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Conflict & Tragedy

Media blackout suspected in Florida animal abuse investigation

BROOKSVILLE - An outcry by Tampa area animal rights advocates prompted Hernando County Animal Services and the Florida Department of Agriculture to perform inspections at Domino Effect Rescue Ranch in Weeki Wachee, Florida in November. In most instances, reports on animal abuse complaints are completed within a few days. The report on Domino Effect Rescue Ranch has been kept from the public for more than six weeks.

Requests for the Domino Effect ranch violation report were made on November 30th, December 14th, and December 20th, 2011, but each request has been met with replies that include claims that it will be ready "next week."

Violations found during inspections of Domino Effect Rescue Ranch

According to a November 23rd, 2011 email from Hernando County Code Enforcement Manager, Liana Teague, violations were discovered during Domino Effect inspections. They included an unlicensed dog and an underweight horse whose condition was severe enough to cause animal control to list the animal as in need of "monitoring."

No information has been released as to the progress of the underfed horse in more than six weeks. And animal control has not confirmed if a licensed was purchased for the cited dog which was removed from the property shortly after the inspection, according to Teague.

On December 20, 2011, Teague said in an email, " We are still doing some research and coordinating with other agencies." She added, "I do not have an update from the Department of Agriculture on the violations related to coggins and (illegal) solicitation of donations which fall within their jurisdiction. I hope to have all of the information and be able to complete our report by the end of next week."

As of this date, no reports from inspections at Domino Effect Rescue Ranch have been released. Additionally, the Florida Division of Consumer Services still shows no record of Domino Effect Rescue Ranch registered with the state, which is required in order to legally solicit donations.

Click here for the legal requirements for soliciting donations in the State of Florida and to see if the organization you are donating to is registered.

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