Plight of pets should be concern for entire county

February 16, 2014 

Thank you, Herald, for helping publicizing the ongoing struggle Manatee County faces on the path to a sustainable No Kill Community. We are all breathing a sigh of relief for the rescued dogs.

I hope you will continue to help publicize the ongoing plight of our county's homeless dogs and cats because the "crisis" is far from over. The scramble to save the lives of homeless pets happens every day.

Concerned citizens must be part of the solution and not part of the problem. They can adopt rescued dogs and cats. Online resources like petharbor.com and petsfinder.com provide easy access to almost any breed.

Spay and neuter is the key to overpopulation. Citizens can sterilize their own animals so they are part of the solution.

Registration with the county will keep pets out of the shelter. By law, cats and dogs must be registered and sporting their tag on a collar. The majority of pets impounded are not wearing collars, so consider microchipping. Animal Services officers will give pets who are registered and/or microchipped a free ride home, avoiding the agony and expense of impoundment.

Finally, we have to acknowledge that there are too many pit bulls being bred, mistreated and discarded in Manatee County. Over 80 percent of the dogs at MCAS are pits or pit mixes. Until this problem is addressed and we "stop the flow," Manatee County will struggle with the problems of pet overpopulation.

Now is the time to work together, recognizing that a sustainable No Kill movement is a serious undertaking and committing as a community to act.

Let's hope we continue to make headlines for effective and innovative programs and make euthanasia of unwanted pets a thing of the past.

Debra Starr, Animal Network

Palmetto

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