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Pasco Animal Services Doubling Vet Staff

The agency is hoping to increase staffing in the near future.

Staffing levels at Pasco County Animal Services are about to increase.

When Pasco County Commissioners approved a new business plan for the agency last week, they also gave a green light to a request to hire a new full-time veterinarian and two full-time veterinary technicians, essentially doubling the agency’s veterinary staff.

Right now, the agency, which is based in Land O’ Lakes, but serves most of the county, has one veterinarian and two veterinary technicians on staff.

Those veterinary workers have “performed 2,000 sterilization surgeries for those animals adopted by the public during the last 20 months,” the business plan states as part of the reason for wanting the new hires.

The new employees would concentrate almost entirely on performing sterilization surgeries, the plan states. “This will also allow for more efficiency in delivering veterinary health care to the shelter animals as more veterinary staff will be available to focus on assessing and treating the shelter population.”

Pasco County Commissioner Pat Mulieri says new veterinary hires are critical to the county’s mission to reduce euthanasia and increase adoptions.

The additional staff will enable the county to neuter and spay animals more quickly, she said.

“This will lead to more dogs being adopted,” Mulieri said. “It is important to get the animals out of the shelter. “It is also related to animal health.”

Mulieri said the extra veterinary staff should also help alleviate concerns rescue groups, residents and volunteers have raised about a lack of care for animals – especially over the weekends.

She highlighted a case of two small dogs that were brought into the shelter about two weeks ago on a Friday.

“They were given antibiotics and pain (medications), but Monday morning one was immediately transferred to a vet in Brooksville,” Mulieri said. “There was concern with an eye issue.”

Animal Services Under Fire

Animal Services has faced much criticism in recent months for actions that rescue groups say are negligent and have resulted in the care of some animals being overlooked while other animals have been euthanized by mistake.

Most recently, a mixed-breed dog named Sally was euthanized even though a rescue group had said it wanted to accept responsibility for the dog.

Animal Services Director John Malley has said the procedure used to create the euthanize list is under review.

Malley said Sally’s death was caused by “human error” and added that steps are being taken to prevent a repeat.

“We’re doing everything we can,” he said.

Why the New Plan?

Animal Services business plan for 2013-14 was adopted Feb. 19 to help the county fund and implement its Save 90% initiative. That initiative calls for the county to adopt out 90 percent of the animals brought into Animal Service. Save 90% was adopted by the County Commission in November 2012.

Funding for the new veterinary staff will come from the recently approved increases in licensing fees that were also included in the new business plan. It is unclear how soon the county will start recruitment for the new positions.

What do you think about the changes at Animal Services, West Pasco? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

See Also:

  • Higher Fees for Pet Owners on County’s Radar
  • New Laws for Land O' Lakes Dog Owners
Susan Washburn February 27, 2013 at 12:32 PM
My good friend thought of a good idea today. We could set up a pet rental service from the many dogs and cats that are in shelters for people who are snow birds. Even if people get a dog or cat that can go with them on the plane, or in baggage, and they can only be very small dogs now, it costs the same as another person on the plane, to bring them. Other people may also wish to rent a pet. Maybe the cost to rent the pet could be about $5 to $7 a day. If a person rents the pet for a longer period such as a week or so, or for a month, it could be cheaper, even less expensive for 6 months. Then when people go to their vacation home and rent a different one while they are there. I figure it costs me over $500 a year to take care of my dog with medicine and the doctor visit for inoculations. This amount does not include food costs. The renters could provide food and pay for the flea and tick preventive and internal parasite preventive for the months they keep the dog or cat. Some profit might be made as well. It has been done already with Rent A Pet in California and another company; possibly more. I think the little bit of trouble to arrange the rentals would more than be offset by the better care the animals could receive and benefit by and the profit that could be realized by the organization who undertakes implementing this system.
Jane Marinello February 27, 2013 at 01:16 PM
I am one who has been very critical of this shelter and it's conditions in the past. I am pleased to see this plan come forward and will be watching to see if it gets implemented in full. I am still waiting for the installation of heat and a/c in the intake building, which was promised to happen many months ago. Summer will soon be upon us as is the cold weather due to come later this week. There has been funds svailanle
Jane Marinello February 27, 2013 at 01:20 PM
Available for heat and a/c for the past 3 yrs and these animals have had to suffer in 90 degree heat needlessly for that long. It's time these things get done, not just promised.
Sherri Lonon February 27, 2013 at 11:15 PM
Jane, I heard the renovations on Building C are coming along. I'll try to check and see if I can get an ETA on the heating/cooling system. I was told it was coming soon a few weeks ago.

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