Recent articles in your paper have highlighted efforts of local animal rescues to upgrade and enlarge their facilities. Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue’s exciting new facility will ensure that pets who reside there are kept in a quality environment. Other local organizations are also improving their sheltering facilities (Bishop Animal Shelter SPCA and Humane Society of Manatee County, for example), creating an environment of comfort and respect for our adoptable pets in the Manatee County area.
This pattern of new construction of local shelters has not yet filtered through to the Manatee County Animal Shelter. The staff at the county shelter does a great job with the resources they have to work within, but the current shelter site in Palmetto was apparently most recently upgraded with new construction in 1973, making daily cleaning and disinfecting difficult at best. Its design of concrete block and chain link fencing does not support today’s more enlightened philosophy of rescue facilities. The main electrical service supporting the needs of the shelter is utilized at 100 percent and without considerable expense cannot be improved. During the summer, when the shelter population is usually well over capacity, approximately one-third of the dogs housed there are kept in kennels that do not have air-conditioning.
While a recent project completed by Friends of Manatee County Animal Services to install much needed artificial turf in the dog play yards has upgraded the utility of the exercise areas significantly, this is not enough. We need a new shelter within the next three years and we need to begin the planning process today. The success of creating a new shelter can only come from the involvement of our local community, so please help by contacting your county commissioner and support a new shelter.