Funding approved after complaints about HIlls animal services - WFLA News Channel 8

Funding approved after hearing complaints about Hillsborough Animal Services

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2 separate groups , for and against the leadership at Animal Services spoke at the County Commission meeting. 2 separate groups , for and against the leadership at Animal Services spoke at the County Commission meeting.
2 separate groups , for and against the leadership at Animal Services spoke at the County Commission meeting. 2 separate groups , for and against the leadership at Animal Services spoke at the County Commission meeting.
Ian Hallett, from Animal Services, speaks about the criticism he is facing. Ian Hallett, from Animal Services, speaks about the criticism he is facing.

Facing complaints from volunteers and others concerned about conditions at Hillsborough Animal Services, county commissioners voted Wednesday to reaffirm a plan designed to reduce the number of animals euthanized and provide $250,000 in funding to pay for additional staff.

The moves come after commissioners received numerous emails and complaints, and heard from a crowd of residents at Wednesday's meeting.

"The common denominator is an overwhelming dissatisfaction with the current state of Hillsborough County Animal Services," Commissioner Ken Hagen said about the complaints he received.

The $250,000 approved by commissioners will be moved from FY2014 to FY2013 and pay for six positions including veterinarian techs.

Volunteers, rescue group representatives and others showed up at the commission Wednesday to speak about concerns about sick animals, overcrowding and long waits to get animals treated by a veterinarian.

"If someone from animal services came to my home and inspected my home and my dogs lived in the conditions that exist in this county, they would confiscate every one of my dogs and shut down my rescue," said Bill Gray, who runs a dog rescue organization.

 A crowd of those concerned about the status of the shelter showed up to speak on the issue wearing red shelter volunteer shirts. Supporters of current director Ian Hallett also spoke, some wearing green T-shirts.

"I'm here this morning to remind everyone that 2,000 more lives at animal services have been saved in the past 12 months under the direction of Ian," said Pam Backer of the Humane Society. "Is that not what our community asked of him?"

The new plan to euthanize fewer animals and the loss of two shelter veterinarians were among the factors that contributed to the large number of animals at the shelter, according to a report submitted to the Board of County Commissioners.

Hallett himself attended the meeting and took questions from commissioners.

"You're going to have to reach out and find a way to bring this community together," commissioner Mark Sharpe told him. "And you will be held accountable for that."

After the meeting, Hallett said it has been a difficult year for everyone.

"I believe we can get through all of those issues," Hallett said. "I think in some cases them having additional information would have helped and so I want to encourage them in the future to come to me right away when they have concerns, and I believe we can get through all of those."

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