Citizens slam Hillsborough’s Pet Resource Center during county meeting

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Hillsborough County commissioners congratulated Pet Resource Center director Scott Trebatoski, who was recognized on a national level for his innovative programs to make a difference in the lives of homeless animals.

The Maddie’s Fund, a private family foundation that promotes a no-kill mission, named Trebatoski a “Top Dog” and awarded the PRC a $10,000 grant. “This is really a community recognition for a lot of years of hard effort and the culmination in the last couple of years of making some big changes,” Trebatoski said.

Then the public got its chance to put frosting on the cake.

“It is filthy, and the smell is beyond awful,” Amy Howland of Dogma Pet Rescue told commissioners. “The worst part is the dogs are sick. You are going back to having a sick shelter.”

Natalie Napolitano fosters and adopts pets from the PTC.  “It is cosmetic, very cosmetic. But when you walk through it, you see animals sitting in their own feces; it is alarming,” Napolitano told commissioners.

8 On Your Side has been investigating activity at  the Pet Resource Center.

In addition, the PRC has allowed convicted felons with violent pasts to adopt animals. The agency performs little to no background checks on adopters before letting them take animals home. “Dogs are being returned; animals are being returned within 24 hours. To me that’s just not acceptable,” Napolitano told commissioners.

Our investigation also found cockfighting roosters were euthanized in an improper manner by the county. 

Furthermore, some feral cats suffered gruesome deaths after they were released into the wild shortly after surgery.

Now veterinarian Ellen Alence charges the PRC does not know which rabies tag numbers are assigned to which animal. Alence also said renewal notices are not going out.

“I’m here today to make sure that all county commissioners are aware the county is in violation of state law,” Dr. Alence said.

She said not being able to tell which tag belongs to which animal is similar to the Department of Motor Vehicles not keeping track of license plates. The license and rabies tag program is the responsibility of the director of the PRC, Dr. Alence said.

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