I hope this column has captured your attention and heightened your awareness to the no-kill movement.
I think it is time to let you in on what Animal Services is planning. I have previously written that Animal Services cannot become no-kill without a lot of help. We have drafted an actionable plan to be presented by November. We want to see how the community responds.
To truly become no-kill, 90 percent of the dogs and cats must leave Animal Services alive. There are 11 mandatory programs and services in the plan that must be in place to be successful.
A number of things happen behind the scenes that you do not see, but rest assured we are working very hard making this plan a reality.
Our mission is to save as many animals as possible by achieving the 90 percent live release rate. Saving animals will be accomplished in cooperation with other animal welfare organizations, animal shelters, the media and the public through methods such as enhanced owner retention, returns to owners, increasing fostering and adoption, free and low cost spay and neuter and a feline trap-neuter-return program.
Animal Services also has several goals in place with the first being the 90 percent live release rate as our yardstick for success.
We encourage employee self-empowerment by their own belief in the concept and the trust we place upon them to carry it out.
n To change the image of Animal Services from a place where animals die to a place where animals find homes.
n To create a total community, along with the public, animal welfare organizations, animal shelters and the media, all dedicated to saving the lives of animals.
n To become a model in the state of Florida, with the highest release rate.
n To be self-sustaining through recurring revenue, licenses and services.
Strategies for reaching our goals start with commitment. No-kill starts as an act of will. All of us at Animal Services have made this clear that we are committed, without question.
Accountability requires an actionable plan, protocols and procedures oriented toward preserving life. Animal Services will always take advantage of opportunities that may arise and know that plans are subject to change. We must challenge the community by getting everyone excited and energizing people for the task at hand.
The first mandatory program is the feral cat TNR program. When citizens contact Animal Services about a cat problem, we have a series of questions that are asked so we can get that person the proper assistance. In most cases, we explain our no-kill plan and that the feral cat program is key.
Most citizens are doing their part by contacting the Gulf Shore Animal League, Animal Rescue Coalition at 957-1955 or the Humane Society of Manatee County at 747-8808. Each group has the ability to assist the people with cat problems or answer additional questions. Two days a week, Animal Services transports feral cats from impoundment to the Humane Society of Manatee County where they are given vaccines, including rabies, spayed or neutered and ear-tipped (for visible proof the cat has been sterilized).
Once the cat has recovered from surgery, Gulf Shore Animal League returns the cat to its original location to live its life. The Animal Rescue Coalition is the contact for all of Myakka City, while the Gulf Shore Animal League is responsible for the other areas.
I’ll discuss the other programs in upcoming columns. Help the dogs and cats at Animal Services by adopting today. Help us become a no-kill community. Together, we can do this.
Check out Manatee County Animal Services on Facebook, or visit our web site www.mymanatee.org/pets.
Kris Weiskopf, chief of Manatee County Animal Services, writes this weekly column for the Bradenton Herald.