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HCAS DVM Responds to “Niko’s” Story, Says “Concentrate on the Positive”

BROOKSVILLE – Last week, RNRF brought you Niko’s story; a near tragic tale a stray dog who was struck by a car, shot twice, paralyzed, and scheduled to be euthanized. CLICK HERE FOR ORIGINAL REPORT

SPCA Suncoast (Pasco County) contacted RNRF and asked us share Niko’s story, hoping to gain support from the community. Niko still needs surgery to repair his L7 vertebrae, which if successful, could allow Niko to walk again.

In the days following our report, Dr. Julie Rosenberger of Hernando County Animal Control contacted RNRF, to clarify what she says are some inaccuracies and tell her side of the Niko’s story.

According to Dr. Rosenberger, on Monday November 23rd, Animal Enforcement Officer Jennifer Elswick responded to a stray dog that had been injured by a hit and run driver.  Nearby residents comforted him and bundled him in a bed spread until she arrived.  Officer Elswick provided an accurate description of his injuries and condition and I instructed her to take him directly to the local emergency veterinary clinic.  Shortly thereafter, Niko was treated for shock and discomfort with fluids, pain medications, anti-inflammatories, and antibiotics at The Animal Emergency Clinic of Hernando.  Based on his presentation, it was suspected that he had injuries to his pelvis and hind limbs.  The emergency clinic stabilized and supported him and Animal Enforcement transported him to the shelter the following day.  Upon arrival, the pup was reluctant to move and was painful so medical staff administered additional pain medications, expressed his bladder, cushioned his bedding and minimized his movement.  “Unbelievably, throughout it all, he continued to wag his tail,” says Rosenberger. “Niko required diagnostics (like x-rays and bloodwork) and likely surgery, supportive care to eat and remain hydrated, and assistance with his urinations that we could not perform or intensively support for any length of time,” according to Rosenberger. Subsequently, on November 25th, Niko was released to SPCA Suncoast to further his treatment. By 4:00p.m., on the eve of Thanksgiving, Niko had x-rays and a diagnosis.  That’s also when it was discovered that Niko had evidence of past pellet shots, unrelated to the spinal column injury.

Rosenberger praised SPCA Suncoast and says “They are a valued rescue partner of ours and they take on a lot of financial and time intensive special needs cases.” However, Rosenberger believes some of the statements made by SPCA Suncoast, negatively represented the shelter and tarnished the true spirit of “Niko’s” journey. Rosenberger says, “The Hernando County Animal Services shelter has a past history that we are tirelessly working to improve… For animals that end up unclaimed in municipal shelters, this is often their last chance.  We need to concentrate on the positive things we do.  Representing the shelter negatively is not going to encourage people to come and adopt, volunteer, foster or rescue from us.”

Dr. Rosenberger began her career in 2007, after graduating from the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine. She served as Director of Veterinarian for Citrus County Animal Services in 2009 and took over as Veterinarian Director for Hernando County Animal Services in May of 2014. Rosenberger claims, that over the last 1 ½ years, Hernando County Animal Services has experienced increased adoptions, increased rescue partnerships, increased volunteer and fosterer involvement and increased outreach event participation.

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  • Can someone please mention a status update on Niko? All this bickering bull**** and the true victims are getting lost in all of it.

    Thursday, 10 December 2015, 3:10 pm
  • Thank you Judith for letting me know the difference. I thought HCAC was animal control. And I think a pig and over 60 horse’s on about 2 acres not getting proper vet care. As well as many lets say 40 plus dogs not getting much needed vet care dying due to them not being cared for living in their own feces and filth moldy food. Chickens and roosters and rabbits another good 50 or more total dying due to being negelected and not fed or watered with mites and broken legs matted hair. She is what you call a back yard breeder with horses and dogs and rabbits and chickens. Dog with a missing foot that chewed it off it self no vet care many dogs so very sick. Horse’s have no access to grass and they need to graze or have hay all day. They each get a flake or two per horse. Am and pm. They eat within 5 mins. And they dont get proper food at all. Their so hungry I saw two certain horses eating their own poop. Horse’s do not do that unless they are starving. And these horse’s are living in small corrals. Sharing. No room to run. Keeping a horse that use to do work with working cows. Huge horse gelding and put a stud pony in and common sense you dont do that. Who knows if that stud is alive. She takes the dogs that have died these are german Shepards living in the same their own shit invested with fleas and drinking dirty water with algea as the horse’s are as well with tadpoles in the water. Takes the dogs that have died puts in freezer over night and takes them to be cremated. For obvious reasons. They are hoarders their mobile home should be condemned. The man has medical issues and has had cancer in the past and its pure filth. Dogs living in small cages. They she sells. The expensive little dogs. Sending sick rabbits to rural king as babies. Im new up here to Hernando County only here 2 yrs now. So I dont know who is to help. I was told by the police Hernando County Animal Control. But nothing is being done. These ppl are on 6-7 acres but all these animals are only using about 2 acres maybe 3 that would include their home on the property. This woman writes bad checks to hay companies and other ppl. Doesnt pay her employees. I was just a volunteer and she asked to use my credit card for feed and hay and gas but was to be paid back 3 days later and it was excuse after excuse. And finding out not paying employees and didnt pay my bf for his work. When he was looking for work. Im disabled. She knew verh well my situation and she took advantage and had no intentions of paying me back just like everyone else and she works for the government. Used to work for the department of defense. She uses the system big time. Over 15-20 lawsuits. Real scum. But their are a few of us that can’t get help to save these animals. But she received a settlement a week after she fired employees told me to leave. My heart was there for the animals and I was trying to get out but was trying to stay just so I could get what she owed me $500 she charged to my credit card. next thing you know a week later she got her check she bought some more horse’s ahe bought more property bc she is hidden and bought the property so ot was all on private roads that way no one will ever see her animals. And is back on fb looking for all the free horse’s again. Its sad we try to be their voice and animal control goes in not looking at everything. She has some horses living in bad condions hidden in an area ac didnt question. The rabbits they know nothing of bc thats is another area lock and key and they have never walked in her house which would have to shut her down. I know the cremation place. But no help. And nothing done. Nothing will be done and more animals will keep dying and sick horse’s dogs all her animals are sick. Dont they have regulations and rules as to hw many hoofed animals you can have per acre??? Animals suffering. And no one will do anything at all.
    And she should be charged with grand theft with what she did to me as well as others. But im a single disabled mom of 3 and don’t have the money to file a civil suit. And she was very aware if my situation. So how do you get justice for these animals and she im sure is stealing from her company and “works” from home. Its very frustrating. Maybe someone will see this post and reach out to help me help these animals. And she had 60 horse’s but just about have her mini mares were all pregnant. So add that numbers up and same with her dogs. Thank you again. Now to figure out what HCAS is? Animal services? Who else can help seeing ac wont. They have been there a bunch of times.

