MANATEE -- As area wind chills plummet into the 30s by Thursday morning, Manatee County Animal Services is bracing for the worst.
With the Palmetto shelter over capacity, a handful of the dogs at the county shelter in Palmetto were expected to remain in outside kennels overnight as the shelter is an emergency situation.
But by the end of Wednesday, the handful of dogs that remained in the outdoor kennels were transferred inside. No dogs spent the night outdoors.
According to Bill Hutchison, director of Manatee County's Animal Services, the shelter's plan will be the same Thursday night.
"The plan will be the same tonight assuming we do not get an influx today," he said in an email. "We will deal with it if we do."
To prepare for the cold weather Wednesday night, a few of the dogs were moved inside into small crates Wednesday afternoon, volunteer coordinator Samantha Wolfe said.
"They are not cold, but in tight spaces," Wolfe said.
The shelter has about 60 dogs in need of adoption with space only for about 30, forcing the shelter to double the dogs up in the available runs.
As a way to reduce overcrowding, Animal Services is hosting an adoption event beginning Saturday and running through March 1. The shelter's regularly $80 adoption rate will be reduced to $10.
Wolfe said they originally were only going to have the adoption special run one weekend, but they wanted to plan ahead.
"If we are ahead of the game, it will be better," Wolfe said. "We are definitely moving forward with saving animals' lives, but we are still full."
The last time animal services had an adoption special, 30 dogs were adopted and staff is hoping to double that success.
"We are trying to push adoption events," Wolfe said. "Whatever we can do to try to get people in there."
When the county opened the downtown Bradenton cat-adoption center in January, it freed up more space for dogs at its Palmetto shelter, but it wasn't enough, she said.
"We don't have extra space for the dogs," Wolfe said.
Once adopted, she said they don't want the adopted animals to live outdoors because of the cold weather.
"We want them taken care of," she said. "We need them to be in warm, secure places. ... They deserve to find another loving home."
To see the dogs in need of adoption, go to mymanatee.org/pets.
The Manatee County Animal Services shelter is at 305 25th St. W., Palmetto, and can be reached at 941-742-5933, ext. 8314.
Claire Aronson, Manatee County reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Claire_Aronson.