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State Attorney Dismisses Allegations Against County's Oldest & Largest Shelter

May 27, 2016

Stuart, Florida – The State Attorney’s Office for the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit found employees from the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast (HSTC) did not violate state law when dealing with dangerous or sick animals.   The Assistant State Attorney, Anastasia Norman, determined that there was no probable cause to find that Martin County’s oldest and largest animal shelter did not properly sedate the animals before euthanizing them, or that the shelter failed to comply with Florida Statute 858.058.

The allegations contained in a letter sent to Martin County Commissioner, Anne Scott, prompted the criminal investigation by the Martin County Sheriff’s office.   The investigation is now complete, which makes the State Attorney’s office the fourth agency to review and validate the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast’s treatment of animals.

After questions were raised about some of the shelter’s treatment of some animals, the Executive Board for the Humane Society started its own internal review of the issues.  HSTC contracted with the University of Florida’s School of Veterinary Medicine to assist in a review of shelter procedures and treatment of animals.  A team of experts from The University of Florida came to the shelter and worked with HSTC staff members.  HSTC received high praise for both its employees and for shelter operations.  HSTC also received many valuable recommendations for building continued support for the tremendous growth that the shelter has undergone in the past few years.

“The findings of the Sheriff’s office, along with the feedback received from the University of Florida, validates what we already know as an organization,” said Sheila Biehl, former Chair of the Board of HSTC.  “Our staff and volunteers work at the shelter because of their commitment to the animals.  They are compassionate, professional and provide a valuable service to the community.”

Frank Valente, the President and CEO of HSTC states; “We wish to move beyond the charges and return our full focus to our mission of caring for the animals.  This is a goal that we hope everyone will share. We appreciate the concerns, and the loyal support of our friends and donors through this time.  With your continued support, we will continue to provide loving care for the animals.”  

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