Pinellas County Services Providing Thinking People With Pets and Information to Keep Them Safe
By Renee Burrell
(Photos courtesy of Pinellas Animal Services)
As more and more people move from buying dogs from pet stores/puppy mills, pound puppies have become the top dogs. This is "Robby Velcro," serial #246593. He was found wandering the streets by a Pinellas County Sheriff. He's a black and brown brindle Pit Bull Terrier-mix 6 month old puppy that has been in the shelter since January. Robby's a "Velcro Dog" who wants to cling to you!
LARGO - The United States Humane Society has achieved bringing awareness to the fact that an estimated four million cats and dogs, that's about one every eight seconds, are euthanized in the United States each year mainly because of over populated shelters.
What isn't widely known is that 25-30% of the dogs available for adoption in animal shelters are purebred. The remaining 70-75% are healthy mixed-breeds.
According to Pinellas County Animal Services (PCAS) they annually take in between 21,000 and 24,000 animals at their facility on Ulmerton Road in Pinewood Cultural Park.
"There is usually a sharp increase in the spring and fall due to the large numbers of kittens being born at this time to cats living outside," said Greg Andrews, PCAS Operations Manager, CPM. Andrews said since PCAS has been working with seven local pet stores in adopting out kittens and adult cats they've vastly increased their rate of finding homes for felines. "The benefits of this program have been nothing short of miraculous. In 2003, prior to the initiation of the program 1,460 cats were adopted from PCAS (reflecting a 12% overall adoption rate). 8,862 cats and kittens. At the end of 2007, 3,492 cats and kittens were adopted from PCAS. In 2009, there were 4,097 cats and kittens adopted from PCAS. Currently, more cats are being adopted than dogs."
PCAS was awarded the 2008 annual Teamwork award by the Florida Animal Control Association for this program. They are also a past recipient of the National Animal Control's "Shelter of the Year" award.
Andrews was awarded the "Supervisor of the Year" award from the Florida Animal Control Association last year. He said, "We continuously work with the other local humane organizations and rescue organizations in taking on pets that cannot be adopted through our adoption program and have had great success with this program; in the past these animals might have faced euthanasia. One of the most influential of these organizations is the Pinellas Animal Partners (PAP)."
PAP is comprised of PCAS, SPCA, Humane Society of Pinellas, Pet Pal Animal Shelter, Pinellas Animal Foundation, Pinellas County Veterinary Medical Society, and the St. Petersburg College Veterinary Technician Program. PAP educates the public on numerous animal welfare issues, sponsors public adoption events, and encourages spay and neuter procedures.
The partnership benefits sheltered animals and educates the public to reduce the risk stray and unwanted animals pose to the citizens of the county. One risk has been coyotes entering the county's neighborhoods.
Andrews said there are a few things to remember to keep pets safe from coyotes. "Keep your pets inside or be with them when they are outdoors. Coyotes are typically looking for smaller animals so large dogs are usually not bothered. A standing person looks big to a coyote so raising arms and yelling will nearly always frighten them away. Secondly, do not leave food bowls outside. This contributes to a public nuisance situation where raccoons and other animals are attracted. Coyotes are very smart and will often wait in ambush near a food bowl to attack cats or other prey, such as rats, which are also attracted to the food. In Pinellas County animals are not allowed to roam free.
Citizens that allow their cats to roam free are placing them in harms way, since coyotes have been known to attack and kill cats. If you are walking dogs, you should try to walk them at times other than dusk and dawn. Coyotes are most active at these times and can stalk you and your pet when walking, so you should carry a walking stick or something to defend yourself and your pet. Lastly, do not leave small pets and/or small children outside unattended."
All of the adopted pets from PCAS are spayed/neutered, given their shots, de-wormed, tested, and are released to their new owners with a bag of food. They also hold free dog training classes every month for adopters.
PCAS hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.; closed Thursdays, Sundays, and holidays. Please note that the Adoptions Section closes half an hour prior to facility closing.
For more information on PCAS, their adoption procedures and out reach programs, visit their website at http://www.pinellascounty.org/animalservices/facility.htm or phone (727) 582-2600
Pinellas County Animal Services is a past recipient of the National Animal Control Association's "Shelter of the Year" award. They presently have some very cute cats. "Zucker," serial #249524 is an orange and white stray male cat who arrived at the shelter very thin from living on the streets. No longer underweight, Zucker likes chasing toys.
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