COMMENTARY | Spay/neuter programs for dogs, cats will help Manatee reach no-kill status

September 20, 2011 

With each day that goes by, new challenges evolve. Each is evaluated and a different path taken. No staff member at Animal Services will ever give up. If something does not work, there is always an alternative.

To continue outlining our no-kill plan for you, the second of 11 mandatory programs and services is “High Volume, Low Cost Spay/Neuter.”

Manatee County provides a no-cost spay/neuter program for the pets of income-qualified pet owners.

The Animal Rescue Coalition has provided this service to the citizens of Manatee County, through Animal Services, since 2003. ARC has a mobile spay/neuter unit dedicated to Manatee County every Tuesday.

With funding provided by Manatee County, ARC performs nearly 1,100 sterilization surgeries per year.

Call the Animal Rescue Coalition at 957-1955 to apply over the telephone. Surgeries are done by appointment only.

The Humane Society of Manatee County has a spay/neuter clinic with the task of spaying and neutering thousands of animals each year.

The HSMC conducts both no-cost and low-cost sterilization surgeries.

The phone number for the Humane Society of Manatee County is 747-8808. You may also call our spay/neuter information line at 749-3067 to hear a recorded message with current spay and neuter information and program availability.

The third program of 11 is “Rescue Groups.”

An adoption or transfer to a rescue group, or animal welfare organization as we refer to them, frees up scarce cage and kennel space, reduces expenses for feeding, cleaning and killing, and improves the community’s rate of life-saving.

Animal Services will use the animal welfare organizations to transfer dogs and cats to their respective organizations.

The coordination of the transfers was initially implemented in September 2009, and we are always expanding our group list and use of their invaluable resources.

Animal Services maintains an actively updated list of all impounded animals on our website at www.mymanatee.org/pets.

The animal welfare organizations are emailed a reminder at least once a week with the direct link to the We DO NOT want to be KILLED! section of our website.

No. 4 of 11 is “Foster Care.” Volunteer foster care is a low-cost, often no-cost way of increasing a shelter’s capacity, caring for sick and injured or behaviorally challenged animals, thus saving more lives.

Animal Services has initiated a plan for Manatee County employees to foster dogs and cats impounded at their shelter.

Once a dog or cat has met the minimum impoundment time, it may be placed into the foster program.

Employee fosters are especially needed for those animals in need of rehabilitation because they are sick, injured, not weaned or traumatized.

Fosters may also be needed simply because we do not have space.

The dog or cat in foster care will be available for adoption during its care, pending specific reasons preventing this at the time.

A member of the Animal Services advisory board, Jean Peelen, started a countywide foster program and has recruited four volunteer foster coordinators to assist with potential animal foster volunteers.

The foster coordinator is responsible for seeking foster volunteers, matching them to the various animal welfare organizations.

Stay tuned for more. We aren’t even halfway yet.

Help the dogs and cats at Animal Services by adopting today. Help us become a no-kill community.

Together, we can do this.

Kris Weiskopf, chief of Manatee County Animal Services, writes this weekly column for the Bradenton Herald.

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