Wednesday June 29, 2005
Mayor Jerry Abramson today announced that Dr. Gilles Meloche will serve as director of Metro Animal Services beginning July 11. Meloche is a veterinarian who most recently served as director of an animal-services agency and shelter in Tallahassee, Fla., and has owned and operated his own animal clinic.
Abramson hired Meloche after a national search and extensive interviews with local animal-care experts and representatives of animal-advocacy groups. Meloche succeeds Eric Blow who retired last December after leading the agency for more than 27 years.
Meloche joins Animal Services as the agency is set to begin a major capital campaign for a new primary animal care, adoption and shelter facility. The agency also is preparing to roll out a new mobile-services unit and has recently implemented new software and radio systems to enhance efficiency.
“Dr. Meloche is the person to lead Metro Animal Services to a new day,” Abramson said. “He has a history of improving the agencies he’s worked with and making them more efficient and responsive to the community.”
Abramson added that Meloche’s prior experience includes work in modern animal-care facilities, like the one planned for Louisville.
Meloche said an updated facility will improve animal care and customer service.
“I envision this new facility as a place where all animals will receive quality care and where not one adoptable animal will need to be euthanized,” Meloche said.
Meloche met with Animal Services employees Wednesday afternoon to talk about his priorities for the agency. He said he will be working closely with animal-care and advocacy groups to help ensure Louisville residents are educated about controlling pet populations and animal-adoption opportunities.
“I believe in teamwork and am excited about the opportunity to lead this department as it enters a new era of service to this community,” Meloche said.
Meloche said that air conditioning the animal-transport areas of the agency’s vehicles also will greatly enhance efficiency. “Currently, during extreme weather, our animal-control officers can make only one run at a time, before having to return to the shelter and drop off the animal,” Meloche said.
“We can be so much more efficient, save mileage, time and costs with air-conditioned transport boxes that allow our officers to make more than one run at a time.”
The mayor included close to $30,000 in funding for the air-conditioning effort as part of the new Louisville Metro budget passed last week. The air-conditioning units will be added to the fleet over the next year.
Meloche, 49, earned a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Montreal University, and a master of business-administration degree from Concordia University. He is relocating to Louisville with his wife Debra, son Dimitrius, and dog, Peugot, a Maltese.