June 23, 2018

Manatee County’s Journey to No Kill – May Update

by Jean Peelen

It is so exciting to be a part of a movement that involves great leadership and people of commitment.  The no-kill movement is still on track in Manatee County and is spreading quite quickly through Florida.  Broward County passed a No Kill resolution last month. Hillsborough County announced its intent to become a No Kill community. Members of the public are pushing for it in Hernando, Citrus, Brevard, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties. And Sarasota just announced that they are looking to collaborate with Manatee to replicate their success. YES!

I would predict that within a year the major counties in Florida will become no-kill.  How exciting it will be to be the first no-kill state in this great country.

For the month of April we reached a wonderful 79% save rate.  When we began last October the save rate was 55% and the goal was to increase the save rate by 2% per month until we reach 91% by December 2012.  This means that although we have a little variation from month to month we are well ahead of our necessary rate of improvement.  The staff of Animal Services and the rescues deserve great appreciation for the turn-around they have made.  It’s not often people get to change their vision so radically as they have.  I am grateful.

You will remember that Carol Whitmore was awarded a grant of $50,000 from the Tampa Bay Lightening Foundation.  The grant application was submitted under the auspices of The Animal Network.  The recipient had to give the grant money to approved non-profit organizations.  She gave $10,000 to the Homeless Coalition and $40,000 to the Animal Network.  The $40,000 went into the No Kill fund maintained by The Animal Network in a separate account.

Caro requested that the $40,000 be used to keep the dogs and cats healthy, mostly at Animal Services, until they can be adopted.  A committee of three was appointed to monitor how the no kill money is spent.  The committee is Sue Kolze (Animal Network), Kris Weiskopf (Animal Services) and Jean Peelen (Animal Services Advisory Board).

The major uses for Carol’s donation will be ventilation systems in the cat rooms at Animal Services.  In the past, the cats had too high a rate of respiratory illnesses, making them difficult or impossible to get adopted.  An engineer has visited The Cat Depot in Sarasota which has a wonderful ventilation system and we may base our ventilation system on it.

Another use for Carol’s money is to create an area at the loading dock at Animal Services where dogs brought in can be vetted by the new certified Vet Tech and kept separated from other dogs until we can ensure sure that they are healthy.  Finally, we want to get fencing to provide a much bigger exercise yard for the big dogs at Animal Services.

I really don’t think the $40,000 will cover all of that.  Everything is very expensive – especially the ventilation systems because of the configuration of the cat rooms at Animal Services.  We also were stunned at early estimates of the cost of fencing.  We are looking for a fence company that will considering donating, or taking a deep discount for fencing.  If we could get that, it is possible that the County may provide the labor at no charge.

So if you know someone connected with fencing, please do contact me at jeanpeelen@aol.com or Sue Kolze at ellentonsu@gmail.com.

Another great piece of news: It looks like Manatee County is going to pass a new law that prohibits a dog from being tethered in your yard unless someone is outside with the dog.  It has passed the first reading and has one more reading before it becomes law.  I am delighted.  In some areas, the major source of dog bites is tethered dogs, and often children are the ones bitten.  Additionally, female dogs that live tied up outside are often dogs that have not been spayed.  They get impregnated by passing sailors J and we have yet more unwanted puppies.

Finally, Animal Services is starting a fostering program.  Right now they particularly are looking for people to foster large dogs who are heartworm positive.  The dogs can’t really be treated at Animal Services because there is too much stimulation and too many other dogs.  Such dogs used to be euthanized immediately.  Now they have a chance to live.

These fosterd dog must be kept quiet – no walks and certainly no running – for at least a month or two or more.  There should be no other dogs or cats in the household.  If you are up for it, think what a gift you could give to a dog—a chance at a new life.  If you think you can foster a heartworm positive dog, please contact Kris Weiskopf at kris.weiskopf@mymanatee.org.

See you next month!



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