Chief of Manatee Animal Services Kris Weiskopf
The five services mentioned above are among the key elements of becoming a "no kill" community, according to Nathan Winograd, founder of the "no kill" movement that refers to euthanasia only of animals who are terminally ill, injured or vicious. By contrast, most shelters systematically kill cats and dogs because of space limitations.
ARC's main contribution to Manatee County's "no kill" effort is its work in targeting trap-neuter-return of feral cats in Myakka City, a rural community in eastern Manatee County. ARC also provides low-cost spay/neuter surgeries through its mobile clinic.
Weiskopf began exploring how to convert Manatee County's animal shelter to a "no kill" facility several years ago after attending a seminar by Winograd. "We had talked about this for the last few years, but we had taken only teeny-tiny steps to make things better," Weiskopf says. "Now, we have a basic plan that includes the eleven key components."
The most important part of the "no kill" effort, Weiskopf says, is to "not need to have the animals here in the first place." Foster homes for animals are one of the most effective ways to prevent animals from making it to the county's animal shelter. Low-cost spay/neuter surgeries for companion animals and TNR are also essential.
His goal under the "no kill" plan, approved in resolution form Oct. 12 by the Manatee County Commission, is to have 90 percent of animals at the shelter released to loving homes by the end of 2012. Already, the county has improved its live release rate from 35 percent last June to 61 percent in August.
Another significant aspect of Manatee's "no kill" effort is the recent opening of its adoption facility at 1002 B Manatee Avenue West.
There are many people who deserve credit for bringing about Manatee County's commitment to no-kill. County Commissioner Carol Whitmore has been working on the "no-kill" issue for three years. The Manatee County Animal Services Advisory Board brought the resolution to the commission. The County's Director of Public Safety, Bill Hutchison, supported and encouraged the no-kill policy.
"We're all pumped up to make this happen," Weiskopf says.
If you don't live in Manatee County and want to inspire a "no kill" movement in your community, click here.