Animal Control director responds to criticism

Published: .
Updated: .
Jennie Runevitch/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - The director of Indianapolis Animal Care and Control is on a short leash after criticism of his job performance and management style.

Doug Rae is on probation through September 30th. Critics say his work to save animals is putting people in danger.

"There's an awful lot of information out there that's simply not true," Rae said, speaking out for the first time since being put on probation by the head of public safety.

"There's two sides to every story and I would love to get both sides out there and have people make their opinions then," he said.

Doug Rae has only been on the job for seven months. He was hired to turn things around at the shelter which had been criticized for mistreatment and botched euthanasia procedures. Now it's Rae facing criticism.

The union president says Rae won't listen to employees and doesn't respect them. Some shelter workers voiced concerns about the conditions the animals were being kept in.

At Wednesday's board meeting, Rae wouldn't talk specifics about his probation. But his newly hired management team used statistics to emphasize what they call a positive change. In July they say bites were down five percent.
The number of animals killed was down too. The shelter logged a record number of volunteer hours and it had a higher adoption rate fueled by the Fourth of July $4 adoption promotion.

Some in the community said many of those dogs were returned because they were aggressive or sick. Rae says only three came back and none put people in danger.

"It's been widely reported that we are releasing aggressive dogs in the street and these dogs are returning biting. Simply not true. I can tell you that number is zero," Rae said.

Those in the crowd Wednesday voiced support for Rae's leadership.

"He chose not to euthanize several animals and now I have Sweety because of his kindness and his help," said one supporter.

Despite his probation, Rae says shelter goals haven't changed.

"I hope I'm here for the next seven years. I honest to God do," he said.

Rae admits an area still in need of improvement is the response time for animal control officers. Critics say response is slow because Rae moved two officers who were on the street to kennel positions.