I didn’t attend Democratic mayoral candidate Greg Fischer‘s animal welfare press conference this weekend, but something from the press release caught my eye. The first piece of Fischer’s 9-point plan is to work with the “animal welfare community” to choose a new Metro Animal Services Director.

While this reminds us of former MAS director Gilles Meloche, it’s also one of the first mentions of appointees in the mayor’s race. The next mayor of Louisville will have the ability to appoint dozens of department heads and officers. While a more in-depth discussion of how candidates will choose appointees is unlikely until after the primary, it’s probable that the issue will gain importance as the general election approaches. Last week, Police Chief Robert White cited Abramson’s impending departure from the mayor’s office as a reason to start looking for jobs in other cities, and the recent city audit was a reminder of the influence non-elected city officials have.

On another note, here Fischer’s animal plan that I mentioned at the top of this post:

The goal of Fischer’s plan is to decrease the homeless pet population, increase the   number of pets adopted, and improve the lives of animals under the temporary care of Louisville Metro Government.  Fischer said he would do so by:

*       Selecting a permanent Animal Services Director, with the advice of the animal welfare community, who shares our new vision, will be fiscally responsible and transparent in operations, while being accountable for each animal in the shelter;

*       Expanding the role of the Board of Directors to include oversight of operations and development of best practices to make Louisville Metro a significantly improved animal welfare community

*       Prosecuting animal abuse to the fullest extent of the law, because it is often a gateway to or indicator of other abusive behaviors, such as child abuse

*       Increasing pet adoption by improving the customer experience at the shelter, on-line and at satellite locations;

*       Mounting an intensive and effective spray/neuter campaign by partnering with local animal groups and veterinarians;

*       Providing families in need with options other than surrendering their pets, such as volunteer programs offering financial assistance for pet medical care, pet food, or temporary pet foster care;

*       Supporting micro-chipping and licensing programs that reunite lost pets with their families in a more timely manner, instead of landing them in shelters, thereby reducing shelter housing costs;

*       Reducing the feral cat population by studying and modeling flagship ‘trap, neuter, and return’ programs; and

*       Making stopgap improvements at the current Metro Animal Services shelter while working to raise funds for a new, state-of-the-art facility.

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