Hillsborough commissioners were warned of puppy breeder 3 years ago and did nothing

Investigations

Veterinarian says it was like no one cared.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – After a big puppy breeder bust two weeks ago, Hillsborough commissioners praised the director of the Pet Resource Center.

The PRC confiscated more than 340 dogs from deplorable conditions from a breeder on East Diana Street. Then they called in department director Scott Trebatoski and gave him a pat on the back.

Then we heard some tough talk from Commissioner Ken Hagan.

“If you’re operating illegally in Hillsborough County, we’re coming after you,” Hagan said to reporters following the big bust.

But a veterinarian in Lithia thinks Hagan and other commissioners ought to be ashamed of themselves.

“This has been going on for years, and they know it’s been going on for years, because I’ve told them it’s been going on for years,” said Dr. Ellen Alence.

This photo shows Dr. Allen Alence who claims she alerted County Commissioners to a puppy mill three years ago. They ignored her. (WFLA photo)

Dr. Alence said she told commissioners about the same puppy breeder three years ago and even gave them police reports, which documented the neglectful and unhealthy conditions the animals were living in. Evidence, not hearsay. They sat in silence.

8 On Your Side obtained a video that shows Dr. Alence bringing this to their attention at a Sept. 2016 Board of County Commissioners meeting.

“I have here a TPD police report. TPD was on-site at a known puppy mill,” Dr. Alence is heard saying.

“I encourage any of you to look into this,” Dr. Alence said. “After you get done hearing the excuses and seeing the finger pointing I want you to pull the other T.P.D. police report from this location. The one that talks about dead dogs and get back to me.”

“Thank you ma’am,” Commissioner Les Miller said to Dr. Alence, as her time to speak expired.

And that was it. Not one commissioner or the PRC reached out after that.

She said TPD called the PRC twice, but no one from the shelter showed.

“I followed up with emails, with details, I laid it out for them, and crickets,” Dr. Alence stated. “It makes me feel like they don’t care.”

Dr. Alence claims that through the years, the county gave her a handful of excuses about why its hands were tied and said they had a problem gaining access to the property.

But Dr. Alence believes this was a weak excuse, considering police were at the scene and documenting the conditions.

Although these days, they sure seem like they care.

“It brought tears to my eyes,” Commissioner Ken Hagan said when talking about last month’s bust.

“Crocodile tears,” Dr. Alence said.

If you know of something that you think should be investigated, call our 8 On Your Side Helpline at 1-800-338-0808 or contact Steve Andrews at sandrews@wfla.com.

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