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Mayor Greg Fischer Newsroom


City’s First Veterinarian Signals Change at Animal Services

Tuesday February 14, 2006

Work on new facility and additional enforcement, education staff to follow  

For the first time in the department’s history, Louisville Metro Animal Services has a full-time staff veterinarian. Dr. Carolyn Congleton, who has worked in private veterinary practice for more than 15 years, joined the agency this month.

At a news conference today, Mayor Jerry Abramson said that the addition of the veterinarian is just one step in an ongoing Animal Services "Advancement Plan."
 
"We’re taking progressive steps to ensure that our goals of public safety, animal care and responsible pet ownership are met," Abramson said. "Dr. Congleton brings a wealth of experience to city government and will help us especially in our efforts to provide top-notch animal care and to control the pet overpopulation."

Other components of the Animal Services Advancement Plan were proposed to a Metro Council committee yesterday, and include:
Hiring two additional animal-enforcement officers;

Hiring a community-education coordinator to teach responsible pet ownership;

Investing in new equipment at the Animal Services shelter; and

Identifying a site and beginning work this year to build a new, state-of-the-art animal care and adoption facility.

The new hires and equipment are expected to cost $245,000 and would be paid for as part of the city’s mid-year budget adjustment, using additional money from revenues that grew faster than expected. Animal Services Director Dr. Gilles Meloche said increased licensing compliance and a new fee structure will create a dedicated funding source for land acquisition and construction of a new facility. Meloche will work with Metro Council members to develop the fee structure.

Veterinarian to expand services

Abramson said that having a full-time veterinarian on staff will greatly expand the opportunities for providing spay/neuter services. Last year, the city launched "SPOT" (Stop Pet Overpopulation Today), a mobile animal-services unit designed to bring animal-care and adoption services to neighborhoods and community events.

"With the doctor on board SPOT, we can be more proactive in taking our services to the residents who need them," Abramson said.

Congleton previously worked as a veterinarian for the Lexington Humane Society and private veterinary clinics in Lexington and Versailles, Ky. She is a graduate of the nationally recognized college of veterinary medicine at Auburn University in Alabama. She and the mayor said they are exploring partnerships with Auburn to possibly include internships that would allow veterinary students to work in Louisville.

"Kentucky is my home, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to practice veterinary medicine at a progressive shelter that’s committed to public health and safety," Congleton said.

Congleton currently serves as a captain with the U.S. Air Force as a member of the Kentucky Air National Guard. While stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, she oversaw several public-health programs addressing environmental health, preventive medicine and communicable disease.

Congleton is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association, Miami Valley Veterinary Medical Association and the Association of Shelter Veterinarians. She has served as a governor’s appointment on the Kentucky Animal Control Advisory Board. Congleton, 42, is relocating to Louisville from Lexington. She has an 11-year-old Jack Russell terrier named Abby.