Monday, May 21, 2018
Politics

Gov. Rick Scott's former dog Reagan bit employee, report says

TALLAHASSEE — Reagan, the now famous dog that once belonged to Gov. Rick Scott, was banished from the Governor's Mansion after biting an employee who moved his water bowl.

"The governor and first lady love dogs, and they had to make a hard decision when it was clear that Reagan was very anxious around lots of different people,'' Scott spokeswoman Melissa Sellers said.

The dog bite occurred while the governor was in Orlando on Jan. 7, 2011, just three days after Scott took office, according to an incident report released by Scott's office late last week. Mansion grounds employee Jennifer Kinsey was arranging flowers in the mansion when Reagan bit her on the right hand, according to the incident report made by her supervisor for the Department of Management Services. The report noted that the injury was not serious and required no medical treatment.

Scott introduced the yellow Labrador to Facebook readers on Sept. 7, 2010, shortly after he won the Republican nomination and before his election in November 2010. Facebook friends chose the name Reagan from a list of three choices suggested by the campaign and applauded the candidate's decision to adopt a rescue dog.

After the bite report, Sellers said, Scott flew Reagan back to Naples on his private jet and returned the dog to All Pets Grooming and Boarding, a Collier County groomer. Owner Kelly Normand has refused to comment. Last week WTSP-Ch. 10 said she told the station that Reagan's name has been changed to Pluto and he lives on a horse ranch in Collier County, but no one at the grooming business would confirm the report.

"The family decided that the best decision for the dog and all those who visit (the Governor's Mansion) would be to have the grooming business find Reagan a more appropriate home with less people and activity,'' Sellers said. "It was a hard choice that sometimes pet owners have to make."

The Scotts have since adopted Tallee, a calmer, gentler 7-year-old yellow Lab.

Earlier this month, when first asked about the disappearance of Reagan and the appearance of Tallee, the governor's current and former staff repeatedly refused to respond. When directly asked about it a few days later, Scott said he returned the dog to previous owners because it barked a lot and frightened mansion staffers, including photographer Eric Tournay. He said the dog never bit anyone. Sellers said Scott had been out of town and did not recall the incident when he talked to reporters.

Tournay has since denied being frightened by Reagan, noting that he has owned several pit bulls.

Sellers, communications director for the governor since September, was not working for Scott during the campaign or the state when Reagan was adopted and returned. She said she was not aware of the return until the Tampa Bay Times reported it. She then asked first lady Ann Scott about the dog.

A Times story about the dog sparked an outcry from animal lovers, who were critical of Scott for promoting the adoption during the campaign and getting rid of Reagan as soon as he was elected.

Comments
‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump lashed out Sunday at "the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt," trashing a new report in the New York Times that said an emissary representing the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates offered help...
Published: 05/20/18
Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan pushed a radical idea on Twitter: Parents should pull their children out of school until elected officials pass stricter gun control laws.His tweet came hours after a shooting rampage at a Houston-area high scho...
Published: 05/20/18
China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

WASHINGTON - China offered to boost its annual purchases of U.S. products by "at least $200 billion" Friday as two days of talks aimed at averting an open breach between the two countries ended in Washington, a top White House adviser said.Larry Kudl...
Published: 05/19/18
Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

TAMPA — A concert organizer is accusing Hillsborough County Commission candidate Elvis Piggott of falsifying a contract and prompting the headline act to pull out of a gospel show.In a lawsuit filed in Hillsborough Circuit Court, Corey Curry claims h...
Published: 05/18/18
Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

WASHINGTON - The Senate voted Thursday to confirm Gina Haspel as the next CIA director after several Democrats were persuaded to support her despite lingering concerns about her role in the brutal interrogation of suspected terrorists captured after ...
Published: 05/17/18
GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

WASHINGTON — Republicans are pushing for a speedy confirmation vote as early as Thursday after the Senate intelligence committee endorsed President Donald Trump’s CIA nominee Gina Haspel to lead the spy agency. But opponents concerned about Haspel’s ...
Published: 05/16/18
Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee

Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee

WASHINGTON - The Senate Intelligence Committee moved Wednesday to recommend Gina Haspel for CIA director, setting up a floor vote that her opponents say will signal to the world whether the United States condemns or condones torture.The committee vot...
Published: 05/16/18
Carlton: Time for Hillsborough’s Uncle Tom Road to go — but artfully.

Carlton: Time for Hillsborough’s Uncle Tom Road to go — but artfully.

In Hillsborough County — where one of the world’s largest Confederate flags still flies near a busy interstate — you may not be surprised to learn there’s an Uncle Tom Road.The name is a flash point and a slur, shorthand for a black person who will d...
Published: 05/16/18
Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell drops out of Pinellas Commission race

Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell drops out of Pinellas Commission race

With six months to go before the Nov. 6 election, Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell on Monday dropped her bid against Pinellas County Commissioner Pat Gerard for the at-large District 2 seat.Caudell said she decided she’d better be better suited f...
Published: 05/14/18
Romano: Hey Gov. Scott, could you hire me, too?

Romano: Hey Gov. Scott, could you hire me, too?

To: The Honorable Gov. Rick ScottDear Governor,It has come to my attention that your administration has recently made some, dare I say, innovative hires for important government positions in the months before you leave office.At the risk of sounding ...
Published: 05/14/18