Manatee County program offers free rides home to wandering pets

June 17, 2014 

Thank you for highlighting Manatee County's implementation of tag registration compliance for pets. Besides being a source of revenue, it is important to note that this rollout is part of the Free Ride Home program.

The program offers dogs and cats a Free Ride Home when they get lost. Statistically, one in three pets will get lost in their lifetime.

The program is designed so that when pets are picked up by Animal Services officers, the dogs and cats can be brought directly home to their owners instead of going through the stress and expense of impound at the shelter.

If citizens find a lost pet, they can go online and get the pet owner's contact information as well.

Imagine no more frantic postings on Facebook, putting up "lost" posters and constant searching!

As active volunteers at the shelter, we see far too many pets come in who could have simply been given a lift home.

By reducing the number of pets impounded, volunteers and staff can devote more time and resources to the unwanted pets who will still end up at the shelter.

In 2012 and 2013, more than 1,200 pets were returned to their owners from the shelter and hundreds more from the field. Free Ride will help lost pets get home without ever setting foot in the shelter.

Debra Starr, Animal Network

Palmetto

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