Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Three shelter workers on leave after euthanasia mishap

JoJo, a 1-year-old German shepherd set to be adopted, was mistakenly euthanized.

Hillsborough County Animal Services

JoJo, a 1-year-old German shepherd set to be adopted, was mistakenly euthanized.

TAMPA — Three Hillsborough County animal shelter employees are on paid leave while human resources finalizes an investigation into what led to the mistaken euthanasia of a dog that was going to be adopted.

JoJo, a 1-year-old German shepherd, was scheduled to go home with a new family last month when he was killed before that could happen. Animal Services director Ian Hallett has previously said human error likely led to the error, though he said no details could be provided while the investigation is ongoing.

The three employees previously had been relieved of duties relating to euthanasias while still remaining at the shelter. Hallett said the decision was made Thursday to place them on leave.

Their forced leave has touched off a new round of criticisms from animal welfare advocates, who say the three are being made scapegoats. Employees have gotten more work and new protocols for handling animals, which is increasing stress and has many fearing for their jobs, according to some emails to commissioners this week.

"Why now? How did all of these outstanding employees suddenly get so bad?" asked Amy Howland, owner of Dogma Pet Rescue.

"They are overworked and stressed and they are only human, so making mistakes that could cost lives becomes possible."

The three employees are Sue Padgett, an animal care supervisor with 26 years in the department, and senior animal care assistants Debra Parker and Bradley Hansen. Parker has worked for the shelter for a little more than two years, Hansen for a little more than a year. Attempts to reach them Tuesday night were unsuccessful.

Hallett emphasized that the three employees are not being disciplined at this time.

"The administrative leave is simply procedural while the investigation is ongoing, and there have been no disciplinary determinations made," Hallett said. "So it would not be correct to characterize their case as a scapegoat."

Hallett has been on the job for a little more than a year himself, hired from a public shelter in Austin, Texas, to help implement commissioners' goal of sharply reducing the number of dogs and cats killed each year by increasing adoptions.

However, he has been under repeated criticism for problems with managing the spread of disease and poor communication of shelter goals and procedures. Managing a pet population held longer at the shelter to increase adoptions is considered one of the challenges of setting lower euthanasia goals.

Some of the criticism has been fueled by animal advocates unhappy with the change in direction at the shelter.

County Administrator Mike Merrill has said as many as four animals have been mistakenly euthanized at the shelter in the past year or so.

Bill Varian can be reached at varian@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3387.

Three shelter workers on leave after euthanasia mishap 11/05/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 11:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Our president, our protests

    Blogs

    Our president has done more to foster national anthem protests than the protestors.

  2. Trump: Objection to NFL protests 'has nothing to do with race'

    National

    MORRISTOWN, New Jersey — President Donald Trump insisted Sunday that his opposition to NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality "has nothing to do with race" but …

    President Donald Trump speaks to reporters upon his return to the White House in Washington, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. Trump insisted Sunday that his opposition to NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality "has nothing to do with race" but has to do with "respect for our country and respect for our flag." [Associated PRss]
  3. World War II vet, 97, takes a knee in support of anthem protests

    Human Interest

    SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — On a day when NFL teams grabbed the nation's attention by coordinating demonstrations during the national anthem, a 97-year-old World War II veteran went viral with a solitary show of support for the protests.

    Brennan Gilmore posted a Twitter picture Sunday morning of his grandfather, John Middlemas, kneeling while wearing a veteran's cap. [Twitter]
  4. Florida education news: Shelter duty, charter schools, teacher pay and more

    Blogs

    ON THE JOB TRAINING: Michael Vasallo learns how to run an evacuation shelter on his 21st day as principal of Dunedin Highland Middle School.

    First year principal Michael Vasallo, right, got called into hurricane shelter duty one month into his job.
  5. Forecast: Sunny skies, warm temperatures to rule across Tampa Bay this week

    Weather

    After periods of heavy rain in some parts of Tampa Bay over the weekend, the region can expect sunny skies, and warm condition to prevail through the workweek.

    [10Weather WTSP]