Manatee's no-kill stance gives animals second chance at life

The Manatee County Fair is going on now. We have a No Kill booth in building E, the exhibit building, to promote our no kill efforts.

We are fortunate to have the support of the community, animal welfare organizations, professional photographers, local businesses and more as we are well underway with our journey to becoming a no kill community.

The no kill movement has inspired many of us to look at the life of a dog or cat differently. I can say that I was a bit reserved after reading Nathan Winograd’s Redemption. We were already engaged with most of the programs. So what is the problem?

First is the act of will. The commitment, desire and compassion to become a no kill community. After seeing Nathan Winograd in person, he inspired me to do just that. Leading Manatee County to become a no kill community. Doing this for the animals that did not ask for anything other than to live and be loved. Giving each of them a second chance at life. To make us happy and make us smile.

Our plan to accomplish this was written over and over again. The plan came from our hearts, not just ink on paper, not just words. This plan had to be actionable; a living document. From our emotions and heartfelt ideas, our plan was developed. I would like to think that from all of this, we have a bill in the Senate and House of Representatives to help others change their way of thinking. To develop new processes in order to give dogs and cats a second chance to live.

Linda Hamilton, director of the Animal Coalition of Tampa, is striving to help Hillsborough County. She wants them to at least listen and change their thought process. After speaking with Linda, I found her to be an inspiration herself. Her desire and passion is felt in her words. The drive Linda has will help Hillsborough County in what she hopes will be a new beginning. Linda formed a group called Save 90. On Feb. 4, the group is hosting a no kill conference in Tampa. The conference will feature Nathan Winograd. I am proud to say that I was asked to introduce him.

As of now, the conference has well over 100 participants. I am sure some are just curious, but others truly have the compassion, desire and commitment to do what they can to see no kill become a reality. Even those who are just curious are showing an interest. To hear Nathan Winograd themselves could turn their curiosity into commitment as well.

Others will follow. We can help any way we can to see a change. One day, this state and possibly the entire nation will be a different and better place for dogs and cats. People will soon appreciate the role dogs and cats play in their individual lives. Look at what is best for the animals. Feel from your heart and the rest will follow.

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.

Adopt your new family member from Manatee County Animal Services today. Don’t forget about our January adoption special. What a better way to bring in the new year than with a new pet. Manatee County is in the process of becoming a “No-Kill Community” and for the month of January all adoption prices are left up to the adopter. All adopted animals will be spayed/neutered, have a current health check, vaccinations and a microchip. Prices will not include a $10 license certificate/tag fee for Manatee County residents.

Free and Low Cost Spay and Neuter Programs, call our information line at 941-749-3067.

Check out Manatee County Animal Services on Facebook. Like us and share us with all your friends. Our web site has a wealth of information, including your new family member for adoption.

Kris Weiskopf, chief of Manatee County Animal Services, writes this weekly column for the Bradenton Herald.