Animal abuse allegations surface against Orange County Animal Services

Advisory panel recommends changes to agency after alleged accident

Author: Erik Sandoval, Reporter, esandoval@wkmg.com
Published On: Aug 23 2013 05:57:02 PM EDT   Updated On: Sep 30 2013 01:34:14 PM EDT
ORLANDO, Fla. -

A member of the advisory panel that oversees Orange County Animal Services is recommending major changes to the agency after another alleged accident involving an animal has surfaced.

Debbie Turner showed Local 6 a picture of a small dog that had its eyelids cut off while being groomed at the facility in Orlando.

Orange County Animal Services spokeswoman Diane Summers says the dog was brought in as a stray with its fur matted and tangled.

"Facial features were indistinguishable under the mats and filth," she said in a statement.

A groomer cutting the fur cut the dogs eyelids off with it.

"The dog received proper veterinary care throughout his time with us," Summers said.

"It's hard to talk about the picture (of the dog) without being emotional," said Turner.

The image shows the dog with its eyes bulging out of its sockets. It was turned over to an animal rescue group two days after the incident in the same condition.

"It's incomprehensible that anyone would do that to any animal, and even if they did, for God's sake, don't make it sit there and wait for medical care," Turner said.

After this incident and a dog accidentally being euthanized earlier this week, Turner and other members of her advisory group will demand change at the Orange County Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday morning.

"I believe the management has become desensitized to the amount of pain and suffering going on," she said. "I think they handle so many animals they're overwhelmed, and they're doing the best they can."

Editors note: This report aired on Local 6 on Aug. 23. On September 18, Orange County spokeswoman Laureen Martinez provided the following statement from Megann Kostelny, a county veterinarian who examined Chance.

"During my employment at Orange County Animal Services (OCAS), I examined a male shih tzu (Animal ID 263544) that had injuries to the eyes.  There were no discernable eyelid margins and there were several evenly spaced perforations in the skin around the outside of the eye.  The uniformity of these holes is indicative of a medical procedure used to treat various eye conditions.  In this case, the dog may not have received the appropriate follow up care.  The edges of the skin were healed and no active bleeding was noted at the time of the exam.  Pus was present on the inside of the right eyeball which had a dried appearance.   The whites of the eyes were exposed and blood shot.  Regardless of the cause, the condition of the dog’s eyes was not suggestive of a recent event.  In my opinion, this condition could not have resulted during the time that the dog was at OCAS."

After being adopted out to a rescue group, Chance was also examined by a Robert Stottlemyer, a veterinarian at All Creatures Animal Hospital in Lutz, Fl. In his physical exam report, Stottlemyer indicated that Chance had "eyelid defects... suspect to mat removal."

The rescue group contends the eyelid damage happened as a result of the grooming at the Orange County facility. Orange County officials say the damage existed prior to the grooming.