MANATEE -- Santa Claus will be making an appearance in Palmetto this Saturday as part of Manatee County Animal Services adoption event.
While the adoption event, which features dogs and cats for $10 each, will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Santa will be at the shelter, 305 25th St. W., Palmetto, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. A professional photographer will be on hand to take photographs of Santa with the children and animals as part of the "Home for the Holidays" event.
"It's really a celebration of pets," said Debra Starr, director of marketing and public relations at Animal Network. "We are doing it early enough in the season so not to interfere with shopping and visiting family and all that. ... We really just need people to come out and meet the animals and see if they are a good match. Can't think of a better gift for the dog and family, quite frankly."
With 119 dogs and 127 cats as of Monday, both the Palmetto shelter and Downtown Meowtown, 1002B Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton, will be participating in Saturday's $10 adoption special.
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This is the first time Downtown Meowtown will also be participating in an adoption event because "they are crowded," Starr said.
In addition to the $10 adoption fee, Manatee County residents will pay a $15 license tag fee. All pets will be spayed/neutered, current on their rabies and other vaccinations and microchipped. The first 20 adopters of dogs will receive a free training session with Dawg Phonics, according to a release.
Sam Wolfe, the Animal Services volunteer specialist, said she is aiming for at least 20 adoptions.
"It would be nice to start 2016 with a nice, fresh deep clean of the kennel and get dogs that have been in there for over six months in forever homes," she said.
With the large number of pitbulls in the shelter, there is a lot of breed discrimination occurring with the pitbulls at the shelter and there needs to be more education, Wolfe said, adding that they need to reach out to people in Duette and Myakka City as a way to find the pitbulls homes.
"These dogs deserve a chance, too, and they need to be considered dogs and not pitbulls," Wolfe said.
Claire Aronson, Manatee County reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024. Follow her on Twitter@Claire_Aronson.