News and Announcements

Citrus County Animal Services to Resume Normal Shelter Operations

Category: Press Releases       Posted By: Denise Gallagher       Year: 2018

Citrus County Animal Services will resume normal shelter operations at 10a.m. on Tuesday, February 6, 2018. The last round of laboratory tests results showed no new animals have been infected with the bacterium, which resulted in the temporary closure of the shelter. After working with, and following recommendations from, veterinarians with the University of Florida’s Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program, we all feel it is safe to resume normal operations and begin transitioning animals out of the shelter into their new forever homes.

The Citrus County Animal Shelter was recently closed in response to an infection from a bacterium known as Streptococcus Equi Zooepidemicus (also known as Strep Zoo).  This bacterium is normally found in horses, but many animals can be carriers and show no signs of illness.

At the shelter, three dogs suddenly became extremely ill. Staff immediately isolated these dogs, and then proceeded to lock down the kennels. Laboratory samples were collected and sent for testing to determine what infectious agent we were dealing with.  Even before the results were back, we were in contact with UF Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program and began consultation with Dr. Cynda Crawford, a lead researcher in infectious disease, along with Dr. Sarah Kirk.  Any animals brought in by Animal Control were isolated in a separate building, away from the main population.

Our veterinarians and managing staff have been working everyday with Drs. Crawford and Kirk since the beginning in order to help contain the disease and ensure that the population of our shelter (dogs, cats, assorted critters, and its humans) was as safe as it could be. Many precautions were taken, which included calling anyone who had fostered or adopted an animal from us within the previous three weeks to keep them informed and to check on their well-being.

The good news, while Strep Zoo is highly contagious, it is easily treated with the right antibiotics.  All animals in our shelter were given an injection of Convenia, an antibiotic injection that lasts for two weeks.  Any cats or dogs that had even minor symptoms like sneezing or coughing were also started on additional oral antibiotics. Extensive testing has been done over the last few weeks following closure, and all testing has since been negative for Strep Zoo. Our dogs and cats have all been doing well, and are ready to find their forever homes!

A special Thanks to the UF Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program, Florida SARC, Dept. of Agriculture, ESF-17, Animal Control, Volunteers and Staff for all of their hard work and dedication to caring for animals in need. A big “THANK YOU” also goes out to all those individuals who have supported and/or donated to the shelter. With your support, we were able to save more animals’ lives.

Morgan A. Woodward

Animal Services Director

The BOCC Proclaims Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Citrus County

Category: Press Releases       Posted By: Denise Gallagher       Year: 2018

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The Board of County Commissioners is pictured with representatives of the Tri-County Human Trafficking Response Team

The Citrus County Board of County Commissioners presented a Proclamation at their regular meeting on January 23, 2018 proclaiming January as Citrus County Human Trafficking Awareness Month.  

Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery and is a crime against humanity that violates the most basic human rights. Florida is one of the states with the highest call volume to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. Human trafficking occurs when an adult or child is recruited, harbored, obtained, or exported through force, fraud or coercion for the purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labor, involuntary servitude, debt bondage and other methods of slavery.

Traffickers find their victims through social networks, in neighborhoods, clubs, the internet and our schools. The Tri-County Human Trafficking Response Team and our local community unites to combat this modern day slavery and brings together non-profits, government, and private sector businesses in prevention, prosecution, education and awareness efforts to restore freedom and dignity to survivors.

The Board of County Commissioners recognizes January 2018 as Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Citrus County and calls the observance to the attention of all citizens.

40 Smoke Alarms in 4 Hours!

Category: Press Releases       Posted By: Denise Gallagher       Year: 2018

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Caption for Photo: from left to right: Deputy Chief Martin Giles, Jose Bueno with the Red Cross, Fire Marshal Paul Gallium, Fire Chief Craig Stevens, Station 20 Pine Ridge Driver Engineer Elliot Nieves, and Station 20 Pine Ridge Captain Lance Potter

On Saturday, January 28, 2018, Citrus County Fire Rescue Fire Marshall Paul Gillum, Fire Chief Craig Stevens, Deputy Chief Martin Giles and the crew from Station 20 (Pine Ridge) installed smoke alarms in partnership with the Red Cross in the Beverly Hills area. There were forty smoke alarms installed in Beverly Hills homes that day in just four hours! Wow, great job everyone!

Citizen Input Needed on Bikeways and Trails Master Plan

Category: Press Releases       Posted By: Denise Gallagher       Year: 2018

The Hernando/Citrus Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is in the process of developing its first ever Bikeways and Trails Master Plan to guide the evolution of the trails and active transportation network in Hernando and Citrus Counties. 

We need your input!  There are two upcoming workshops scheduled and web-based tools in place to help gather information to formalize the vision and identify projects for more walkable and bikeable communities.

You can also visit the Hernando Citrus Bike trail master plan website at http://hernandocitrusbiketrailplan.com to monitor project progress, review project materials and get information about upcoming meetings and other ways to get involved.  Thank you for your participation!  Please contact Steve Diez (stevend@hernandocounty.us) or Carlene Riecss (criecss@hernandocounty.us) at 352-754-4082 for more information.

Child Advocate Volunteers Sought for Guardian ad Litem Program

Category: Press Releases       Posted By: Denise Gallagher       Year: 2018

The Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program is currently seeking volunteers to be a voice for abused, neglected or abandoned children whose cases are in the court system.

The Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program is a State and County funded volunteer based organization that trains lay persons, to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children.  It exists throughout the nation and all 67 Florida counties.

Volunteers work as a part of a team.  They are assigned to a human service supervisor and attorney.  They gather information needed to make sound, commonsense recommendations to the court.  Although the child’s safety is priority one, volunteers must consider the importance of familial connections, friendships and the child’s wishes and desires. 

Independent research has shown that children with a GAL volunteer are substantially less likely to spend time in long-term foster care and reenter care.  Children, who have exited the dependency system, often say that were it not for their GAL, they don’t know how they would have made it through such a traumatic experience.

At present, more than 2,100 children are part of the Dependency Court System in the 5th Circuit which includes Marion, Lake, Hernando, Citrus and Sumter counties.  Regrettably, due to the lack of volunteers, not all of these children receive our services.  

If you are interested in making this cause, your cause, become a Guardian ad Litem volunteer.   Contact Diana Hollwedel at 352-812-6971 or e-mail her at diana.hollwedel@gal.fl.gov.  A free volunteer training will be held March 8 through the 10  in Weeki Wachee, Florida .  Pre-registration is necessary as space is limited. To learn more about the Guardian ad Litem Program visit www.guardianadlitem.org.

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