Manatee County's No-Kill Efforts Are Already Influencing Others

It took just a day for the County Commissioners actions to draw attention in other communities.

On Tuesday County Commissioners voted to adopt a no-kill policy that is designed to save more animals at the Manatee County animal shelter. The goal is that by December 2012 the county will adopt or foster 90 percent of the animals that come into animal services, while increasing the spay and neuter rate across the county.

The no-kill policy was adopted without an increase in the county's animal services budget. Advocates and Manatee County Animal Services worked on this for more than three years and hoped that eventually the county could serve as an example to other communities around the country.

It took one day. See the following letter sent via e-mail to Carol Whitmore, chairwoman of the Manatee County Commission:


Hi Ms. Whitmore,
My name is Karen Lawson and I volunteer at our animal shelter in Douglas County, Georgia. I've been working with a group of people at our Humane Society in an effort to improve the conditions at our shelter.  We are also trying to formulate a plan to someday make our shelter a no-kill facility.
I was very impressed when I read the article about your county striving to become no-kill eventually while gradually reducing the euthanasia's that take place in the meantime.
The portion of the article that really caught my eye was the fact that the plan can lower costs to the county and possibly increase revenue while not requiring additional funding.
Although we have rescues that pull from our shelter each Monday (Tues are euthanasia days), most of them can only take 4-5 animals and our facility holds probably 100 + animals at a time.  They are euthanizing about 10-15 dogs a week. I'm not sure of the number of cats.  At one point a few months ago, they euthanized 60 animals on one Tuesday alone.

We have volunteers that work furiously to beat the clock, photographing and posting on FB, email blasts, etc, begging people to come forward and adopt, foster, or otherwise rescue.  One Friday I photographed about 11 dogs with wonderful personalities only to discover that on Tuesday several of the sweetest ones were euthanized.  
Our biggest obstacles to any suggestions we have made for improved conditions and lower euthanasia rates have been the cost to the county, the mindsets of most of our commissioners that it is cheaper and easier to euthanize rather than take steps to make improvements to the facility, along with citizens who aren't interested in the welfare of animals complaining about any costs involved.
If we could present our case in a way that is beneficial to our county and community by saving money, I believe we could bring  our commissioners on board with our plan and really make a difference in the lives of so many animals
languishing in our shelter.
Would you be willing to share a portion of your plan with us?  It seems that you have some great ideas that are coming to fruition.
Thank you so much,
Karen Lawson 

Proofisinthepudding October 22, 2011 at 01:28 PM
Lisa, this should not be the burden of the entire community. The entire community did not cause this problem. The only solution is to to stop the problem in the first place. If that was done, you would not have to have a no kill policy.
Lisa Williams October 22, 2011 at 01:34 PM
Well, it is a community problem that must be addressed. If you do not want to help or understand how it works - so be it. A community is made up of everyone, including animals. If we all close up and stay in our little boxes taking care of only ourselves - that is not a community. I am seeing an outpouring of concern and people starting to take action - and action is what it takes to correct the problems of the past.
Proofisinthepudding October 22, 2011 at 01:49 PM
I understand the problem and like I said before, I hope you prove me wrong. I have my doubts that unless you correct the problem you will never be able to handle the solution of no kill. Then it really will be a burden that no one will claim responsiblity for. We will see the results..... I do not believe you are doing any justice to these animals as proof with starving horses.
Vicci Springer October 24, 2011 at 01:32 AM
There is plenty out there, PLENTY, as in plenty of help, plenty of care, plenty of food. You just have to tap into the right sources. You just have to want to be a part of the solution. If all you want to do is be responsible for you and your animals, good for you for being kind to your pets. But did that not open up your heart for all pets? It certainly did mine! You cannot say no one will claim responsibility. This county as a whole has stepped up to claim it. No one can convince you, obviously, but still you should read the material. It will give you ideas how you can help. Wouldn't this be something you would LIKE to SEE happen? Or had you rather just keep saying, show me, prove it? It is about a SAVE RATE. Do you know what that means? Many of the nokill sites are down right now, under construction, but I’m sure they’ll be back up soon, in the meantime here are a couple of links: http://www.nathanwinograd.com/?p=4412 www.rescue50.org/ one link is of an animal control director who doubted it would work, he gave it a try and now he is a believer. He followed the plan in which Lisa gave you the short version. When the sites are up again I will post them. As for the starving horses, is that current or are you beating a dead horse? It's easy to sit on the sidelines and say it won't work. During this very post, I was called away to foster a kitten. We network and leave animal control out of the picture because we don't have the awesome commissioners like in Manatee Co.!
Proofisinthepudding October 24, 2011 at 09:51 AM
For your information on the horses. It is absolutely current! Like, I said before and will say it again, "Go for it", but do not put the burden on everyone else that does the right thing and takes care of their animals. The people that want to put a bandaid on keeping animals until they die naturally instead of getting to the heart of the problem should also be responible to find funds to do just that. My whole problem with this, is the issue of not going to the law makers and trying to get mandatory neutering, stopping exotic animals from coming into the country. If this were to happen, then I could see an end to a existiing problem.


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