Manatee's no-kill program named for national conference; Pasco adopts no-kill plan

November 27, 2012 

Our no-kill work is being recognized for its innovation at a national conference next year.

The Alliance for Innovation, an international network of governments that partners with Arizona State University, holds an annual Transforming Local Governments Conference. It opened an application process several months back, asking for innovative presentations at its 2013 conference that could help other counties improve.

The alliance supports and encourages local government management, professional development publications and programs, and strengthens the commitment to the values and ideas for local government. Manatee County Animal Services applied to the committee in hopes of being selected to present our no-kill plan, the road to get there, and the community support behind it.

We are happy to say the selection committee chose our presentation as one of 29 to be presented at the Transforming Local Government Conference in April in Atlanta. We were told they had more than 100 applications to consider.

We are working on the presentation now to make it a fun learning experience for the audience. We want to show where we came from, where we are now and where we are going.

We hope to captivate and motivate other counties in Florida and around the country to join us with the mission to one day become a no-kill nation -- a nation where every adoptable dog and cat is given that second chance to live and love.

Officials from Pasco County came to our shelter recently to see the operation first-hand and talk to us about our plan and what may work for their county.

They were interested in using some of our ideas to craft their own plan. Visiting us were Pasco County's animal services director, two supervisors, an assistant county administrator and a county commissioner, among others.

They toured the shelter in Palmetto and our adoption center in downtown Bradenton. We talked about things that have worked for us, and some that didn't work so well and needed to be modified to fit into the plan. When they left, I felt there was a positive sense of "we can do this" in their minds.

Our impressions were correct! The Pasco County Board of County Commissioners voted and unanimously approved their Animal Services Department to move forward with adopting a plan to become a no-kill community. Another county in Florida has

joined the growing ranks of those making the commitment to become no-kill communities.

In Manatee County, we are proud of the support we have received, from the commissioners, our county administrator and the community as a whole. Manatee County Animal Services thanks ALL of YOU!

If you never have to look into the eyes of a dog or cat and make a choice, you are lucky. One day, we all would like to be lucky too.

As always, if you are interested in adopting a shelter pet, check out our website, www.mymanatee.org/pets to view all the dogs and cats available for adoption. Help a shelter pet get Home For The Holidays. Adopt today!

We have new adoption specials and new adoption fees. To adopt a dog, the fee is $80 and a cat is $40. The license fee is $15 for Manatee County residents.

Our adoption special is "Adopt One -- Get One." Two pets for the price of one! Check our website or visit both of our shelters (Palmetto and downtown Bradenton), to find your furry family member.

For information on our free and low-cost spay and neuter programs, call 941-749-3067.

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

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