EAST MANATEE -- In order to help Manatee County’s goal of being a no-kill community become a reality, animal shelters like Honor Animal Rescue are quickly expanding its facilities to accommodate as many dogs and cats as it can.
At Honor Animal Rescue’s Ranch location, an eight-acre shelter located at 4951 Lorraine Road, construction is underway to add five cottages that can house up to six dogs and 12 cats each.
However, while the number of dogs and cats at the shelter is increasing, the number of volunteers keeping the facilty running is not.
“We’re really lucky that we can take in more animals, but right now we don’t have enough people to provide the care for them,” said executive director Deborah Millman.
On Monday, the organization will hold a recruitment meeting at 6 p.m. at the Hampton Inn, 8565 Cooper Creek Blvd., Lakewood Ranch.
“If 100 showed up, we could use them,” Millman said.
Millman said volunteers are needed to walk the dogs, clean kennels, feed the animals and help medicate them.
“We can’t miss any shifts,” she said. “Right now, we’re at capacity in terms of manpower.”
Honor Animal Rescue volunteers Tracy Ruggiero and Colleen Ford said its important for the community to take an interest in helping local animal shelters.
“We have a lot of wonderful animals out here that need attention,” said Ruggiero, who has been volunteering since September. “They thrive on being shown what to do, how to walk properly on a leash, to be loved on and get socialized so it’ll be easier to get into a home. We need volunteers to come out and spend time with the animals to make them more adoptable.”
“This place is to give dogs a second chance,” said Ford, who started volunteering just over a month ago. “We’re here to help the dogs. It’s a very friendly and fun place to work.”
Millman said volunteers have been scarce with the slumping state of the economy, and board members have been working seven days a week, in addition to their regular jobs, to manage the shelters.
”Some people have to work a second job or they can’t afford to drive back and forth to get to volunteering,” she said. “It’s seasonal, too. A lot of our snowbirds, when they go back up north, we don’t have them to help out.”
But a few hours a week can make a difference, says Ford, who works as a chiropractor. She attends to the animals before and after work, whenever she has time.
“It means a lot to them,” she said.
Nick Williams, East Manatee Reporter, can be reached at (941) 748-0411 ext. 7049. Tweet: @_1NickWilliams