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Cat that was tortured is put to death

PINELLAS

A gray tabby cat that had been found burned over more than 90 percent of its body was destroyed Tuesday. Veterinarian Alvin Dale of Lake Seminole Animal Hospital had attempted to save the animal Monday by placing protective wraps on its body and by injecting it with antibiotics. Most of the cat's body, except its face, had been burned. Dale had given it about a 50 percent chance of survival. The animal-torture incident is believed to be the first in Pinellas County in recent months, but in Hillsborough County three teen-agers were arrested last month and charged with mutilating and setting cats on fire.

Consolidate and save,

county consultants say

CLEARWATER _ Pinellas County taxpayers could save $20.3-million each year _ that's dinner out for every household in the county _ by consolidating some government services, a consultant reported Tuesday. Some of the recommendations contained in the Pinellas County Government Services Improvement Study likely will meet with little resistence, such as standardizing the forms builders must fill out in order to get a permit. But taxpayers and some government officials may find some of the recommendations a little hard to swallow. MGT of America, which spearheaded the consolidation report for the County Commission, recommends abolishing the Pinellas Planning Council, which coordinates land use planning, consolidating some police departments and creating a single fire district. There are currently 26 separate authorities. The report will go to the Charter Review Commission, which meets every six years to suggest changes to the County Charter.

Cameras monitor

county jail areas

Corrections officers and inmates in the booking and holding areas of the Pinellas County Jail now are constantly monitored by newly installed video cameras. "We've had a couple of incidents back-to-back that led to re-examination of policies and monitoring techniques," said Marianne Pasha, spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office. Investigators already are reviewing videotapes of the search of an inmate Feb. 3 who was found later with a gun in his cell, Pasha said. The investigations of at least two other incidents at the jail last year may have benefited from such videotapes. John Thomas Brundage, 52, of Largo, died in his medical wing cell Sept. 9 after a violent struggle with deputies. Brundage's death is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. The other investigation involved Robert Floyd, who alleged he was beaten by corrections officers in a booking cell after his arrest Sept. 13. Investigators concluded Floyd was struck but the force was necessary because he was struggling violently.

HILLSBOROUGH

Money for river, bay

spent elsewhere by state

TAMPA _ To cover budget shortfalls, the state defied a 1989 court order and spent nearly $400,000 that was intended to environmentally improve Tampa Bay and the Alafia River. Officials at the state Department of Environmental Regulation (DER) said Tuesday they forgot the money's use was restricted and didn't realize their error until months after the state spent the money. The $391,126 was interest accrued from a $1.5-million fund created by a legal settlement over an acid spill into the Alafia. Cargill Fertilizer Inc., then known as Gardinier Co. spilled 28,000 gallons of phosphoric acid into the river, killing millions of fish. Now DER is trying to recoup the money from the state Comptroller's Office, which took it with DER's consent in June. But DER's chief attorney acknowledged that in light of the state's continuing budget woes the effort probably will fail. "Somebody's going to be hurt somewhere," said the attorney, Dan Thompson. "The question is whether it's going to be DER, the fund or someone else in state government." Officials at the comptroller's office familiar with the situation could not be reached for comment.

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