HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA)- Hillsborough County’s tax-funded Community Cat program has continued to raise more questions.
It appears as though the PRC has its own version “Quid Pro Quo.”
The TNVR program (trap, neuter, vaccinate, release) was started in 2015 to control Hillsborough County’s feral cat population.
Hillsborough County’s Pet Resource Center is lining up sick and injured animals to turn over the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, which in turn eventually dumps them back into neighborhoods all at taxpayers’ expense.
8 On Your Side has discovered the county slated several sick and injured cats and kittens to be neutered, vaccinated then released by the Humane Society.
Some were pulled from the “Community Cat” program by animal rescue organizations.
The county pays the Humane Society of Tampa $120,000 to neuter, vaccinate then release feral and stray cats that the PRC sends its way.
The PRC counts all those cats as live releases, then washes its hands of them.
PRC Director Scott Trebatoski’s job performance evaluations and $143,000 dollar salary are heavily dependent on him increasing the shelter’s live release rate each year.
Earlier this week, we reported the PRC is now including 3 lb kittens in the trap, neuter, vaccinate and release program (TNVR).
“It’s really for a majority of the cats that go out, a really slow and torturous death,” Lauren Tillotson of CJPaws, an animal rescue.
According to PRC policy, a cat has to be in good health to be eligible for TNVR but that’s not happening.
Records and rescues tell 8 On Your Side that sick and injured cats are somehow ending up in the program.
Lauren Tillotson rescued a 3 lb kitten now called Luigi from the TNVR list.
“He was not healthy when we pulled him,” Lauren said. “His sheet indicates he has an eye condition and that it is infectious.”
She also pulled Luigi’s brother and mother.
“Their mother, when we received her, had a very high fever, she was not responsive,” Lauren added.
Another cat they pulled from the TNVR list has a permanent limp in a hind leg, is unable to run or jump, is unafraid of large dogs and would not have lived long” on the streets.
“It seems to be mostly about the money, it’s let’s get them out and away as cheaply as possible and let’s keep as many live release numbers as we can,” Lauren said.
Twice this week w 8 On Your Side requested an interview with someone from the coun ty who can explain the changes in the TNVR program and the discrepancies we’ve uncovered.
The county stated the director is the person who should answer our questions, and he is out of town
If you know of something that you feel should be investigated call our 8 On Your Side Helpline at 1 800 338-0808.
Contact Steve Andrews at firstname.lastname@example.org