Report claims Brevard County Animal Services caused deadly fights

Audit reveals test to see if dogs like cats

TITUSVILLE, Fla. – A just-completed audit accuses Brevard County Animal Services of causing deadly dog and cat fights within the walls of its two shelters.

The audit, conducted in March by the Brevard County Clerk of the Circuit Court, examined seven areas of the department's operations: data management, animal care, animal enforcement, financial management, workforce management, facilities and mission and strategies.

The animal care section addressed non-standard euthanizing techniques and animal behavior tests.

In one finding, auditors found a dog had been tested to see if it liked cats or not. It was a test that ended with both the dog and cat being euthanized.

"During the test, the dog attacked a cat and caused such harm that the cat had to be euthanized," the audit reads. "The dog was then euthanized on account of its own behavior."

"It made me mad," said animal advocate Debbie Rich. "There's no reason to do that. A normal human being with any common sense would not do that."

Scott Ellis, Clerk of the Circuit Court, said he gave Brevard County's Board of County Commissioners several opportunities to respond to all 51 pages of the audit.

After three months of hearing nothing, he decided to make it available to the public.

However, County Manager Stockton Whitten responded to Local 6.

"This is a report that appears to be a compilation of personal opinions on how Brevard County Animal Services and Enforcement is to be operated," Whitten wrote in an email to Local 6. "As you know, the Brevard County Sheriff's Office will take over operations of Animal Services effective Oct. 1, 2014. Where there are valid issues indicated in this audit, we will work with the Sheriff's Office prior to Oct. 1 to address these issues."

Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey has already started helping the department. After hearing the shelters were running low on people to help walk the dogs, he sent jail inmates to help walk them.

Click here to read the entire audit of Brevard County Animal Services.

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