Dangerous Dog Situation Resolved After County Takes Action

Two Gulfport dogs were euthanized on the morning of Wednesday, February 15, by Pinellas County Animal Services after the animals had been officially declared dangerous and seized from their owner eight days ago.

On February 8, county officials personally served the owner, Juan Quevedo, 2609 Upton St. S., their “dangerous dog” decision with assistance from the Gulfport Police Department, said Police Chief Rob Vincent.

Quevedo had seven days to accept or appeal the county’s decision and he chose to surrender and give up ownership of the two dogs during the afternoon on the last day, February 14, said Pinellas County Animal Services Operations Director Doug Brightwell. “They have been euthanized because we cannot have dogs with an established history like that back out into the community.  The case is now closed.”

According to a timeline provided to the Gabber by the police department, the official paper trail concerning the two dogs named Tank and Zena began on December 31, 2015 with a warning by police who then reported the situation to Pinellas County Animal Services.

Over a period of months that extended to February 6, 2017, Quevedo was issued a total of eight citations that related to his dogs from both levels of law enforcement.

On February 7, during the city council meeting, Tiffany Taylor and other Gulfport residents expressed their feelings about the situation, and the police chief made a presentation about the law enforcement and documentation process making it clear that since the 1970s, the county has been the legal authority in charge of providing animal control in Gulfport.

It was determined that the county’s processes for enforcement and declaring an animal a dangerous dog needed further clarity.

The council then directed city staff to advise them about the best way to expedite communication with the county in this case. They also asked the staff to invite a county representative to a future meeting to explain their process for animal enforcement, especially with regard to the dangerous dog workflow.

“Once I got the confirmation [on February 8 that the two dogs had been declared dangerous and seized], I updated people on the [Gulfport] Crime Watch [Facebook] group and the sense of relief was just palpable in the community,” said Taylor. After the February 7 council meeting, City Manager Jim O’Reilly “obviously didn’t waste any time,” she said. “My next big thing is how do we prevent this from happening again.

“I love our city. I have lived here for 16 years and I have every faith in our council and leadership. It’s a sense of relief to have city management behind me” regarding the county’s animal control processes. “I’m not going to let this go.”

Pinellas County Animal Services Enforcement Manager Major James McGill is scheduled to speak and answer questions at the March 7 city council meeting, said O’Reilly.

For further information about the Pinellas County’s process for dangerous dogs, visit pinellascounty.org/animalservices/dangerous-dogs.htm.

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