Sunday December 9, 2018
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Friends of Metro Animal Services (FOMAS), a non-profit organization, announced today the Board of Directors unanimously elected Susanna M. Westerfield as Executive Director, to spearhead fundraising efforts in support of Louisville Metro Animal Services and the much anticipated completion of a new, state-of-the-art shelter in 2019.

“The Board of Directors and LMAS are truly excited to bring Westerfield on board. Her experience, commitment to caring for homeless animals, and progressive vision made her the ideal choice for FOMAS and our community,” Amy Wisotsky, Chairman.

In addition to an extensive background in Business Development and Organizational Learning, Westerfield brings to the board her expertise in non-profit administration, organizational leadership and program development. Westerfield’s new role will also include working with the dedicated, compassionate staff at LMAS to expand community outreach in support of programs critical to caring for the thousands of animals which enter the shelter each year.

“I will help advance LMAS’ progress as the county’s largest and only open-admission animal shelter that provides a temporary home for more than 7,500 animals last year and reached No-Kill Status for the first time ever,” said Westerfield, executive director of FOMAS. “We can make a difference in the lives of those living in our community by providing a state-of-the-art location where healthy, adoptable pets reside waiting for adoption. There is nothing more fulfilling than helping people in our community experience the steadfast love and companionship of a pet.”

Westerfield assumed her role as Executive Director of the Board in April 2018. Westerfield holds an MS degree in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University, has served in several leadership roles as Pastoral Council Secretary, Board of Director of the Catholic Athletic Ministry, Hand-in-Hand Ministries and various time and talent activities within her children’s school and church, bringing to FOMAS a wealth of knowledge about boards, volunteerism, and stewardship.

Metro Animal ServicesThe Louisville Metro Animal Services Animal Care Facility is operating near maximum capacity so LMAS has waived adoption fees for all adoptable pets  the month of July, to make sure there is room for incoming stray animals.

“We put an end to euthanizing animals because there wasn’t enough space for them in 2017.” said Ozzy Gibson, LMAS Shelter Director.  “But that’s a real possibility the longer the shelter operates near, or at max capacity.”

The city’s only open intake shelter took in more than 7,500 homeless pets last year, and for the first time ever no animals were euthanized to make room for incoming stray animals.

“We’re asking the public to help us remain a shelter that doesn’t euthanize simply because it’s out of room by adopting one of our homeless cats or dogs,” said Gibson.

The waived adoption fees will be paid for by the non-profit, Friends of Metro Animal Services (FOMAS) and the Pay It Forward Program, a donation based initiative launched in 2017.

Adoption fees are waived, but not the adoption process. Potential adopters must complete an application and be approved.

All adoptable shelter pets are spayed/neutered, microchipped and up-to-date on vaccinations. Each adoption also includes a 1-year, renewable pet license, which is required by law for Jefferson County pet owners.

Animal House Adoption Center (3516 Newburg rd.) is open Tuesday-Sunday 12-6pm and Fridays until 7pm.

The shelter (3705 Manslick rd.) is open Monday-Friday 12-6pm and Saturdays 11-2pm.

FOMAS is accepting donation to keep the Pay It Forward Program going. Those who cannot adopt can make a donation at Animal House, the shelter or online.

To make a donation to FOMAS, click here.

Metro Animal ServicesMayor Greg Fischer today joined Metro Animal Services and Friends of Metro Animal Services (FOMAS) for the groundbreaking of a state-of-the-art animal care complex located at 3516 Newburg Road, which will replace the outdated shelter built in 1966.

“This modern, full-service animal shelter will help us provide the optimal care that our animals deserve,” Mayor Fischer said. “I’m pleased to see yet another sign of the tremendous progress we’re making as a city and another reflection of our core value of compassion.”

The 33,000-square-foot facility can house up to 235 animals. The nearly $11.5 million facility will include a Community Spay and Neuter clinic that will operate independently from the shelter, offering low-cost vaccinations and microchipping.

A modern veterinary wing that meets industry standards will include the shelter’s first X-ray machine and four surgery tables. The new facility also includes space specifically for small mammals.

The benefits of a new shelter are not limited to the building: It will allow LMAS to increase enrichment opportunities for shelter pets waiting to be adopted. The campus features six play yards compared to just one at the current shelter, as well as a half-mile walking track.

Grooming and photo rooms will ensure homeless shelter pets look their best for potential adopters viewing their online profiles.

“We’re not just building an animal shelter for today, we’re ensuring LMAS can meet the needs of Louisville’s homeless pet population in the future,” said Ozzy Gibson, director of LMAS. “This will be a shelter that citizens can be proud to support.”

Mayor Fischer said it was part of improvements and innovations at Animal Services, including programs such as the Pay It Forward free adoptions, that have helped increase the agency’s live release rate for both dogs and cats to over 90 percent, earning it “No Kill” status for time or space.

The new animal care facility, located next to Animal House Adoption Center which was built in 2009, is expected to be complete by late summer 2019.

Metro Animal ServicesLouisville Metro Animal Services is investigating the death of a dog that was shot with an arrow in the Fairdale area, and a $500 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction for the unacceptable act of cruelty on a defenseless animal.

On Wednesday, June 21st at about 5p.m., a man brought to the LMAS shelter an approximately 2-year-old Jack Russell Terrier with a large arrow protruding through its body.  Despite the efforts of staff, the dog died on the way to Jefferson Animal Hospital.

The LMAS Animal Control Division is investigating, and the non-profit Friends of Metro Animal Services is offering a $500 reward for information in this case. Shooting a pet with an arrow is a criminal act.  

