Meet the no-kill effort at the Manatee County Fair

January 21, 2013 

It's that time of year again! The smell in the air is that of corn dogs, cotton candy, caramel apples and all kinds of other fair food. Walking around the midway you will find a lot of rides, from kiddie rides to thrill rides, even my favorite, the Zipper.

There's more to the fair than just the food and rides though. You can check out the cattle, pigs, chickens, rabbits and even goats. A little bit of everything including photographers showing off their photos to entries for arts and crafts are on display. All of these talents are entered by residents in this great county.

The theme for the fair this year is "Manatee Goes Hollywood" so people decorated their booths to show that star struck flair. But, I am partial to the best booth in the fair, No Kill Manatee County and Manatee County Animal Services. We have star dogs and cats, No Kill and Adopt-A-Bull shirts for sale, bumper stickers and a spinning wheel for you to spin and try your luck at winning a prize. We even have the Manatee County calendar featuring dogs and cats adopted from area shelters and rescues. No Kill initiatives are also featured each month. To top all that, there is a large inflatable Oscar type trophy at the corner of the booth which is fitting for us, since all our dogs and cats are stars, each in their own way.

Please visit the fair and when you do, make sure to stop by our No Kill Manatee booth and check it out, even if it's only to say hello. The people you will see in the booth are our esteemed volunteers. You will meet wonderful men and women who are compassionate and dedicated with helping us to educate the public about the importance of spaying and neutering your pet while you thumb through the book which showcases some of our great dogs and cats available for adoption, the need for foster families and even answer some general questions you may have about pet related needs.

In fact, the volunteers will probably let you know how much we need even more volunteers because you never can have too many. Volunteers are important for the continued success of our no kill program. We have a variety of needs so if you are interested in volunteering for shelter cleaning, pet care, dog walking, cat cuddling, dog bathing or anything you have an interest in helping us with, we need you.

With more awareness about our No Kill programs and volunteer involvement, events are always popping up. Just last

week we had a successful inaugural poker run. Now we are spreading the word at the Manatee County Fair and in the next two weeks, in downtown Bradenton, Beer Fest will be a hit will proceeds going to No Kill Manatee County. The Beer Fest has a Mardi Gras theme and will be on Old Main Street 4-8 p.m. Feb. 2. Details about this and other events can be found on our website at www.mymanatee.org/pets under "Special Events."

All of us are doing this for the dogs and cats impounded at our shelter. We take care of those homeless and sometimes abused pets that don't ask for anything except for you to take care of them, in return for their unconditional love. Give a shelter pet a second chance to live and love by adopting a shelter dog or cat today.

Help us become a No Kill community! We are not there yet and we can do better!

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.

Free and Low Cost Spay and Neuter Programs call our information line at 941-749-3067.

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

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