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.
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