Hillsborough hires new animal services director with low-kill experience
Hillsborough County on Friday announced the hiring of a new Animal Services Department director from Austin, Texas, who has experience in dramatically lowering the number of dogs and cats euthanized each year in that community's public shelter.
The hiring of Ian Hallett, deputy chief animal services officer for the city of Austin and Travis County, comes as commissioners discuss ways to make Hillsborough County's animal shelter a no-kill center, or at least low-kill. Hallett is a native of Riverview and will start June 18.
In a letter to County Administrator Mike Merrill thanking him for the job, Hallett said the Austin shelter he helps supervise has seen a dramatic decline in the number of animals killed each year. When he started there as a volunteer seven years ago, he said the save rate was less than 40 percent. Today, it stands at 90 percent, a goal local animal rights group are urging Hillsborough County to set.
While Hillsborough County has reduced the raw number of animals euthanized by 52 percent since 2005, some 65 percent of animals that end up there are killed, Hillsborough County Commission Chairman Ken Hagan said recently. He is pushing for Hillsborough County to more aggressively shrink that kill rate.
Attached is the memo announcing his hiring and his letter to Merrill.