SARASOTA, Fla. - Sarasota's City Commission is demanding more inspections take place at Save Our Seabirds, after some former volunteers have come forward alleging a mistreatment of the animals there.
At Monday night's meeting, two city inspectors presented a powerpoint presentation to Commissioners, telling them they did not find Save Our Seabirds in violation of any wrongdoing during a recent surprise inspection. Save Our Seabirds is leasing its current location from the city. The city has a right to terminate the lease if it finds the non profit violating the contract. (See picture for what inspectors found)
After the powepoint presentation, several former volunteers told Commissioners a different story, involving an infestation of rats and inadequate veterinary care for the animals. At the end of the night, Commissioners agreed there were just too many questions. By a 5-0 vote, Commissioners are asking Florida Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and Sarasota County Animal Services to conduct new inspections at the facility.
It's a win for the birds said former volunteer Greg Para.
"It will either find the deficiencies or force the CEO to rectify them before they get there. Anyway you look at it, the birds win," said Para.
CEO David Pilston says SOS has nothing to hide.
"We have no problem with this. We are proud of the work we do. There have been interesting allegations made," he said.
Many of the allegations started right around the time Lee Fox was let go. Fox was the founder of Save Our Seabirds. Pilston believes this is nothing but a case of sour grapes.
"Many of the issues they are raising about bird care existed under Lee Fox. That's a reason why she is no longer with SOS. She was not in compliance with her permits and she did not handle the birds properly," said Pilston.
There is no timetable as to how long it will take for all of the new inspections to take. Mayor Shannon Snyder says it could be a while.