The ARC Advocate
June/July 2011 - Vol 1, Issue 5  

ARC's New Location  


The Animal Rescue Coalition moved July 1st to a new location: 1408 State Street in downtown Sarasota. The new headquarters includes 1,250 square feet of space and a visible storefront that will help ARC promote adoption of animals in need of homes. The build-out of the space was underwritten by a generous grant from the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation.   


Sarasota Animal Services

Lovable animals are available for adoption at the Sarasota County Animal Services' shelter on Bee Ridge Road. Please turn to the shelter if you're thinking of adopting a cat or dog. Photos and descriptions of all adoptable animals, just like
Princess below, are available on the animal services website, which you can reach by clicking here.





"My name is Princess, and I've been at Animal Services since 2009. I'd love to have a home."

For more information,

click here   

Credits & Contact 


Editor and Writer: Chris Hawes

Contributing Editors: Caroline Resnick and Brenda Terris

Contact: 941-780-3046 or


The ARC Advocate is sponsored by Animal Rescue Coalition, 1408 State Street, Sarasota; website is

Animal Rescue Coalition. 


Ira Barsky and Ed Sarbey: The Founders of ARC  

Barsky and Sarbey

Ira Barsky (left) and Ed Sarbey with Bosco. 

Hope in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges.   

That's the spirit in which Ira Barsky and Ed Sarbey created the Animal Rescue Coalition (ARC) in 1999.


The two men had come back from a trip to San Francisco disappointed. They had met with Rich Avanzino, president of a nationally known nonprofit group called Maddie's Fund, which they hoped would provide the needed financial support to get ARC up and running.  But Avanzino had told Barsky and Sarbey that Maddie's Fund, devoted to a "no-kill" world in which no healthy animals are ever euthanized, was only funding established organizations, not startups.


"That really took the wind out of our sails," remembers Barsky. "But we decided we'd try it on our own."  With the help of baseball legend Tony LaRussa, who donated memorabilia to their first-ever ARC fundraiser, Barsky and Sarbey succeeded in finding enough donors to create ARC.


They proceeded to build ARC into what it is today. The two convinced more than a dozen of  the area's animal welfare groups to sign on to what was known as the "ARC Initiative:" a collaborative plan to end the senseless killing of adoptable homeless dogs and cats in Sarasota county. 


They recruited some of the area's most respected leaders to support ARC, including former county public defender Elliot Metcalf, the late philanthropist Janet Kane, and Barry Kellogg, now a senior veterinary advisor to the Humane Society of the United States. They partnered with the county's animal services department to tackle what was an out-of-control feral cat problem. And they empowered former executive director Jaye Williams to create the area's first-ever mobile spay and neuter clinic.


Both Barsky and Sarbey say a key in ARC's evolution was the involvement of Dr. Laurie Walmsley, the group's medical director. In addition to hosting Buddy's Feral Cat Program at her Ashton Animal Clinic each month, Walmsley donates tens of thousands of dollars worth of services each year to ARC's Emergency Medical Fund. "Laurie has been the major factor in ARC's success over many years now," Barsky says. "She was probably the only veterinarian in town that was willing to work on strays injured in roadside accidents." Barsky also credits Caroline Resnick with building Buddy's Feral Cat Program into a monthly success.     


Sarbey says ARC's greatest contribution since its founding has been to help people better understand how spaying and neutering contributes to a better life for all animals. "People sometimes ask, 'If I love animals, why would I prevent them from reproducing?' The answer to that question is, if you don't, there are too many. Dogs and cats are plentiful, and because they are, people take them for granted."       

Injured Feral Reunites with Cleaves Family through Emergency Medical Fund 

Family Photo: Tori, Jan and Nikki Cleaves with Duma, the former feral with whom they were reunited through ARC's Emergency Medical Fund.

Tori and Nikki Cleaves and their mother, Jan, had spayed and neutered about nine cats in their Sun 'n Fun mobile home community east of Interstate 75. But one little male kitten -- which the sisters named Duma after a 2005 movie about a cheetah -- always eluded their humane traps. "The others would even let us pick them up," Tori Cleaves remembers. "But he would always hiss and run off."

