Target 8: Wrong dog killed at Hillsborough shelter, local rescue group claims county withheld records

Loki the dog.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A local rescue organization is accusing the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center of withholding records about a dog that the county euthanized by mistake.

Did the county come clean or hide the dirty details?

What happened that day in October at P.R.C. is becoming more clear. Employees made glaring errors that led to the dog’s death.

The burning issue is why the county didn’t turn over records admitting its blunder.

The county contends it didn’t provide records because its investigation into the incident was ongoing.

Records show it knew of this stumble right away.

The P.R.C euthanized a dog named Loki by mistake.

Mistakes happen.

“To try and hide it is just unacceptable,” said Tamar Barry of Rescue Me Tampa.

County records show P.R.C. employees Christa Lepisto and Charlene Frederick didn’t check Loki’s kennel number to make sure he was the dog to be euthanized.

Read: Investigation by county PRC into mistaken euthanasia of Loki

Barry wondered why Loki disappeared from P.R.C. kennel records in early October.

In an email, P.R.C. director Scott Trebatoski responded the dog was euthanized. He provided no reason.

“Why was he euthanized? They would never answer that, so when we sent a public records request, it should’ve been in there. That’s part of his record, they purposely withheld that,” charges Barry.

Deputy County Administrator Gregory Horwedel said if dog is accidentally euthanized, it should be noted in the animal’s record.

It wasn’t provided to Rescue Me Tampa. Did P.R.C. withhold records?

“I don’t believe that’s the case. I’ll be happy to provide you whatever we have in our file,” said Horwedel.

An October 28th email by Scott Trebatoski says P.R.C. euthanized the dog. The only mistake he admits, is the date “was not put in the computer correctly.”

Read: Memo to BOCC regarding Loki, related emails, TV coverage

At the same time, two employees were being disciplined for their errors.

Records show management knew about the bad kill on October 6.

“How do you withhold public information from the people who own that?” asked Barry.

“If it is intentional then there would be discipline administered,” explained Horwedel. “I don’t know the circumstances of the case that you were talking about, but I will find out.”

In a letter to county commissioners on Thursday, P.R.C. director Trebatoski wrote that management’s investigation was not provided nor were the disciplinary actions, because it was all ongoing at the time of the request and Rescue Me Tampa didn’t directly ask for them.

If you have a problem that you think should be investigated, call our Target 8 Helpline at 1-800-338-0808. Contact Steve Andrews at sandrews@wfla.com.

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