BROOKSVILLE - Lisa Centonze, Hernando County Animal Services' managing veterinarian, will resign her position March 28.
Centonze was hired Jan. 24, 2013 to bring stability to a department that had been criticized for a lack of policies and direction.
Centonze said in her resignation letter "it has been a pleasure, challenge and reward to serve the animals and citizens of Hernando County."
Centonze accepted a position as managing veterinarian at Hillsborough County Animal Services, where she worked prior to coming to Hernando County.
"She has done a fantastic job here implementing many improvements to the shelter and we are disappointed to see her go," said Assistant County Administrator Brian Malmberg. "We will get the position posted by next week and begin the process of finding her replacement as quickly as possible."
County Commissioner Diane Rowden said she is dismayed by Centonze's exit.
"She's brought a lot of changes and I'm really sad to hear she's leaving," Rowden said. "She's got to make her decisions based on her professional and personal life. But it's going to be big shoes to fill."
Rowden said Centonze, in her short time here, started new programs and was able to get donated operating equipment.
Rowden said she would prefer to see a veterinarian take over the position.
Centonze, who made $80,000 annually, was hired at a time when the embattled department continued to heal from deep wounds resulting in a botched canine euthanasia and a critical audit recommending new performance guidelines.
Centonze was responsible for managing employees and volunteers and practicing veterinary medicine and surgery at the facility.
Centonze was formerly a veterinarian at Hillsborough County Animal Services, where she diagnosed and treated impounded animals, did medical screening, vaccinations and surgical sterilizations.
Centonze said when she was hired for the Hernando County position that she resigned from the Hillsborough shelter because she "was ready for a change."
Coincidentally, Centonze's resignation announcement comes on the same day that her supervisor, Public Safety Director Mike Rampino, stepped down to take a job with a fire department in Manatee County.