    Wednesday, 9 December 2015, 9:40 am
    • whoever this backyard breeder is, and there are plenty here, is an animal hoarder with mental issues and needs to be brought to someone’s attention higher than LE. I do feel your pain and aggravation with this situation. People SUCK.

      Wednesday, 9 December 2015, 5:50 pm
  • Citrus County regrets the loss of Dr. Julie to Hernando County. She’s done a terrific job here.

    Tuesday, 8 December 2015, 7:14 am
  • Hernando County thinks if it’s not a farm animal , it’s not worth saving it!

    Tuesday, 8 December 2015, 7:00 am
  • Animal control can be called multiple times about the same person for negelect, starving animals that live in their own feces and not cared for by owners with many complaints and do nothing. Especially when it comes to horse’s and dogs and rabbits. I could go on. But as someone who helps in the community helping rescues and private people. When I see stuff very wrong and the living condions of the people and lord knows well over 100 animals. You think you’re helping due to an illness and find out its a hoarding situation. Pasco and Hernando. Big time Hernando. Many animals are dying and some actually come forward to be their voice and the voices are being ignored. But the police say we cant do anything but please I encourage you to call animal control of Hernando county bc they even know its an issue. Ppl that work for animal control really need to love animals and do through searches every where. But nothing gets done. its sad. And I hope Niko will be okay. I myself have had to spend over 7k well more than that due to interest charges to save my dog when she was under a yr old. She is 10 now and is our saving grace for my autistic son. As many animals are of all kinds for all people. They are family.

    Tuesday, 8 December 2015, 3:11 am
    • Animal Control IS NOT HCAC. Animal Control is part of the Sheriff’s Office, the shelter is not. Please don’t confuse the two. If you want to help by volunteering with Animal Control you have to fill out a 20+ page application which asks things like your 25 year work history and intimate financial information.
      Don’t give up and become discouraged. Keep fighting the “good fight”. Even if you only bring relief for one critter, it is worth it.

      Tuesday, 8 December 2015, 2:20 pm
      • Whoops, meant HCAS not HCAC

        Tuesday, 8 December 2015, 2:38 pm
  • Hernando County animal control is in a hurry to put any animal asleep

    Monday, 7 December 2015, 9:40 pm
    • Walk a mile in HCAC shoes before you start with the critical rhetoric. They have a budget to stick to and what Niko’s radiographs would cost will buy alot of dog food. There is only so many resources available and far too many dogs and cats in need. If you want to help, put your efforts toward stopping the irresponsible production of puppies and kittens.

      Tuesday, 8 December 2015, 9:11 am
  • I’ve got over 15k in medical bills for my Jack Russell terrier.

    Monday, 7 December 2015, 7:17 pm
  • You must never have paid for a sick dog, Viet Vett. My dog was merely sick, not traumatically injured and it cost me close to $4000.00 to save her. It is very expensive and very worth it. Just sayin.

    Monday, 7 December 2015, 5:53 pm
  • Just wondering how a hurt dog can raise over $15000,,,, proof that “dog lives matter”…a little over the top don’t cha think…hope SPCA puts that money to good use…and not just to cover Niko” s rehab…ridiculous

    Monday, 7 December 2015, 12:24 pm
    • These are not just pets they are family, when you get a pet you take on a large responsibility, the pet gives back with love, its your responsibility to care for that animal, the owner failed miserably the HCAC failed the animal, Thank You to the spca suncoast.

      Monday, 7 December 2015, 8:08 pm
    • The money was donated for Niko, I hope they use every penny on making him better.

      Tuesday, 8 December 2015, 7:44 am

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