In this week’s LEO, we expose yet another layer of corruption within the rotten municipal onion known as Louisville Metro Animal Services. Since I’ve been covering this beat for almost two years, it was pretty weird reading The Courier-Journal’s recent article profiling MAS’ new adoption center, which we also covered in May (including a subsequent posting on the “Puppy Palace” right here on FatLip).
It was like being transported to an alternate universe where “up” is actually “down,” “black” has always been kind of “white,” and things like the journalistic fetish for having access to authority figures and the unchecked regurgitation of their platitudes somehow usurps any real truth that might exist outside the realm of press releases and talking points.
Here, The C-J gives an overview of the new adoption facility, including a quote from interim MAS Director Wayne Zelinsky:
The new adoption center, on an 8.5-acre site at 3514 Newburg Road, has about 10,000 square feet of space, with half of its cost covered by donations. Its large lobby and high ceiling will help make it much more consumer friendly, Zelinsky said, adding that it is being built “with adoptions in mind.”
It’s the first of a seven-phase master plan for Metro Animal Service that ultimately would include an animal-care center, education wing, stray wards, quarantine/isolation, garden and a receiving/impoundment/triage area.
While it’s true that the facility is being built “with adoptions in mind,” adoptions are the only thing on their mind, as the Newburg Road adoption center will do little (if anything) to alleviate the Manslick shelter’s rampant overcrowding and the stress and disease that come with it. That’s because the Puppy Palace isn’t being built to actually house animals, but to merely showcase them in a non-depressing environment so that people might actually avoid a nervous breakdown should they ever decide to visit an MAS facility and pay money for an English Terrier.
The problem with this logic is that the animals you’ll be viewing in their shiny new kennels will be transported back to the disease-ridden Manslick Road shelter after the Puppy Palace closes its doors each night — so if you don’t get that cute little bulldog on Tuesday, then he might’ve contracted kennel cough, PARVO or god-knows-what-else by Wednesday.
Furthermore, the article fails to mention that another design for an MAS satellite facility was already put forth by former MAS Director Eric Blow — who proceeded Gilles Meloche — and which would’ve included the amenities and capabilities of MAS’s “seven-phase,” multi-site, piece-meal expansion into just one new structure. At the rate they’re building now, it will take several years to fully address the inadequacies of their current shelter, so the tone of optimism put forth in the article is duly unwarranted and, at best, patronizing to the people who will have to put up with that building for years to come.
The C-J also fails to understand that a focus on increasing adoption rates puts the cart before the horse when it comes to the stated goals of any public animal control agency, of which managing stray populations is a central tenet. Adoptions are merely a reactionary method to deal with the population you’ve got, which you attempt to decrease by spaying and neutering as many strays as you can. The funny part is that their article cites how little adoptions MAS generally conducts without connecting those sad dots to the fact that the Puppy Palace will house only 100 animals at a time.
But the most egregious part of all of this is that the city’s paper-of-record has failed to take into account the voices of those who have been systematically fucked over by the very politicos who wouldn’t return LEO’s phone calls, but who have no qualms whatsoever about laying down bullshit line after bullshit line so long as they know the kid gloves aren’t coming off. From pet owners to ex-employees to victims of alleged sexual harassment and intimidation, the article is stacked in favor of Official Bullshit Quotes provided by the governing elite, who are more than happy to snow you with hand-picked data and a tour of the shelter that was likely sanitized well in advance of any photojournalist’s arrival.
While there is an effort to mention the on-going illegal searches and seizures conducted by Zelsinky’s squad of animal control officers — who collect fines and fees from hapless pet owners that directly contribute to the Puppy Palace’s “construction fund,” by the way — the mention is brief and Zelinsky’s “We only confiscate an animal when it is a danger, or there is a threat to public safety,” is allowed to not only stand unchallenged in the article, but is enforced by the fucking mayor, who couldn’t give you a straight answer about this mess if he even bothered to comment on it.
But if black is the new white, and down cannot be separated from up, then what chance to average readers of The Courier-Journal have of understanding the complicated but no less sordid dysfunctions perpetrated with their taxpayer dollars by a group of people who appear to have done the Wrong Thing at every possible turn?