Hillsborough County Animal Services appears to have incompetent management. The county shelter has volunteers who work tirelessly every night to post the dogs who are listed on the euthanasia list for the next day. By posting these dogs on their Facebook page, Rescue Me Tampa (RMT), they have saved countless dogs. Watch this video to see the faces of the dogs in danger and hear about how the shelter is denying information that is urgently needed to save the dogs.
However, because the shelter has installed new software, the volunteer group is not getting the information they need to try to save as many dogs’ lives as possible. They have been posting “blind” for over two weeks because they do not have accurate information about the dogs in the most danger. The shelter is completely filled and dogs are dying — and those who work hardest to save the dogs are being stymied by the current shelter management.
The shelter asks for patience, but perhaps the shelter director does not understand that patience is a luxury the dogs — who are being killed daily — do not have. The volunteers send emails to the shelter — urgent emails — and they say the shelter doesn’t respond for days. When Rescue Me Tampa writes a Facebook post about a dog, they say that it’s almost certain that one of the group has personally spent time with that dog (99% of the time). But with the lack of accurate information, they also have been posting dogs when there are pleas from volunteers and staff about their favorite dogs urgently needing rescue. In that case, they get the information either from the volunteers or from the staff who work with the dogs.
The information that is posted on their site is as accurate as they can make it. They post the good and the bad. Some dogs are highly adoptable dogs who are in danger of dying through no fault of their own. Other dogs may be more difficult to place because they are dog selective or senior dogs.
Lately, however, the page has been posting dogs as killed who turn out not to have been killed. Those mistakes occur because of incorrect information from the shelter.
One of us found a dog this week at the shelter who we had cried over the night before; it was very emotional to see that dog still alive. We spent a night saying RIP instead of working to help her find a home. We have always posted how the dog found their way into the shelter, their complete medical information, any notes from owners and finders of strays, play group notes and any other information to help them find the right home. Rescues rely on precise details to help dogs. Now, we have nothing other than their personality.”
The last time this happened (a software change), this group estimates that at least 51 animals were killed, including eight-month-old healthy puppies. Dogs are dying every day — please help!
The group is begging people to help by sending respectful emails to those listed below. Please request that the reports given to Rescue Me Tampa immediately be resumed so that lives are saved.
Please copy the following Board of County Commissioners on the email:
and please copy Rescue Me Tampa at email@example.com. Please remember that the staff at the shelter work hard and care for the animals. It’s not their fault that the management doesn’t value each and every life.
Please note this response from Scott Trebatoski, director of the shelter: Although we have been working on the transition to a new software product we have been providing information on incoming and outgoing dogs on a regular basis to all groups and the public.
When asked for comment, one of the administrators of Rescue Me Tampa stated that while the shelter used to send RMT three reports a day, one in the morning with information about new dogs from the day before, and two reports around 7:00 pm with outcomes from the day (animals killed) and a “Rescue Me Tampa” report with information about all the dogs in the shelter. That information included notes and medical information so that RMT could share that information on Facebook for networking.
Now, RMT is just receiving a report every night on the killed dogs. And apparently, that report has numerous errors. There are some notes on the dogs, but not as complete as previous reports and not as useful. And while the intake and outcome reports are posted on the shelter website, it’s a day late — when it’s sporadically posted.
The group of people who work so hard to save the dogs in Tampa feel that the shelter is trying to make it impossible for them to operate. They said, “They are trying to silence us. We tell the truth about them.”