Animal Care and Control director steps down - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Animal Care and Control director steps down

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Public Safety Director Scott Newman, right Public Safety Director Scott Newman, right
Steve Talley Steve Talley

Mary Milz/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - The administrator of the city's Animal Care and Control department resigned Thursday. Steve Talley will remain on the job for 45 days while the city conducts a nationwide search for his successor.

The move comes after two independent investigators found evidence of mistreatment of animals at the shelter. The investigators agreed to look into the matter after animal advocates alleged several incidents of abuse and neglect. Investigators presented their findings to the shelter's advisory board Wednesday.

One of the investigators' recommendations was that Talley step down. Another was to sedate animals before they are euthanized. One report detailed how a dog was euthanized but suffered great pain while kennel workers dragged the animal back to a cage to die.

"I would not have tolerated it had I known it at the time," said Talley.

Talley,a former Democratic City-County Councilor, was appointed to run the shelter last year by then-Mayor Bart Peterson. Talley says he was not asked to resign and that the decision to leave was his own.

"It's just time for me to move on and look for something different," he said.

Greg Brush with Feral Bureau of Indiana was one of the people who brought the conditions to light. He said Talley's resignation was "moving in the right direction."

Brush said while he "really likes Mr. Talley," the shelter issues "need to be dealt with by someone who's expert in dealing with those challenges, not someone who's plugged in for political reasons."

Talley said he's volunteered at the shelter for 15 years, but has had no other experience in animal care. He agreed finding someone with formal training "was absolutely necessary. This is a very complex issue, health issues with animals are very complex. I just think the best thing is to find someone with animal experience."

Warren Patitz, who heads the shelters volunteer advisory board, said they would look for someone "with a particular skill set."

He said the job was "very specialized. You're dealing with the community, you're dealing with intake, you're dealing with the staff."

Making the job even tougher, the shelter has taken in considerably more animals since the Indianapolis Humane Society stopped accepting strays last spring.

Public Safety Director Scott Newman acknowledged the shelter desperately needs more resources. He said for one, he plans to increase the kennel staff from 14 to 18 workers.

"Some conditions are a function of how many people you have in the kennel and how often you check the cages," Newman.

Newman estimated it would be 60 to 90 days before a new administrator was in place. He said the advisory board would lead the search.

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