HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL (WFLA) – Kenny Bell is tied to one of the most hideous cases of animal abuse in recent Hillsborough County memory. He and his brother Darnell Devlin pleaded guilty to running a dogfighting ring.
When one of the animals wouldn’t fight, they told two teens to get rid of her. They ended up shooting her, tying the dog to railroad tracks and shooting her again. Tampa police rescued the dog and named her Cabela. A judge later said that those involved in the torture of Cabela may not care for or own animals. Yet they do not appear on the county’s enjoinment list, a list of people like Bell, who by order of a judge may not own animals. It is maintained by the Hillsborough County Pet Resources Center, and at times neglected. Bell’s name is not on the list.
“That person could walk in and get a dog today,” said Amy Howland of Dogma Pet Rescue.
In fact, none of those involved in the torture of Cabela, are on that list.
“Horrifying,” she said. Amy Howland estimates Dogma has rescued more than 1,000 Hillsborough county dogs. They carefully monitor where and with whom these animals are placed. The county shelter, she contends, isn’t as particular.
“I don’t think they’re doing a very good job at all from what I’ve seen,” Amy added.
When it comes to the enjoinment list, the county isn’t doing a very good job either. In January, 8 On Your Side discovered the list had not been updated since 2014. At the time PRC director Scott Trebatoski explained the problem was due to a glitch. Now, in April, those tied to the Cabela crime are not tied to the enjoinment list. According to an email from county communications specialist:
“The list is written and maintained manually by Pet Resource Center staff, based on cases the Center has had direct involvement. In continuing its practice of taking the extra step against animal abuse, the County has been in communication with the State Attorney’s Office to explore opportunities to address any issues or gaps with the Enjoinment List.”
That according to Amy Howland won’t protect animals in the shelter from the likes of Kenny Bell and people with pasts like his. If the PRC isn’t going to do the job the right way, she is hoping county leadership holds the agency accountable.
“It comes from the top. It comes from Mike Merrill, it comes from our commissioners that we elect, and it’s really time for them to step up to the plate,” Amy explained.
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