Monday, May 21, 2018
News Roundup

Pinellas Humane Society medical director leaves post after boyfriend's arrest

CLEARWATER — The medical director at the Humane Society of Pinellas left her post late last week, days after her live-in boyfriend, a former Humane Society employee, was arrested on suspicion of possessing child pornography and having sex with their dog.

The nonprofit animal shelter, citing a policy against commenting on personnel issues, was tight-lipped about Katerina Williamson's departure and wouldn't say whether she was fired or left her job voluntarily. Shelter officials also wouldn't say whether her departure was related to her boyfriend's arrest on May 1.

"I'm not at liberty to discuss personnel matters," said Humane Society director of development Twila Cole. "I don't believe we have any further statement on that topic at this time."

Reached by phone, Williamson also declined comment.

"I'm not going to discuss that," said Williamson, 30.

Williamson's boyfriend, Eric Antunes, 29, was employed on a limited basis as a contract worker at the Clearwater shelter, Cole said. Antunes worked primarily in maintenance, she said, and other people were present when he had access to animals.

Former workers and volunteers dispute that, including Mike Eagle, who worked with dogs at the shelter until February. Eagle said Antunes worked with dogs in the Humane Society's medical kennels and was responsible for walking them and caring for them. Antunes worked in that position for several months last fall, he said.

"He was pretty much the only one down there to take care of the animals," Eagle said.

Antunes was arrested on 10 counts of possessing child pornography. The animal cruelty charge was referred to the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office for possible prosecution.

He was released from the Pinellas County Jail on Wednesday after posting $15,000 bail.

Clearwater police began investigating Antunes after getting a tip that he had child pornography. Antunes admitted downloading and viewing child pornography on his home computer, and a search of his hard drive found nine photos and one video of child pornography, police said. Several images of bestiality involving Antunes' and Williamson's dog were also found on his cell phone, according to police.

This is the Humane Society's second controversy involving Williamson this year. Last month, the Tampa Bay Times reported that several volunteers were frustrated with the direction of the shelter since Williamson was hired in September. Williamson previously worked for SPCA Suncoast in New Port Richey.

Four volunteers resigned in February, claiming the shelter killed dogs with treatable health conditions and correctable behavior issues. They also faulted the shelter for accepting hundreds of dogs from outside the Tampa Bay area while apparently rejecting dogs from the community.

Former volunteer Lori Ammons called Williamson's departure from the Humane Society "a step in the right direction."

Lorri Helfand can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4155. Go to tampabay.com/letters to write a letter to the editor.

Comments
Lightning-Capitals: Washington forces Game 7 with 3-0 victory

Lightning-Capitals: Washington forces Game 7 with 3-0 victory

WASHINGTON — The Lightning let one get away Monday night. And it might cost Tampa Bay a chance at the Stanley Cup.So now there will be a Game 7 to decide the Eastern Conference. Maybe this is how it should be. Maybe this is how it's supposed to...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The weather didn’t get Lightning fans down. Losing Game 6 did.

The weather didn’t get Lightning fans down. Losing Game 6 did.

TAMPA — If the Tampa Bay Lightning can overcome a 2-game deficit to the Washington Capitals and take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference final, then Deborah Schmeltzer can definitely drive across the Howard Frankland Bridge through a driving rainsto...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning journal: Capitals had a shot at Jon Cooper

Lightning journal: Capitals had a shot at Jon Cooper

WASHINGTON — Interesting how things work out in the world of hockey.Back in 2012, the first NHL team to ever interview Jon Cooper for a head coaching job was actually the Washington Capitals. The Caps general manager at the time was George McPh...
Updated: 1 hour ago
History has been kind to Lightning in Game 7s

History has been kind to Lightning in Game 7s

WASHINGTON — There's nothing more delicious in sports than Game 7.Unless your team is playing in it. Then there's nothing more nerve-racking.Most sports fans watch a big game with a nice cold drink. But if your team is playing in a Game 7, the ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Prepare yourselves: Golden Knights will be talk of the Stanley Cup final

Prepare yourselves: Golden Knights will be talk of the Stanley Cup final

WASHINGTON — It's incredible. Unbelievable, really. Maybe the best sports story in this country and the sport of hockey since 1980's Miracle on Ice.And, as a side note, if the Lightning reaches the Stanley Cup final, everyone in the country out...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s Game 6 shutout loss

Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s Game 6 shutout loss

Let's do it one more time, shall we?Game 7 it will be.If it matches Game 6, it will be extraordinary.RELATED: More Lightning coverageThe Lightning could not close the door on the Washington Capitals. The Caps, who apparently really don't want to lose...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning-Capitals: Tom Jones’ takeaways from Washington’s Game 6 win

Lightning-Capitals: Tom Jones’ takeaways from Washington’s Game 6 win

Caps D Dmitry Orlov has one of the most wicked slap shots in hockey. When he stepped into one in the first period, Lightning D Ryan McDonagh threw his body in front of it and blocked it with his shoulder — just inches from his face. McDonagh sh...
Updated: 1 hour ago
FPL parent wants to expand its Florida footprint with new purchase

FPL parent wants to expand its Florida footprint with new purchase

TALLAHASSEE — The parent company of Florida utility giant Florida Power & Light announced Monday that it will buy the largest electricity producer in Northwest Florida, Gulf Power, in a $6.4 billion deal.Juno Beach-based NextEra Energy Inc. said in a...
Updated: 2 hours ago
One of Ybor City’s most historic blocks about to see construction of four-story boutique hotel

One of Ybor City’s most historic blocks about to see construction of four-story boutique hotel

TAMPA — Developers are poised to launch construction this week on one of Ybor City’s biggest new projects in years — a four-story, $50 million boutique hotel being created by a Chicago company that seeks out neighborhoods rich in color and character....
Updated: 4 hours ago
State softball: Admiral Farragut happy to be in title game this time around

State softball: Admiral Farragut happy to be in title game this time around

VERO BEACH — All season, Admiral Farragut has focused on two things:Believe in each other.Commit to the process.Well, it all paid off in a big way Monday in the Class 3A state semifinals at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach.Alyssa Rano hit a two-run ...
Updated: 4 hours ago