Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: Hillsborough animal shelter on right path

Hillsborough County is taking the right approach in moving to significantly reduce the number of animals killed at the county animal shelter. Over time, the steps the county is taking should help more animals lead healthier lives and be adopted into loving homes. The county should give this new strategy the money and time to produce results.

A renewed commitment is vital in the wake of last month's resignation of Dr. Isabelle Roese, a full-time veterinarian at the shelter who quit after 13 years, citing deteriorating conditions and a poor relationship with the shelter's new management. She and some others with animal welfare groups have complained about crowded conditions at the shelter, an increasing number of sick animals and questionable decisions about the suitability of some dogs being placed for adoption.

But the problems are more manageable than many suggest, and they stem in part from the fact that the shelter is both receiving more unwanted animals and moving away from routinely euthanizing those that arrive sick. The shelter also has extended hold times for animals in an effort to get more adopted. The volume has caused congestion, but the department's new placement strategy, which county commissioners adopted in May, promises to get animals out sooner. That cuts the window for disease to spread through the shelter.

The change in direction under Ian Hallett, who took over the department 13 months ago, is still opposed by some in animal welfare who see the project as overly ambitious. But the strategy is a smart, humane approach for dealing with the volume of 20,000 animals entering the shelter each year, the majority of which are euthanized. Hallett is building on the department's success over the past decade in significantly cutting the number of dogs and cats being killed — the 13,000 euthanized in the past year is half the number of 2007. And the department has consistently increased the number of animals being adopted. This strategy can work, but the shelter needs time to retool its operation and change the work culture.

County Administrator Mike Merrill sent the right message earlier this month by issuing a written statement of support for Hallett and acknowledging that animal welfare is an emotional issue. But he's right that the focus should be on the best approach for dealing humanely with lost, abused or abandoned pets. The new strategy will give healthy animals another chance, reduce the population of strays and expand public awareness about responsible pet ownership. But it takes time to change direction. Hallett deserves an opportunity to put his plan to work, and he should have the commission's support in carrying out a policy the commission embraced.

Comments

Another voice: Privacy in the internet age

How much information about you is on your cellphone? Likely the most intimate details of your life: photographs, internet searches, text and email conversations with friends and colleagues. And though you might not know it, your phone is constantly c...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Confronted with documentation of sanctioned brutality and sexual abuse in Floridaís juvenile detention centers, the reaction from Gov. Rick Scottís administration was defensive and obtuse. So itís welcome news that Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Editorial: U.S. House sides with NRA over stateís rights on concealed weapons permits

With the horror of the mass shootings at a Las Vegas country music concert and a small Texas church still fresh, the U.S. House finally has taken action on guns. But the bill it passed last week wonít make Americans safer from gun violence. It is an ...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

There is no satisfaction for anyone in the standoff over pay raises between the Hillsborough County School District and its teachers. Most teachers across the nation already are underpaid, but this district simply cannot afford the raises teachers ex...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

With a buildout of $3 billion encompassing entire city blocks, itís obvious that Jeff Vinikís plans will change the look and feel of downtown Tampa. But the Tampa Bay Lightning owner unveiled a broader vision last week that reflects how far the impac...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/08/17
Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

It is dangerous and illegal to text while driving in Florida, and police should be able to pull over and ticket those lawbreakers without witnessing another violation first. House Speaker Richard Corcoran has lent his powerful voice to legislation th...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Editorial: Outsourcing common sense on St. Petersburg Pier naming rights

St. Petersburg officials predict that selling the naming rights to parts of the new Pier could generate $100,000 in annual revenue. But first the city wants to pay a consultant to tell it how and to whom to sell the rights. Why do city officials need...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Another voice: Trumpís risky move

President Donald Trumpís decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israelís capital has a certain amount of common sense on its side. As a practical matter, West Jerusalem has been the seat of Israeli government since 1949, and no conceivable formula for Pa...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Editorial: Tampaís MOSI reinvents itself

Editorial: Tampaís MOSI reinvents itself

A tactical retreat and regrouping seems to be paying off for Hillsborough Countyís Museum of Science and Industry. After paring back its operations, the museum posted a small profit over the past year, enabling the attraction to keep its doors open a...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Times recommends: McClure for Florida House District 58

Times recommends: McClure for Florida House District 58

Voters in Temple Terrace, Plant City and Thonotosassa have an easy choice in the Dec. 19 special election to replace state Rep. Dan Raulerson, who resigned for health reasons. Republican Lawrence McClure is the only credible candidate.McClure, 30, ow...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17