Spencer Moore’s return to IACC

Within days of being assigned as interim administrator of Indianapolis Animal Care & Control, Spencer Moore is already being disparaged by representatives of the Indianapolis animal welfare alliance.

“I feel like he represents the absolute, worst, darkest period in Indianapolis animal welfare,” says Sue Hobbs, Chair of the Indianapolis Animal Care and Control Board and the Humane Society of Indianapolis representative to the Board.

“We’re just hearing a lot of concerning reports from a variety of people, people on the City-County Council, former administrators, a variety of staff people,” said Darcie Kurtz, director of outreach and medical services for FACE low-cost spay and neuter clinic. “The concerns are that the progress that is being made might be shifting in the opposite direction.”

Moore was the administrator at Animal Control in the ’90s and is not new to the division. This assignment gives him the opportunity to see what progress has been made since then. A darker period at IACC actually preceded Spencer Moore’s tenure, and it may be that he actually helped to improve the situation at IACC.

Karen Patitz, who used to work at HSI, reports:

I was involved with HSI and IACC back in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

If I remember correctly, IACC never allowed the public to enter unless they were looking for a lost animal. Until Spencer Moore came along, every animal that entered IACC DIED unless it was returned to its owner. No animals were ever transferred from IACC to the Humane Society, no matter how adoptable.

Spencer is the one who started vaccinating puppies and placing them up for adoption instead of killing them. He started from the ground up to what we have today as far as animals leaving IACC alive.

He also started a television program designed to help pet owners with training tips and animal care. It was the predecessor of the Pet Pals TV that we enjoy today.

The bigger picture

Critics are missing the mark by blaming Moore for changes that are making it harder for animals to get out of IACC alive and into the hands of rescue organizations.

In an April 16 video, “Animal Care and Control head suspended again, two investigators let go” Fox 59’s Yvonne Man noted:

The director of Indianapolis Animal Care and Control is suspended and it’s the second time in two months. Now, there are questions about a bigger problem regarding possible mismanagement at a higher level.

On April 21, Man reported Shackle’s resignation. A photo accompanying the story on Fox 59’s website shows Shackle and Moore with Public Safety Director Troy Riggs (far right) and AFSCME union leader Steve Quick (far left) whose members staff IACC.


Riggs certainly represents higher-level management. Quick has an arrest record and an interesting history with local law enforcement and political influence.

After leaving Indianapolis, fired IACC administrator Doug Rae told blogger Gary Welsh that the Mayor’s office, Department of Public Safety, City Legal and Human Resources were all about “bowing” to the union’s “every wish.”

There has been no administration at IACC whose actions have not been constrained by influence coming from a “higher level.”

At the time of Shackle’s first suspension, field agent Tony Laucevicius was terminated when employees filed a complaint over an incident in which he threw a coffee mug.

“[It was] just an argument or disagreement with an employee and [he] maybe threw a coffee cup,” said Valerie Washington, Indianapolis public safety deputy director. “[The incident] was what we would have considered an aggravated assault. It was behavior that was not tolerated.”

Laucevicius told FOX59 that was not the case at all. He blames other employees for creating a hostile work environment. It’s a culture, he said, that needs to change.

Spencer Moore doesn’t deserve the blame for the cultural issues at IACC that hamper efforts to save the animals. “I’m doing this as a favor to somebody who needed someone to come out and try to handle this,” he told WISH TV.

One wonders if “this” refers to possible mismanagement at a higher level.

4 Responses to “Spencer Moore’s return to IACC”

  1. Ashley Larsen says:

    I’m a little confused.. When Moore was in charge years ago he reduced the euthanasia rate by 17 percent, increased adoptions by 400 percent and for increased the live releases of animals by 150 percent ( Channel 6 News Stats).. Has been in his position a few days and already facing criticism. Call me naive but what happened to working together in order to reach the same exact goal of creating a safe haven for animals, reducing the kill rate etc

    And how can people come to the conclusion that change has to be negative. Oh wait.. We are talking about IACC. Change has always been looked at with suspicion as if challenging those that work there to be the best is ridiculous. I saw with my own eyes as a volunteer how new ideas where met with smirks. When being yelled at for cleaning up the mess of a dog that was sick instead of waiting for the one sole worker finished her other tasks. Yelled at for not wanting a scared sick dog to sit in his own feces and vomit.

    My point..although IACC has improved overall they have a long way to go. When people prefer to let a dog run loose on the streets rather then involving animal control that’s a problem.

    There is no limit for improvement. Everyone, including Hobbs, should search for avenues to improve conditions on a daily basis. It’s laughable when a board member states “concern” over IACC moving backwards yet no article I’ve read pinpoints what that means.

    It’s frustrating to even be writing this. It’s high school. Let Moore prove himself. If he can’t cut it he can always resign like Shackle and Amber Meyers.

    Let’s stop the finger pointing, blaming and overall nonsense and actually start improving IACC. Let’s make it a shelter in which people choose to go and adopt. Let’s get employees that truly care about the overall mission of an animal shelter. Let’s put trained experienced people in charge of temperament testing so that animals who are adoptable yet come in scared to death a chance to show their true colors ( this might have changed since I was their last so I apologize beforehand).

    The public will respond positively and show support when a shelter is truly that.. A safe haven for animals. People will volunteer, donate and most importantly come together. IACC weakest asset is the barrier that seperate a the staff working there and the public at large.
    starts at the top and trickles down.

    So I ask Sue Hobbs..”what are you really afraid of?” Was aiACC really better off with past directors doing sloppy work and then leaving?

    Ok.. I’m done with my ranting.

    One more comment.. Until Spencer Moore proves to be disappointing and a threat to the board, animals etc I wish him the best of luck for the short amount of time he holds this position.

    Now I’m really done

  2. Joe says:

    Moore is intentionally keeping animals in the shelter only so he will have a wider variety of animals there! Why are you defending this??? You should be outraged.

  3. Liza says:

    Based on my experiences at IACC, there have been a few well intentioned leaders trying to make positive change for the animals. Steve Quick, union head, the seeming hold he has over the mayor’s office and that stupid union handbook that keeps hostile, lazy and obstructive individuals employed at IACC. When workers are allowed to keep there jobs despite displaying violent behavior against management, there’s a serious issue.

    The Mayor has refused to deal with the problem from the start. I would venture a guess that Quick’s union rules are responsible for getting rid of three out of the last four Administrators either through firing or plain old frustration and burn out.

    If Moore wants to keep the plum cats and dogs at IACC, that’s his management prerogative. He’s just gonna have to figure out some pretty creative ways to drive the public down to that dirty, depressing, completely inhospitable location and pretty fast!

  4. Ashley Larsen says:

    It would be helpful to know what was stated in the email sent to rescues.

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