The dog was found Wednesday afternoon in the vicinity of the 8900 block of Brown Austin Rd. in Fairdale.  The approximately 2-foot long arrow entered the dog’s left hip area and was protruding from the right side of its abdomen, near the left shoulder. The dog did not have a microchip and so far, its owner has not been located.

LMAS Animal Control is interviewing residents in the area in an effort to get justice for a helpless dog that suffered tremendously before its death.

LMAS will gladly accept donations to boost the $500 reward being offered by FOMAS. Anyone with information about the dog’s owner, or knows who may be responsible for its fatal injuries is asked to contact Louisville Metro Police at 574-LMPD.


Metro Animal ServicesLouisville Metro Animal Services recently received a $40K grant from PetSmart Charities, the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, to help reduce the pet population in Jefferson County. LMAS is using the grant to offer spay/neuter vouchers to Jefferson County residents, which can be redeemed at any Jefferson County Veterinary office or the Kentucky Humane Society SNIP Clinic.

“We are thankful PetSmart Charities awarded LMAS this grant so we can offer discounted vouchers to the public,” said shelter director Ozzy Gibson. “It’s another tool in our arsenal to maintain our hard-earned status as a No Kill Shelter for time and space. Reducing the pet population in Jefferson County is a key factor in keeping that title.”

By offering assistance for discounted spay/neuter surgeries, LMAS will increase in-house surgeries (2,700 in 2017) and those performed by outside providers. The voucher not only encourages responsible pet ownership, it helps reduce uncontrolled breeding of stray cats and dogs and allows LMAS to be proactive about future shelter overcrowding.

Female cats can breed up to four times a year and have an average of 4 kittens per litter. In just 7 years, an unspayed female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 kittens; an unspayed female dog and her offspring can produce 97,000 puppies.  With the grant from PetSmart Charities, LMAS can cover the entire cost, or provide a significant discount on spay/neuter surgeries for up to 400 cats and dogs in Jefferson County!

”By establishing this spay and neuter voucher program, Louisville Metro Animal Services is taking a proactive approach to preventing unplanned litters and reducing pet homelessness in the community,” said Kelly Balthazor, regional relationship manager at PetSmart Charities.  “Not only are they advocating for lives of local pets, they are further establishing themselves as a vital resource for local pet parents, too.”

The voucher covers up to $100 of the cost to spay/neuter a cat or a dog. Vouchers can be obtained at the LMAS Animal Care Center located at 3705 Manslick Rd. Monday-Friday between 12-6pm, or Saturdays 11-2pm; or at Animal House Adoption Center located at 3516 Newburg Rd. Tuesday-Sunday from 12-6pm. For more information about how to obtain a spay/neuter voucher from LMAS, email or call 473-PETS.

Mayor Greg Fischer today joined Metro Animal Services leaders and staff in celebrating a history-making 2017, which includes achieving no-kill status for time and space.

“Our city value of compassion absolutely extends to the animals that enrich our lives,” Mayor Fischer said. “That’s why I’m so proud that Metro Animal Services has achieved a live release rate above 90 percent, thanks to the hard work of the LMAS team, their partners and volunteers.

“We want to celebrate the work they’ve done, completing a really dramatic and impressive turnaround.”

The Mayor thanked the LMAS team and Director Ozzy Gibson, who has guided the agency’s turnaround since 2016.

“Since I got here, I’ve been impressed with the dedication of our team, partners and volunteers to the compassionate care of animal,” Gibson said. “We’re going to keep working hard, and we’ll stay committed to coming up with new ideas that lead to good outcomes for animals.”

Louisville Metro Animal Services, the city’s only open intake shelter, finished 2017 with a 93 percent live release rate — the best in its 52-year history.

And, for the first time, no animals were euthanized because of time or space. LMAS also found homes for 909 more cats and dogs compared to 2016 (3,141 vs 2,232).

Gibson said the launch and overwhelming success last year of the Pay It Forward Free Adoptions Program was a primary contributor to the turnaround. Pay It Forward is funded solely through donations, which allows LMAS to waive adoption fees for certain cats and dogs.

Key 2017 Animal Services stats:

Zero animals euthanized for time or space

  • 90.8% live release rate for canines
  • 93.8% live release rate for felines
  • 37% increase in animal returned to owners
  • 41% increase in animal adoptions

More information about Animal Services and Pay It Forward can be found at:

Photo: Louisville Metro Animal Services

Sometimes happy endings aren’t so close to home for homeless pets who come through the LMAS shelter. One shelter dog, rescued from a life of neglect, traveled nearly 1,000 miles to North Dakota where he was adopted into a forever home.

Rusty’s story began in October 2015 when he first entered our Manslick Rd. shelter. Two months later, a rescue group from Cokato, MN took in the 5-year-old Beagle/Border Collie mix. From there, Rusty found himself on a farm where a kind woman spent 6 months working with the fearful dog, until he was ready to go to his forever home.

A couple from Forman, ND drove five hours to Minnesota to bring home their fur baby. Dan and Trish Pearson adopted Rusty and opened their home to the sweet natured dog. The couple wrote a letter to our shelter with an update on Rusty, two years after he was rescued:

Rusty is still fearful of strange people and it takes multiple visits before he will let a new person pet him without cowering. At home on the farm though, he is relaxed and very funny.

What a personality our fur-baby has. He has learned how to play with toys and people. He loves to run from one end of the house to the other and back again when my husband plays “gonna getchya” with him. His tail is held high and he has a big grin on his face.

He loves all our animals and isn’t’ even afraid of the horses or cattle. He is very healthy now and quite spoiled. He has finally found his forever home. Here are a few pictures to brighten your New Year.     


Dan and Trish Pearson                                                                         

Forman, ND

Photo: Louisville Metro Animal Services