There is something going on in Manatee County that every pet owner should know. Something that can keep your pets from joining the 5,000-plus dogs and cats that stream into the county shelter each year. It’s called the Free Ride Home Program and it is unique to Manatee County.
If you are reading this column, you probably have some interest in pets. You probably know that life is just better with them around. What you might not know is that, in Manatee County, a dedicated group of rescues and shelters struggle each and every day to keep homeless pets alive. All told, more than 5,500 of them in a single year! It is rewarding. It is frustrating. It is like bailing out a sinking ship with a thimble!
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When the new director of Manatee County Animal Services stepped into a meeting room at the downtown Bradenton library, he encountered a “very refreshing” sight.
More than 60 people attended an organizational rally for Manatee United 4 Pets, an umbrella coalition whose mission is to establish a fresh working relationship among animal rescue advocates and the county agency that serves as a shelter of last resort for homeless dogs and cats.
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Animal advocates and rescue group volunteers will meet with the new head of Manatee County Animal Services on Monday evening (Oct. 6).
catMCASDebra Starr of Animal Network wants to unite the rescue community under an umbrella organization called Manatee United 4 Pets. The organizational meeting will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 1301 Barcarrota Blvd., Bradenton.
Animal Services director Bill Hutchison and new volunteer specialist Sam Wolfe are to talk about innovations that are ahead for the county agency.
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Nearly a dozen local animal rescue organizations and shelters are teaming up to more efficiently raise money, sponsor joint events and push for better implementation of Manatee County’s no-kill program as the county government’s Animal Services Division, which has drawn fire for how it has managed the effort, transitions to new leadership.
The rescue groups are collaborating under the moniker “Manatee United for Pets.”
Earlier this week, Manatee County administrators announced big changes in leadership for Animal Services — a department recently plagued with controversy and allegations.
One goal of the new leadership is to partner with private organizations to continue the success of the county’s no kill animal shelter program.
Thank you, Herald, for helping publicizing the ongoing struggle Manatee County faces on the path to a sustainable No Kill Community. We are all breathing a sigh of relief for the rescued dogs.
I hope you will continue to help publicize the ongoing plight of our county’s homeless dogs and cats because the “crisis” is far from over. The scramble to save the lives of homeless pets happens every day.
The annual migration of snowbirds to their cooler “nests” has begun. Nowhere in the county will they be more sorely missed than at the two animal shelters, where an average of 90 dogs rely on these dedicated volunteers for their daily exercise.
Dogs like Alan, Bebe, Dennis and Mason, who have been in kennels since December, relish their routine with the volunteer walkers.
Thank you for highlighting Manatee County’s implementation of tag registration compliance for pets. Besides being a source of revenue, it is important to note that this rollout is part of the Free Ride Home program.
The program offers dogs and cats a Free Ride Home when they get lost. Statistically, one in three pets will get lost in their lifetime.