Local rescuers have been saying that the policies and procedures at the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center in Tampa, Florida, are inhumane. Now, Steve Andrews of NewsChannel 8 has exposed some more of the shelter’s sordid story.
In his recent investigation, titled “Local shelter adopts pets to violent offenders,” Andrews exposes the fact that the shelter will adopt dogs to anyone — including people who just got out of jail. Violent offenders, felons, all are allowed to adopt as many dogs as they want. The list of those enjoined from owning animals is rarely up-to-date. While adopting out as many animals as possible — and to anyone — may make shelter numbers look good, this is hardly good for the animals. (See also: “Convicted dog fighters can adopt dogs from county shelter with failed policies.”)
The local rescuers have complained that Trebatoski’s only goal is to make the numbers look good. And they say he does it any way he can. They claim that people who find a stray dog have been told to let them go on the streets. By reducing intake and keeping the numbers artificially low, the shelter can tweak the numbers to make their “no-kill” statistics look better. Another Florida shelter, the Miami Dade Animal Services, has been accused of doing the same thing.
But Steve Andrews found out more about the less-than-ethical practices of the county shelter. In another piece of excellent investigative reporting, “Hillsborough Pet Resources director kills roosters, allegedly violates county policy,” Andrews reports that Trebatoski allegedly killed roosters using a method that was against the shelter policy. The former animal control director of Pet Services, Pam Perry, told Andrews that Trebatoski violated shelter protocol during his first week on the job. Instead of tranquilizing the roosters before injecting them with the substance that kills them, he injected it directly into a vein at the back of the roosters’ neck.
In the news clip, Trebatoski denies that he knew about that policy when he did that. Perry states unequivocally that she told him before he did it. Recently, an animal control officer was demoted for doing the same thing. Now, Pet Services is saying that the animal control officer was not demoted for the act, but rather for not following his supervisor’s direction.
“Dogs are needlessly dying; rescue group needs information to save them” shares the information that the shelter is not providing the important information to the volunteer group Rescue Me Tampa to enable them to save the lives of the dogs at the shelter. After this article was posted on Examiner.com, the shelter’s Senior Media Relations Specialist, Communications and Digital Media, Kara Walker contacted this writer. She wanted to share “clarifications and corrections” to that article. During the course of our conversation, she was unable to answer any of the questions that were raised. She stated that she would get the answers and share them. She has not done so yet.
On the other hand, a recent piece in the Tampa Bay Times called “Kill rate in Hillsborough animal shelters down substantially, officials say,” is hardly an investigative piece. In fact, its picture, according to a local animal activist, is several years old. She posted on Facebook, “Put your waders on. The first problem is Scott never goes in the kennels. This is the same pic that was used a few years ago. This was a PR piece because the truth is coming out.” What Tampa Bay Times published appears to be a public relations ploy for Scott Trebatoski. But it won’t change the facts.