At a time when every pet rescue organization is desperately trying to find homes for adoptable animals, it makes sense to team up whenever possible. That's the idea behind two separate efforts today and Sunday that organizers hope will result in more adoptions.
Today, Hernando County Animal Control and the Humane Society of the Nature Coast will team up with Elks Lodge 2582 for an event that brings the added incentive of reduced fees for anyone wanting to adopt a cat or dog from either agency.
During the event, which will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Elks Lodge at 14494 Cortez Blvd., west of Brooksville, all adoption fees will be half the regular cost ($25 and for dogs and $20 for cats), and a voucher will be issued to each pet adopter in order to receive a complete refund upon proof of spay or neutering.
Elks Lodge treasurer Paul Stark said his organization has established a $2,000 grant that will help defray costs up to $25 for every pet adopted as a result of the event. The unused portion of the money will be split between the two agencies to help with veterinarian and medical costs.
Humane Society director Joanne Schoch said that anytime the county shelter or her agency can lower the cost of pet adoptions, more animals are saved from euthanasia.
"For many people, reducing the cost to adopt might be the deciding factor on whether or not they want to bring a pet into their home," Schoch said. "Hopefully, this event will provide a little boost to get them to make that decision."
Schoch said the idea of holding the joint event came after a meeting with the county's newly hired full-time Animal Services veterinarian, Lisa Centonze. Both women wanted to come up with ways to better inform the public that the county shelter has an abundance of adoptable pets. Schoch said she also hoped such an event would help combat the negative image the shelter got after the euthanizing of an owner-surrendered young dog named Zeus last April.
"It's a good operation, and the people who work there really are very caring," Schoch said. "We in the animal community need every helpful hand we can get."
In addition to today's event, the Animal Rescue Friends Network, a volunteer group dedicated to finding homes for pets at the county shelter, will hold an adoption showcase from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the PetLuv Non-Profit Spay & Neuter Clinic in Brooksville.
According to animal control volunteer Susanne Whelan, the event will have somewhat of a festival feel, with vendors, raffles, a bake sale and DJ music, plus a dog-kissing booth. About 10 rescue groups have agreed to participate.
"It's going to a fun event," Whalen said. "People who come will be able to leave with a lifelong friend."
Logan Neill can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1435.