Lake County animal shelter manager makes changes after scathing audit

Lake County Animal Services faced long list of problems

By Erik Sandoval - Reporter

TAVARES, Fla. - The manager of Lake County Animal Services says she has steered the organization into a new direction after a scathing internal audit uncovered a list of problems last year.

Cyndi Nason said she inherited all of the problems when she took over as the manager last April. The issues ranged from dogs and cats being identified as the wrong animal to the threat of disease spreading throughout the entire facility.

"Lots of changes have been made," Nason said.

One of the most stunning findings in the Lake County audit was about one of the workers. The audit found "the rescue coordinator is receiving monies in a personal capacity from rescue organizations."

Local 6 found out it's a practice banned at other local agencies. The worker has been reassigned.

"She's an animal control officer and she's a very good one," Nason said.

According to the audit, the worker, who wasn't identified, would personally accept money from rescue groups. The money was sometimes delivered to her home.

When the groups needed something done, she would act as the bank and pay animal services, according to the audit. The report shows thousands of dollars passed through her hands.

"It was a way for people to make some donations and to try to help us get the animals out quickly, but we've stopped that," Nason said.

Nason believes all of the money has been accounted for. As for the other problems, which included a software glitch that misplaced more than 1,000 animals, Nason told Local 6 she's pretty much tackled them all.

"The experience I had -- it was valuable, and I think we've come a long way," Nason said.

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