Animal activists continue to hound Sumter County commissioners 


Animal activists were back before the Sumter County Board Tuesday night, pressing their demand that the county make its animal shelter “no kill.”

Commissioners and County Administrator Bradley Arnold defended the county operation and disputed some claims raised by the activists.

The Sheriff’s Office is investigating claims of legal violations in the way animals have been treated and euthanized at the shelter.

Nearly three years ago, the county began a partnership with the Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter County to find people to adopt more of the strays or lost pets handled by animal services.

Of 244 animals brought to the animal services shelter in August, 82 were euthanized and six died in the kennel, according to the latest animal services report.

In a report to the board, Arnold presented a 14-point rebuttal to many of the activists’ claims.

He said there is no evidence that non-certified employees are administering euthanasia. A claim that a horse held by the county died after eating moldy hay also is unsubstantiated, according to Arnold.

The county administrator said access and photos are allowed in the shelter, but visitors must be escorted and priority is given to people coming to reclaim their pets.

Volunteers are not permitted, Arnold said, because some animals are aggressive, sick or part of criminal investigations.

The amount of time for people to reclaim lost pets has been extended to five days whether or not the pets have identification, he said.

Arnold said animal services is working on a program to reduce the number of euthanized feral cats by trapping them, spaying or neutering them and returning them to their neighborhoods. Jacksonville has a similar program.

But Arnold’s explanations did not satisfy the activists.

Karen Taylor of Webster, a humane society volunteer, said the number of animals euthanized has spiked since May.

“Something needs to change,” she said. “Too many animals are dying.”

Angie Fox of Lost Pets of The Villages said it may be easier to visit a prisoner on Death Row than try to see animals in the county shelter.

“All you have to do is stop killing our pets and we’ll go away,” she said.

Oren Miller of The Villages said commissioners should sponsor a referendum next year to see how many residents want a no-kill shelter.

He said Lake County is among the Florida communities with a no-kill shelter.

“If Lake County can do it, Sumter County can, too,” he said.

Commissioner Steve Printz told the activists that the county’s goals are similar to theirs, but the county can’t do everything.

“Everything you’ve talked about is eminently doable through our partnership with the humane society,” he said. “The only thing we differ on is who does it and how it is done. Don’t expect the county to do it all.”

Board Chairman Doug Gilpin said his most important concern is that the county follows the statutes.

“It’s a tough job that animal control people have,” he said.


  1. No, sorry. We want to volunteer to help animals become adoptable. We want to assist those who feed, water and exercise the dogs and pet the cats who need handling to become friendly and loving. Sumter County has no shelter for lost or unwanted pets. It is a place of death and poor record keeping of those who come in. If there is no record, they weren’t there, now were they?? They lie to people who hope they will help adopt out their pet when the owner is too ill to take care of their pet. Those pets are killed the same day and the report then states they had to because the shelter had no empty kennels, which is a lie as most of the time, half of the kennels are empty. We want the truth. We want to help animals get taken care of if they are sick or hurt. Don’t use the sick or hurt diagnosis from an uncertified, unqualified to be a vet animal control employee to be the reason they have to die. This is so stinking awful and when you cannot get a straight answer or reply to an email or letter….what are they hiding? Open up, let us help! Stop killing them and we will go away! Some animals are for food. I am glad they are. And some people are moving out pets as fast as can be done to other shelters who will not kill them. I have given to those kinds of shelters and rescues. I have pets, too. We always had a cat in the house since the kids were little and now they are grown and have their own pets. No-kill shelters can save the county money and it has been proven and a fact. Lake County does it. And if I meet someone homeless who needs food, water, I do that. I have done other things as well but it is not for glory or recognition. It is because they are ‘the least of these, my brothers’. Democrats love to say they care, but what do they give? They gave opinions, hashtags, and posts saying they care. Ever taken in a homeless person? How many hours per month are you a volunteer anything? This is not the only issue I have with our commissioners. There are more issues that will be exposed to light up this corrupt bunch. Wait and see.

    • Just another right wing nut job trying to blame Democrats for all the ills of the world.

      You should maybe go check out what party your commissioners are in – hint- it’s not Democrat.

      If you would learn to write in clear, coherent sentences, you might be able to get something done. Thank God for Angie Fox – you should get out of her way and let her do her thing.

      • Right on LiZa. I’d prefer to say the greatness of a nation can be judged by how it’s children are treated. By the way, India worships cows, snakes, elephants, even insects, oh yes let’s not forget rats as well. It’s fair to say in many places Indians treat animals better than humans. The quote is pathetic at best and typically used by PETA nazis.

  2. Next these activists will be out to protect cows and pigs because people kill and eat them and we use them for food. I got news for these activists, dogs and cats are foods as well in certain parts of the world. Why don’t they go there to protect them. If people followed the rules, registered their “pets” and got them tags for their collars then animal control would be able to return them to their owners. The people at animal control need to be left alone to do their jobs, as long as they don’t break any laws. Let’s not forget their are people out there that abandon their pets when they get tired of them or when they move. Why should the taxpayers foot the bill to have animals fixed or kept in a kennel for who knows how long to make a few puplicity hounds happy. Go out and take care of homeless and starving PEOPLE if you have nothing better to do and you want your name in the news. That’s my opinion and if you don’t like it, tuff.