The letter below was sent on August 15, 2011 to Mike Merrill, Hillsborough County Administrator to the Commissioners. As of December 5, 2011, there has been no response.
August 15, 2011
Mike Merrill Hillsborough County Administrator County Center, 26th Floor
601 E. Kennedy Blvd
Tampa, FL 33602
Dear Mr. Merrill:
We are very excited about the opportunity to hire a new Director of Animal
Services. As the co-founders of Animal Coalition of Tampa, Inc. (ACT), we have
been active in our community for many years. ACT has been one of the most focused non-profit community organizations devoted to reducing the overpopulation of dogs and cats in our community. We want you to know that we consider you and your Animal Services staff vital partners in the success of this mission.
We felt the need to write directly to you now that the search for a new Director
of Animal Services has been announced.
Such an important decision will bring with it a lot of public interest, especially since the person selected will have to gain the respect of county leaders, many animal advocates and the increasing number of citizens dedicated to saving the lives of healthy pets.
Simply put, Mr. Merrill, we believe the next Director of Animal Services will be the
key to our community’s successful implementation of a new national philosophy of
managing our pet population. Rather than current destruction practices of healthy animals, the implementation of the “No Kill Equation” will both reduce pet population, and also save county resources in the process. The cooperative efforts of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, ACT, Animal Advisory Committee (AAC), various rescue groups and other animal activists have reduced euthanasia rates in Hillsborough County and we are thankful for the progress made at Animal Services. However, we are convinced that without the support and commitment to the “No Kill Equation” goal by the new Animal Services Director, our community simply cannot achieve more than its current 30% live release rate.
The “No Kill Equation” has been successful in many areas across the country. Just last month, 400 animal advocates from 40 states and nine countries met in Washington, D.C. to listen to testimonials by directors of animal shelters that are saving 90% or more of all animals impounded. The conference focused on best-performing shelters and the case studies presented revealed the transformation of these shelters took place only after the hiring of an innovative leader with the vision to implement new progressive programs and a dedication to saving animals lives. These successful shelters include urban and rural areas, and northern, southern, eastern and western locations. We believe it is possible for our new Animal Services Director to present a similar testimonial about our successful implementation of the “No Kill” philosophy at a conference in the near future.
We are thankful that our local government has taken an interest in protecting our most at risk pet population and we want you to know that we are available to assist you and your staff in selecting the best person to lead the Animal Services Department into the future.
Thanks again for your continued support and interest in helping us protect our four-legged friends.
Linda Hamilton, Executive Director
Frank Hamilton, PhD, President