(WFLA)—Target 8 has learned some startling information about who is allowed to adopt animals in Hillsborough County.
According to a source, the county's pet resource center was about to hand over a dog named Honey to Hayden Davis when he and some friends stopped by the center this summer for free adoption weekend.
This is the same Hayden Davis whose "vicious" pack of dogs broke loose in Lakeland, killed a calf and terrorized a young girl this week.
Davis did not walk out with Honey on free adoption weekend, but not for the reason you might think.
"She needed to be spayed and she wasn't spayed when he came in with the three guys so he pre-adopted her," volunteer Lizanne Quinn said.
Quinn is one of many volunteers with groups like Rescue Me Tampa and The Pairs Project who comb through adoption reports provided to them by the Pet Resource Center.
The volunteers had asked an animal control officer to conduct a welfare check on the dogs Davis' friends adopted that day.
"As a result, he made a determination that the person who was waiting for the dog to be spade would not be allowed to adopt that dog from Hillsborough County," Quinn explained. Therefore, Honey was prevented from going home with Davis and becoming a part of the pack that attacked his neighbors' family.
But now, according to volunteers, the Pet Resource Center has stopped sending over adoption reports, effectively slamming the door on those trying to screen the adopters and cutting off the information flow to those trying to check on the animals once they've left the shelter.
Apparently, the flow of information stopped in September, after we revealed the PRC gave a dog to someone who owed the county hundreds in fines for animal ordinance violations.
"The PRC doesn't care who adopts the dog, they care about the live release rate and that dogs go out the door," Quinn continued.
PRC director Scott Trebatoski's job description shows his annual evaluation is closely tied to live release numbers.
Numerous sources tell me the PRC does little to no background check on who it hands dogs to. That was a job for volunteer groups like Rescue Me Tampa and The Pairs Project. They now worry what the county's lax oversight and information blackout could lead to. "It's going to be a person next, it's going to be a person, the dogs are trained to kill," Quinn warned.
So, do county commissioners care more about what happens to the animals going out the shelter's doors or how good the adoption numbers look?
If you have something that you think should be investigated call our Target 8 Helpline at 1 800-338-0808.
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