Whatever his leadership skills, Ian Hallett became a lightning rod as director of Hillsborough County's animal shelter, and his ouster Monday should return the focus to where it belongs: improving the lives of unwanted animals.
Hallett was transferred to the parks department after months of discord within animal services and problems with sick animals at the shelter. The trouble followed a significant policy shift under his watch that called for dramatically reducing the kill rate of dogs and cats at the shelter, and for retooling the county's management of strays to more effectively control that population.
Some animal welfare activists opposed the new approach, and some simply chafed at Hallett, whose outside hiring and poor communication skills fueled his critics. It's worth remembering, though, that in barely one year in the job Hallett drove down the number of animals euthanized by 9 percent while placing 38 percent more into homes. This strategy is working.
Moving Hallett out was practical move, and what matters most is maintaining the new mission of animal services. His leaving shifts the focus away from power struggles and personalities and back toward results, where it should have been all along.