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Published Apr. 8, 2014

A veterinarian at the Hillsborough County animal shelter has been placed on administrative leave after doing nothing for a female dog in distressed labor. The dog's newborn puppy later died, and the mother was euthanized due to her poor condition.

According to a county statement, a Hillsborough animal safety officer on Saturday brought the pregnant dog to the shelter, telling the staff that it appeared to be in distressed labor. The on-duty veterinarian was told of the animal's condition but took no action. On Sunday morning, a worker discovered that a puppy had been born but died. A veterinarian authorized the mother dog to be put down.

"Hillsborough County Animal Services takes these matters very seriously, and once fully investigated, appropriate action will be taken," the statement said.

Hillsborough has been trying to revamp operations at its animal shelter, in recent years the subject of complaints and criticism from local animal advocates over its handling of dogs and cats.

The county recently hired Scott Trebatoski, credited with overhauling the city of Jacksonville's shelter, to run Hillsborough's department.