BROOKSVILLE, Fla. - It's happened again. Another canine confusion case has led to another dog dying too soon at the Hernando County Animal Services Center in Brooksville.
Back on September 7, a dog surrendered by its owners was scheduled to be euthanized. Instead, another similarly-marked canine was killed, just days after being found as a stray.
It was another black eye for the county shelter, coming just months after a dog named Zeus was put down just hours after being brought to the shelter.
"We seriously need to get the ship in order and get these problems resolved once and for all," said County Public Information Officer Brenda Frazier.
And so the county is taking the unusual step of clearing the plate of the man charged with all of the Public Safety issues for Hernando County, and placing him solely in charge of the Animal Services situation.
Mike Nickerson is -- in a way of speaking, as of today -- going to the dogs and cats, until the mess here is cleaned up.
"He's pretty focused right now," said Frazier. "I mean he's been given that task, that assignment and that is completely what he is focusing on right now. "So," I asked. "no time to do interviews or that sort of thing?"
"No, he's going to be too busy."
I wanted to ask him about the lack of confidence some animals lovers have mentioned in the wake of these canine confusion cases -- the ones that had Humane Society members so concerned.
"It's more of the same," said Humane Society Director Joanne Schoch. "I feel that administration is placating and pandering to those of us who care."
Schoch says she's happy that there's been such a swift reaction to the latest gaffe, and recommendations to further fix the shortcomings. But she's dubious the dogs and cats will benefit from the latest management shift.
"He's a fire chief," she said. "And I'm sure he's very good at what he was trained to do, but he was trained to be a fire chief."
As for the timeline for these improvements, the start date is immediately, and the expected conclusion ASAP. It's clear the former Fire Chief is still on the hot seat.