Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Cutbacks may force animal shelter to close Saturdays

BROOKSVILLE — The long odds that dogs and cats in Hernando County's Animal Services shelter already face in finding homes may soon get even worse.

County commissioners will be asked Tuesday to approve the closure of the Animal Services facility to the public on Saturdays as a part of the county's budget cutting.

That could mean fewer strays and animals given up by owners will find new homes, according to Mark Caskie, interim code enforcement director.

"We would only be open five days instead of six,'' he said. "We would still be open late on Thursdays but it will be an impact to the public, less time for the public to come in and do their business.''

Statistics show that for every one or two adoptions, another nine or 10 animals are euthanized. Caskie said the numbers do not correlate exactly because some owners bring their old or sick animals to the facility to have them put down, but there is no doubt there are many more animals than there are people willing to adopt them.

Like other county department leaders, Caskie was given a budget number reflecting the property tax reductions anticipated. In crafting a spending plan, he was told to make do with less and that he could not replace a shelter worker who retired this month.

The reduction from five kennel workers to four complicated the staffing schedule, he said, because "I have to care for the animals seven days a week.''

Caskie said the one-day closure to the public was necessary "to be more efficient and have a safer operation of the kennel.''

Saturday was chosen because the facility was open to the public for only half a day and six workers were on duty during that time. The choice was made based on staffing concerns.

Saturdays also have the smallest average number of daily visitors for the 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. hours that the facility is open with just 82. Thursdays are the busiest days with an average of 147 visitors per day and hours that extend to 6 p.m. On other days, the facility closes at 4:30 p.m.

Animal services officers will be available on weekends to help local law enforcement with animal-related issues, he said. Those officers sometimes handle issues with the public on Saturdays and would be available to do more field work if the facility closed to the public on Saturdays.

One-day-a-week closing to the public may not be the only service the public could lose from Animal Services under the current budget trimming.

Caskie said other cuts could be made by eliminating the spay and neuter rebate and free rabies vaccination clinics and reducing the amount of public outreach at community fairs and events.

Those kinds of losses would be unfortunate, he said.

"These are preventative programs. They have been a very positive thing.''

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at or (352) 848-1434.

>>shelter facts

Hard numbers

2006: 731 adoptions; 4,809 euthanasias

2007: 715 adoptions; 5,783 euthanasias

2008 Jan.-May: 312 adoptions; 1,864 euthanasias

Source: Hernando County Animal Services

Cutbacks may force animal shelter to close Saturdays 07/11/08 [Last modified: Sunday, July 13, 2008 7:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  2. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  3. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case


    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  4. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate


    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.
  5. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101