anyone in the administration.
More Terrible: After the city retaliated against Ms. Adkins for going public with Sadie’s story and she ultimately left her job, the Fischer administration stamped her personnel file with the words DO NOT REHIRE, while promoting and shielding those who were instrumental in Sadie’s neglect. The committee recommended that Ms. Adkins’ personnel file be corrected, exonerating her of any wrongdoing, and that the mayor’s office issue a public statement clearing her name. The committee also recommended that the city enact a whistleblower protection ordinance and that there should be more oversight into LMAS donations.
Cherry on Top Terrible: At the same time the committee was scheduled to release its report, Mayor Fischer “abruptly called a news conference” to announce that he does not back a $10.10 proposed minimum wage and that poor people need to learn how to live on $8.75 an hour – the most he’s willing to back. Some noticed the uh, coincidence:
A Democratic council member said the mayor was trying to “distract” from the findings, while a Republican called the timing “unusual.”
Astonishingly, Mayor Greg Fischer later e-mailed a response to the media regarding the report:
“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.”
Found Some Weaknesses. I like that. Although I’d like it better if it was the name of a prison wing housing everyone guilty of neglecting Sadie, smearing her advocate and shielding her abusers. It’s going to be a bumpy ride as the Fischer administration moves forward, what with all those bodies under the bus.
(Thank you Clarice for the links.)