Embattled director Ian Hallett is out at Hillsborough County Animal Services. The county administrator made the announcement in a memo to the Board of County Commissioners on Monday.
The move does not surprise Commissioner Mark Sharpe.
"I think it was the right move. There is always the risk of more turmoil, but when you know you don't have the right leadership in place it's never good to hold on to that," offered Sharpe.
Animal advocates, like Art Fyvolent, also applaud the decision to make a change at the top.
"There are a lot of stakeholders when it comes to animals and it's important that they get buy-in from the staff to the rescue groups," said Fyvolent. "We weren't getting any cooperation from him or buy-in; he was doing everything by fiat."
While euthanasia rates went down under Hallett's watch, problems piled up even though the agency was given more money and resources. Those problems included viral outbreaks -- one of which resulted in a recent quarantine- - and the mistaken euthanasia of a German shepherd.
Dexter Barge, currently the director of code enforcement, will now also be the interim director of Animal Services.
"Our main concern in the animals and we all need to figure out how to come together for the good of our animals and the good of our community," Barge said.
Hallett will be transferred to a management position in Park Services and will continue to receive his six-figure salary.
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