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Manatee’s population is growing. It’s time to invest in new animal shelter, leaders say

As government officials make efforts to bring up to date antiquated infrastructure to accommodate the growing population of Manatee County, the county’s animal shelter has been left behind.

Built in the 1940s and renovated in the 1980s, the shelter “is at capacity,” said Cheri Coryea, Manatee County administrator. “As our community has now reached a population of over 400,000 people and growing, it is time for us to meet current demand and plan far into the future for caring for unwanted pets.”

The Manatee Community Foundation intends to help with that planning by launching a donation drive and the foundation will match the first $100,000 raised.

“Embarking on this public-private partnership is a unique opportunity with the help of Manatee Community Foundation and the Animal Network and it allows for the community to help us plan and bring the new facility to fruition,” Coryea said.

Animal Network Inc., a local and all-volunteer animal welfare organization, has agreed to spearhead the campaign in hopes to raise $2 million. Also, Manatee County is dedicating $8 million toward the new shelter’s eventual construction.

“This shelter is desperately needed to meet the demand that our community faces in taking care of homeless and abandoned pets until they can find their forever homes,” said Susie Bowie, Manatee Community Foundation’s executive director.

“The leadership of Manatee government in committing $8 million for the new shelter demonstrates an understanding of how important humane treatment of animals is to our residents.”

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The Manatee Community Foundation has started a fundraising challenge to benefit the Manatee County Animal Shelter in Bradenton. Tiffany Tompkins ttompkins@bradenton.com

Bowie said now is the time for philanthropy to do its part to make a long-time community need become reality.

“Research shows that when forward-thinking communities invest in animals, they have a competitive advantage in attracting new residents and engaging the many people who believe that a healthy place to live includes care for pets,” said Pam Freni, board president of Animal Network.

To learn more about the project or make a tax-deductible gift, visit sheltermanatee.com or contact Freni at pam.freni@animalnetwork.com.

Breaking News/Real Time Reporter Mark Young began his career in 1996 and has been with the Bradenton Herald since 2014. He has won more than a dozen awards over the years, including the coveted Lucy Morgan Award for In-Depth Reporting from the Florida Press Club and for beat reporting from the Society for Professional Journalists to name a few. His reporting experience is as diverse as the communities he covers.
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