Hillsborough County wants fewer animals euthanized

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. - Hillsborough County is stepping up efforts to give animals a new lease on life.  The man in charge of that push hopes to reduce the number of animals being put down each year.

Hillsborough County Animal Services Director Ian Hallett says marketing is key to getting people to come to his facility. He came to the Tampa area a couple months ago, from Austin, Texas, where he to brought the number of animals being put down to 10%.

Hallett said, "A lot of people know about our animal control functions, but they don't know that we adopt animals out of here and I believe there are enough homes in Hillsborough County for all these animals here."

Right now, 65% of dogs and cats here are euthanized. That's 14,000 animals per year. Another way Hallet plans to reduce those numbers is by changing hours of operation. The facility is now open from 10 am to 7 pm, everyday.

Hallett said, "These days, both heads of households are working and the kids are in school or daycare until five and by the time six o'clock comes, you can just get here and there's no time to look for animals."

That's 350 animals on any given day. The final part of the plan to find them homes is bringing in more volunteers. Hallett said, "Maybe people who do sales. People who love working with other people. People who do marketing. Just come down here and if you spent two hours a week here, it would make a huge difference."

Hallet tells me the department doesn't have an official Facebook page. He plans on creating one soon along with a Twitter account and eventually putting up billboards around the area.

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