Orange County Animal Shelter officials unveiled a new strategy on Tuesday that aimed at preventing problems that have plagued the agency.
Appearing before a public hearing at the Orange County Animal Services Advisory Board, Dr. George Ralls mapped out short-term and long-term goals for the organization.
Short-term goals include requiring three people approve euthanasia for any animal in animal services care, the implementation of colored collars indicating which animals are about to be adopted and adding two more veterinarians to their staff of one.
The proposal comes after a pit-bull named Hershey was put to sleep as his new adoptive family waited for him in the waiting room. In addition, a dog's eyelids were cut off by an animal services groomer and rescue groups cried foul over the lack of structure in coordinating animal pick-ups.
"Mayor Teresa Jacobs fully backs these proposals," Ralls said.
A long term proposal would move Orange County Animal Services' shelter to a different location on the current property to make it more visible from the traffic traveling near the Mall at Millenia. Any decision on that is still about a year away, he said.
Editors note: After this aired on Local 6, Orange County spokeswoman Laureen Martinez provided the following statement from Megann Kostelny, a county veterinarian who examined Chance, the dog mentioned in the story with damaged eyelids.
"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 in May, 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.