As odd as it may seem to those who don't see the multitude of dogs and cats picked up daily, it's difficult to understand the process.
Hundreds of dogs and cats, most of them homeless strays, are picked up each month. Most have been left to fend for themselves by uncaring humans.
Once happy and healthy, now neglected and sad, every one of these pets can end up in our shelter. Some will have heartworms, some will have mange, some will have upper respiratory infections and others fleas and ticks.
Most have not eaten in days or have had to fight for their lives on the street, dodge traffic, watch out for predators and other deviant animal haters.
A pet on its own is not a good life for health and safety -- its own or the public.
It makes one wonder why these dogs and cats are loose in the first place. Obviously, by no fault of their own, a door was left open, a gate unlocked, a fence in disrepair or maybe at worse, people whono longer cared for them. In the end most abandoned pets end up at our shelter.
Some people point fingers at those who care for pets in the shelter for not doing enough to find homes for them. This energy needs to be redirected toward those who let these dogs and cats get into this situation in the beginning.
Better yet, volunteer at the shelter or with pet events. Foster a dog or cat in your home. Join our "One to One" program by selecting a dog in our shelter and basically becoming its sponsor so one by one, they can find a forever home.
Help any way you can. Do it for the sheltered pets. If you don't want to come to the shelter or help out after hours, we can always use anyone interested in social media.
Are you good with Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest? Sign up, we may be able to use your talents.
Visit the shelter to see for yourself the number of dogs and cats making it their temporary home. Imagine each pet wondering who will pick them so they can go home. Help make our shelter as temporary a home for them as possible. We want each
one to find its forever home.
Spread the word. Help Manatee County become a no-kill community. We are not there yet, but we are not far away either. All sheltered and homeless pets deserve a second chance to live and love.
Don't shop, adopt. Don't buy while sheltered pets die.
Watch for coming events and adoption specials. Don't forget the ongoing BOGO special where you can adopt a dog or cat at the regular adoption fee and get a dog or cat for no adoption fee.
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.
Check out Manatee County Animal Services on Facebook. Like us and share us with all your friends. Our website -- mymanatee.org/pets -- has a wealth of information, including your new family member for adoption. Or call 941-742-5933 for information.
Kris Weiskopf, chief of Manatee County Animal Services, writes this weekly column for the Herald.