MANATEE -- Community involvement.
That was the main message at a free open house Wednesday at Bradenton’s Central Library aimed at informing the public about Manatee County’s new “No Kill” animal shelter policy.
Pet rescue groups from around the county gathered to teach the public that without their support, the Manatee County Commission’s resolution and plan cannot become a reality.
“People say, ‘Oh, but I can’t,’ ” said Shona Otto, of UnderDog Rescue of Florida. “Well those people don’t walk the shelters every week. I do. I see the poor animals look at me that I know will be put to sleep and I think, if there was just a foster home I could take you to.”
She said there is a huge need for the community to step up and provide foster care and volunteer services.
“It’s not like rescue groups have unlimited space. Once we get one adopted out, then we take one in,” said Otto, whose group was one of the many providing information to the public.
Her table included a list of 15 reasons to become a foster pet parent. The No. 1 reason? “You get to save a life.”
Margo Williams came to find out how to help.
“I’m all for no kill and I’m here to support it,” said Williams, who volunteered to transport pets and donate goods. “We need to help these rescue groups.”
Stacey Hines, who houses five rescue cats at her home, said she doesn’t have the space to serve as a foster parent, but instead asked groups if they could volunteer her photography skills.
“I think it’s so sad that these animals would have to be killed,” Hines said. “The community needs to do more and get educated.”
Otto said people like Williams and Hines will help the county reach its goals in the long run.
“They need to step up, otherwise it’s not going to happen,” Otto said, adding people can also help by donating food, toys, crates and other supplies to rescue groups to help keep them going.