Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New Port Richey's slow pace in taking over animal control from Pasco criticized

NEW PORT RICHEY — Two experts who have volunteered to aid in launching New Port Richey's emerging effort to take over animal control from Pasco County are dissatisfied with the city's progress in getting the project off the ground.

For years, the city has contracted with Pasco County to handle its animal control, but in a cost-cutting measure, New Port Richey City Council members voted in January to cancel those services and move toward a volunteer unit spearheaded by the city's police department.

It was a plan years in the making crafted by veterinarian Dr. Terry Spencer and Sharon McReynolds, CEO of the downtown medical firm Advanced Healthcare Alternatives, for city police to provide infrastructure for a volunteer unit to provide animal services.

In the months leading up to the changeover, however, county officials have questioned whether canceling the $59,000 annual contract is the right move, and a recent letter sent to city police officials by the Pasco County Health Department questioning how the fledgling animal protection unit would handle rabies cases raised red flags for the program's creators.

With the city's contract with the county expiring Oct. 1, there has been nothing done by the New Port Richey to take the steps to getting the program going, McReynolds and Spencer wrote in an email sent to city council members and New Port Richey Police Chief James Steffens after seeing the county's letter.

The pair wrote in the email that background checks had not been done on prospective volunteers, ordinances needed for the program to operate have not been drafted, and for three months they have received no communication from the city on the project.

Spencer and McReynolds stated they hoped the city has made progress that officials haven't yet told them about.

"If this is not the case, unfortunately, we feel we can no longer put our support behind this project, knowing that when it does not meet the expectations, blame will fall on us, when we have no control on its demise. We both are disappointed and heartbroken not to see this plan to fruition," the email stated.

Steffens said the city's efforts to cancel the contract with the county in recent months have stalled progress on the project, but a discussion with McReynolds and Spencer would relieve their fears.

"They are the leading experts in the field, and with three months left I am fully confident we can get the issues they are concerned about solved," Steffens said. "I am not in the panic business, I am about solutions. Calmer heads will prevail, and we will be up and running Oct. 1."

The day after sending the email both McReynolds and Spencer told the Tampa Bay Times they still want the project to move forward, but hoped their correspondence with city officials served as wake-up call.

We just need to know they are making progress toward the goal," Spencer said. "We were getting no information, and I'm worried because it's going to take time."

New Port Richey's slow pace in taking over animal control from Pasco criticized 06/14/12 [Last modified: Thursday, June 14, 2012 8:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning edges Red Wings on road

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — The digs were different, the Lightning seeing the masterfully-done new Little Caesar's Arena for the first time.

    Lightning center/Red Wings’ killer Tyler Johnson gets past defenseman Trevor Daley on his way to the first goal of the game.
  2. Armwood pulls away to defeat Plant 27-7, remain undefeated

    Footballpreps

    SEFFNER — First-year Armwood coach Evan Davis pulled out all the stops to get his team psyched for Monday's annual grudge match against Plant.

    Armwood defensive end Malcolm Lamar (97) gets fired up before the start of the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
  3. Clearwater police: Car thief dead after owner fires gun

    Crime

    CLEARWATER — One man is dead after the owner of a car fired shots at the thieves who were stealing it Monday night, police said.

  4. Iraqi forces sweep into Kirkuk, checking Kurdish independence drive

    World

    KIRKUK, Iraq — After weeks of threats and posturing, the Iraqi government began a military assault Monday to curb the independence drive by the nation's Kurdish minority, wresting oil fields and a contested city from separatists pushing to break away from Iraq.

    Iraqi security forces patrol Monday in Tuz Khormato, about 45 miles south of Kirkuk, a disputed city that the government seized in response to last month’s Kurdish vote for independence.
  5. Trump and McConnell strive for unity amid rising tensions

    National

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, tried to convey a sense of harmony Monday after months of private feuding that threatened to undermine their party's legislative push in the coming weeks to enact a sweeping tax cut.

    President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell field questions Monday in the Rose Garden of the White House. “We have been friends for a long time,” Trump said.