Could Henry’s life have been saved? Volunteers will never know

henry

Henry was a young, sweet dog who was gentle and friendly. He seemed to get along with other dogs. In short, the kind of dog who would easily find a home. Yet “was” is the correct tense to use regarding sweet Henry because he was killed at the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center. The volunteer group Rescue Me Tampa will always wonder if they could have saved him — had the shelter just shared the information about Henry with them. They wrote:

“RIP Little Henry !! We are so sorry! We know with a last call you would have gotten a foster, you deserved a rescue of foster plea. YOU were so sweet and perfect! Volunteers loved you. You deserved a chance, at the very least an email. Our hearts are completely broken tonight.”

Until this month, Rescue Me Tampa (RMT) would have been able to get the report with Henry on the “euth” list for the next day. They would have sent out Facebook pleas for a foster home for Henry. He had a upper respiratory infection, and space in the isolation unit is limited. Often, with a 10-day foster, a dog’s life is saved.

But Henry didn’t get that opportunity. Because of a software change, the shelter isn’t providing RMT with the information they need to save lives. In a previous article, “Dogs are needlessly dying; rescue group needs information to save them” this issue was addressed. The shelter communications representative called this writer to address some “inaccuracies” in the story.

However, after asking several pointed questions about shelter operations, this staff member could not give an answer to even one of the questions. She said she would get some answers and send a response. That was a week ago. Nothing has been received.

So, the questions remain. Why is the shelter not doing everything in its power to get these life-saving volunteers (who work each and every night, unpaid, unseen) the information they need? If the software isn’t in place, why isn’t the shelter director himself getting together the kill list and information about each of the dogs on that list and sending it to RMT?

The shelter director, Scott Trebatoski, is very concerned with the “numbers” and the no-kill statistics. But that didn’t help Henry, or dogs like him who are going to fall through the cracks.

Another question is why the shelter is closing off access to the outdoor runs where dogs typically urinate and defecate? They are now closing off that access at 3:00 in the afternoon and not opening the doors again until 6:00 the next morning. No house trained dog can last that long. So dogs who may enter the shelter house trained will be forced to defecate in their living area. Or try to hold it for 15 long hours.

See also “Shelter director on the hot seat.

Please take a moment to remember Henry — the dog who might have been saved, but who didn’t get a chance. He was ID#A1640335. Henry was at Hillsborough County Animal Services. Their phone number is 813-744-5660. Feel free to call and let the director, Scott Trebatoski, know how important it is that Rescue Me Tampa get the information they need to save lives. Be polite. Or read the first article (linked above) and write letters to the county commissioners about this. Please be an advocate for those who can’t speak.

Please note: Shelter director Scott Trebotski commented on this article. He wrote: “Henry was diagnosed with bacterial Pneumonia by the veterinary staff and was unresponsive to medical treatment. The veterinarian felt he was suffering and euthanized the dog for medical reasons. This dog would not have been treated any differently under the old reports or the new ones – this was a medical decision.”

Also note a post on Facebook about Trebotski’s post: “Henry was seen by a shelter vet on Monday. He was diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia. The director responded to the article stating that Henry was euthanized because he was not responding to treatment! Seen on Monday. Euthanized on Monday before 4. How did he have time to respond to treatment??? I was called by shelter representative to let me know Henry was euthanized. Why was I called? I had expressed interest in fostering Henry.”

Please also note that when a dog is killed because of medical reasons (or aggression), that death does not count as a dog killed under “no kill” statistics. So theoretically, a shelter could kill 50% of its dogs for medical reasons and still claim a 90% save rate — not suggesting that this is what Hillsborough County is doing, just a comment.

(Please note: This is a reprint from an article previously published on Examiner.com)

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