Stray dog returned back to abusive owners

On June 29, 2018, a stray, female dog showed up outside a home in Plant City, Florida.  When resident “Danielle” first saw the dog, she was walking along the fence line trying to come in. Danielle’s boyfriend, Scott was hesitant at first to let her in but could tell she was stressed and injured.  When looking at her more closely, they both noticed there were fresh puncture wounds on the dog’s face, mainly near her ears and jaw. There were other puncture wounds and lacerations in various stages of healing on her body along with some older scars.

It was disturbing to see so many injuries on a dog that was only approximately two years old. What was done to her?

These injuries strongly suggested this poor girl may have been used as a bait dog for fighting.  In addition to the multiple wounds, the dog’s nails were horribly overgrown, and she appeared to have given birth within the past six months.  Equally disturbing as the injuries, was the heavy collar that was placed around her neck. It was thick and heavy and had a two-pound buckle on the end.  It was on so tight, it took two people to get it off her. This was not someone’s beloved companion animal; this was a dog who had been abused for a long time and used for breeding.

Danielle and Scott notified the local police to report a case of obvious animal abuse. The police in turn referred them to animal control. Hillsborough County Animal Control did not respond for several hours. During that time Danielle and Scott bonded with the dog whom they named Nina.  Nina was very meek and submissive; indicative of a dog who has been abused.

Danielle and Scott were worried about letting her go to animal control, but they wanted to do the right thing and follow protocol and make sure Nina’s abuse was investigated and her wounds assessed and treated by a vet. They also wanted to legally adopt her.The next day, they filed the paperwork to adopt her and assumed she would be coming back home to them after she was spayed and treated for her injuries.

Unfortunately, Hillsborough Animal Pet Resource Center proved to be very lax in their follow through and handling of Nina’s case. They never launched an investigation into her injuries and actually turned Nina back over to her original owners.

Apparently, the original owners showed up looking for her with a photo to prove ownership since there was no tag or chip.  They also gave three different versions as to why she had so many wounds on her body. They said it was because she was a hunting dog, the injuries must have happened when the dog ran away (although many were quite old) and third, injuries were already there from a previous owner. Hillsborough still turned her over to them even with all the suspicions and the inconsistent answers as to how Nina was injured.

When Danielle heard of this, she was highly upset. She contacted the supervisor who promised to start an abuse investigation, but that did not happen. When Danielle called again, promises were made to send someone to check on the well being of the dog and her surroundings; that also did not happen. Then another officer promised to go out there, still nothing.

On July 6 2018 Danielle placed another call to Hillsborough County and was told an officer had been dispatched to the house but no one was home.  This writer also called Hillsborough County on July 6 and was told the call was dispatched, but there were no updates or information on an outcome.

As the days continue to pass, it is unknown what is happening to Nina. Is she back on a tether? Is she being abused? Are there other dogs on the property also suffering abuse? Is something bigger going on at the home such as dog fighting? No one will know until Hillsborough Animal Pet Resource Center takes this complaint seriously and sends someone out there.

County animal shelters need to vet people more thoroughly before handing a dog or cat over to them. We all know they are inundated daily with unwanted animals coming through their doors and are trying to move animals out quickly to maintain a high number of live releases. However, it is doing a huge disservice to the animal to send them from the shelter into a violent, abusive environment.

Danielle and Scott followed the correct protocol because they wanted to do the right thing for Nina, but the system failed them and Nina miserably. To speak for Nina and urge Hillsborough County to follow through on Nina’s case, please call the shelter at 813-744-5660 and refer to case number 18-092069.

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21 replies
  1. Tracy Whitcomb says:

    WTF!!!! Those people are so fucking stupid. They need to get off their asses and go check on her and take her away from those abusers and give her a family that really loves her. GET OFF YOUR ASSES AND GO SAVE HER!!!!!


      I totally agree with you. you could take a person who is deaf, can’t talk, and blind and I am sure they would indicate that this poor animal has been very badly abused. what the hell. is wrong with those shelter people, no commonsense, poor dog,

  2. Lisa A says:

    I called the number listed and stated the investigation should continue and this poor dog should be able to be adopted by Nina. Clearly this dog is abused and needs to be out of current home.

  3. Kathy Colbert says:

    What kind of people work at this animal control!? To return an obviously abused dog back to the people who “possibly” abused her is just plain stupid! They should have questioned the owners more thoroughly and followed through with an investigation. All the idiots that work there need to be fired and get some people who care about the well being of animals in there! I hope Nina is ok and can go to the couple who found her when she is found again!

  4. pennysdachshunds says:

    Danielle & Scott NEED to contact a Representative for the State of Florida in the area along with the County Commissioner , As this So Called Animal Shelter is “STICKING the MIDDLE FINGER IN THE AIR” about the lack of Responsibility They taking in the Seriousness of The Multitude of Injuries and the Amount of Lying by the So -called Owners… Florida is a Hell-Hole for the Animals Population!!! The director of this Shelter is probably pulling in a Pretty Damn sizeable Salary for “A JOB NOT DONE” !!

    • Scott says:

      The County Commissioner has been contacted. I was told the office would have the Pet Resource Center follow up with me.
      Waste of time….

    • susispot says:

      I think it would be very effective if they hear from those of us that are scattered across the country. Show them how far this article has traveled and how horrible they are for letting this dog go back to an obviously abusive situation. I plan to call from AZ.

  5. Red says:

    I swear people who are HIRED to help animals….and don’t should be fired!! This poor couple, tried to do the right thing and were shut down. Now they KNOW the sweet dog they found has been returned to monsters who are probably doing WORSE things now for her escaping them!
    Plant City Florida animal services should be ASHAMED, reprimanded or fired!

  6. Adrienne says:

    Danielle & Scott need to continue to get this case investigated and find Nina and have her removed from a place that obviously uses her for breeding and as a bait dog too. Are the authorities on the take for these dog fighting rings and that is why nothing is happening? Then need to contact a local or even state politician and get something done. They did the right thing, but these animal agency just gave her to anyone who said they owned her. Pray they get Nina back before it is too late.

  7. Mary Ann Clark says:

    This is disgusting ! None of the officials who allowed this poor dog to be returned to her abusers should ever be free again! Shame on you horrible excuses for public officials! If I were your child I would hate you forever!

  8. Barkley's Mom says:

    Hillsborough Animal Pet Resource Center needs to be shut down, If this is how they investigate such abuse then they have no business being open. Why they would hand over this abused dog back to the abusers is anyone’s guess, their phony stories about what happened to the dog should have been a red flag waving! I hope Danielle and Scott are able to get some justice for Nina, how heartbroken they must be.

  9. Nancy Raymond says:

    What the fuck is wrong with these two facilities that are supposed to protect animals?? Neither one of them has done one thing for this poor dog who was obviously used as bait by some maggot shit dogfighters and yet she was returned to them so they could continue to abuse her. Hillsborough Pet Resource Center and animal control of Plant City have proven themselves to be useless wastes – this dog should NEVER have been given back – they fell down on the job or are too irresponsible and/or incompetent to be anywhere near an animal. I applaud Danielle and Scott for stepping up for this poor dog whose future is probably horrific thanks to those who did NOTHING for her. Pitiful example of humans are supposed to care for animals.


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