The Cleaves kept trying -- especially after spotting the gray and white tabby cat walking down a nearby street one day with a bloodied face and shoulder. "He still wouldn't let us get anywhere near him," remembers Tori. About a year ago, the cat disappeared.

In early May, the Cleaves received one of the many appeals for help that feral cat director Caroline Resnick sends to her email list on behalf of ARC's Emergency Medical Fund, which provides medical care to injured strays and ferals. Resnick was seeking a foster home for a cat whose front leg had to be amputated. "The cat had a severely crushed front leg that was not salvageable," Resnick wrote. "This cat does not have a home or a human caregiver to go home to."  Resnick also circulated a video of the cat.

"As soon as we saw the video, we knew it was him," Tori Cleaves said. "And when we heard he might even be euthanized, we thought we're definitely going to take him in. We've known him since he was born."

Duma had been under such stress following his amputation surgery, Resnick said, that he hissed and swiped at anyone who tried to connect with him.  But his behavior changed entirely when the Cleaves sisters visited Duma while he was in foster care. "He was never friendly with us before, but he's completely different than when he was outside," Tori says. "He's the sweetest cat. He's never shown one sign of aggression toward us, our cats, or anything."

The happy ending is especially encouraging for the Cleaves sisters, who aspire to open their own animal rescue shelter. The sisters, ages 18 and 16, currently devote almost six hours a day, six days a week, to the sport of tennis and hope to earn enough money as professional players to fund their animal rescue dream.

"That's why we volunteer with ARC," says Tori Cleaves, "so we can learn and prepare ourselves to run our own rescue group one day."


To help save more animals through ARC's  Emergency Medical Fund, click the donate button below: 


Make a Donation    

 Guest Column: Humans are Greatest Threat to Birds  

This article is reprinted with permission from Alley Cat Allies. You can learn more at  Alley Cat Allies.

debunking myths

Concern over the declining populations of certain bird species has generated heated debate about what are the most effective steps toward preserving and restoring those populations. Too often this discussion becomes mired in a simplistic cat-versus-bird argument. Focusing on the perceived struggle between cats and birds diverts attention from the real cause of declining bird populations: the enormous impact of the human species on birds and their habitats.


The major cause of bird species loss -- indeed, all species loss -- is habitat destruction. Habitat modification, fragmentation, and loss is caused by a myriad of human activities, including logging, crop farming, livestock grazing, mining, industrial and residential development, urban sprawl, road building, dam building, and pesticide use.


In a 2000 report by the World Conservation Union surveying 1,173 threatened bird species, habitat loss was the most important threat, affecting 83% of the bird species sampled. Across the United States, little land is left untouched by human development, modification, fragmentation, and pollution. Already, human activities have led to the extinction of 10% of the world's bird species -- in some locales, that number rises to as much as 90%. Today, more than a thousand bird species are listed as threatened, and scientists predict between 500 and 600 of those will go extinct in the next 50 years.  


In the United States, much of the impact on birds is a result of America's growing population and its even faster-growing development of land. Between 1990 and 2000, the U.S. population grew by 33 million people, the greatest numerical increase the country has ever seen. Future growth is predicted to add 27 million people each decade for the next 30 years.


More significant is that America's demand for resources is growing disproportionately to its population. A Brookings Institution analysis reveals that urbanized land increased by 47% in the 15 years between 1982 and 1997, even though population only increased by 17%; population in suburbs, meanwhile, increased twice as fast as population in cities. Researchers at Brookings predict that by the year 2030, half of the buildings in which Americans live, work, and shop will have been built after the year 2000. With this level of development and population growth, the serious loss of bird species -- due to habitat destruction, pollution, and fragmentation -- will continue for decades to come.


Considering the vast scale of human destruction of bird habitat, arguing about "cats-versus-birds" trivializes the critical issues facing bird populations today. Cat lovers and bird lovers can agree: the real danger to birds is humans.

ARC is a charitable, (501)c(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to end the killing of adoptable dogs and cats by means of a proactive spay/neuter program, comprehensive adoption effort, feral cat program and various other initiatives designed to recognize the profound benefits to people of animal companionship.