by Jean Peelen
ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! The “father” of the no-kill movement, Nathan Winograd, will be speaking on November 4 at the Tampa Tribune Auditorium in Tampa from 3-5:30 p.m. Nathan is very much worth hearing, so if you can possibly go, do so. He is being hosted by a group in Hillsborough County that is trying to create no-kill there. Tickets are going very quickly, so if interested you need to act quickly. Go to the Web site http://save90.org/ . Many of us will be there too with our “No-Kill Manatee” t-shirts.
And now on to our monthly report.
It is a happy new year indeed for Manatee County’s dogs and cats. In September 2011, only 55% of the dogs and cats taken in by Manatee County’s Animal Services made it out alive. On October 11, the County Commission declared that by December 2012 Manatee County would be no-kill: that by that date, at least 90% of the dogs and cats taken in would get out alive. Now THAT is an ambitious goal.
The intention was to increase the save rate by 2% per month. Animal Services and the whole community has done much better than that so far. By the end of October, our save rate had increased to 68%. That is quite a jump over two months. At the end of November the save rate was 77% – yet another impressive increase. And for the month of December, our save rate was 71% – a drop from November, yet we still are way ahead of the game. If we were at out 2% per month, we would only be at a save rate of 61% by now. So we are doing well!
I think there are many reasons for our success:
- a revolution in thinking at Animal Services
- the opening of the downtown adoption center
- the support of the County Commission
- the new, healthier partnerships of Animal Services with rescue groups,
- the increased pulling of animals by those group of dogs and cats from Animal Services
- the wonderful feral cat programs
- the effective spay-neuter programs of several local groups and shelters
- the team of professional photographers and volunteers taking photos of the dogs and cats at animal services, and the most wonderful recent event
- the generosity of 13 Manatee County Walgreen’s stores who have put barrels in their stores to collect donations of food and toys and money to support no-kill.
This whole effort has been such a wonderful demonstration of a community coming together for a good cause. I feel lucky to be a part of such a beautiful project.
And there still are needs and problems to solve.
- The photographers need volunteers willing to go with them to Animal Services to wrangle dogs for them. The job sounds harder than it is. The helper would get a dog from his/her cage, give it a quick walk to burn off the energy built up staying in the cage, and then distract it with toys or words so the photographer can get great photos. This would take about 1 ½ hours once a week or even less than that. Whatever time you have would be great. If you are willing, please contact Caryn Hodge at [email protected]
- We need some research done about rescue groups nationally that will take pit bull mix dogs to get them adopted. We need to market our dogs to make them attractive to the groups, but right now we just need someone to do the research.
- We need to have Animal Services dogs at more adoption events, and to do that we need volunteers to transport some dogs to the events and back again to Animal Services at the end of the event. If you are interested, please call me at 941-896-5827.
- And as always, we really need more foster homes for both dogs and cats. If you can foster, please do contact me.
Finally, on a personal note: my dear sister in Orlando was recently widowed. She has been lonely for sure. This week she fell in love with an Underdog Rescue of Florida doggie on the Petfinder Web site. It was a ten year old blind Shi Tzuh named Sylvia. Yesterday, she adopted Sylvia and gave her a new name: Sweetie. She and Sweetie are madly in love. As my sister said: “This is just one old broad helping another.” Yes! I couldn’t have said it better.