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Stray animals are group's pet project

(ran PC edition)

Linda Hamilton, president of the Animal Coalition of Tampa, knows there are many ways to control animal overpopulation. Killing isn't one of them, she says.

"Our mission has always been to end the practice of euthanasia as a means of controlling pet populations," she said.

On Saturday, local animal rescue organizations will participate in the third annual Stride for Strays fundraiser for homeless pets. It will be held at Upper Tampa Bay Regional Park, off Hillsborough Avenue between Memorial Highway and Racetrack Road.

Events run from 8 a.m. to noon, with a 1-mile nature walk beginning at 9:15 a.m. Pets are welcome to attend. Activities for dogs will include Frisbee games, a pet wash, an agility course and contests.

Hamilton, chairwoman of the fundraiser, said she hopes to raise $30,000. Proceeds will go toward pet control projects, such as trapping and sterilizing feral cats and returning them to their environment. The money also will help cover operational costs, such as providing pet owners' transportation to get their animals spayed or neutered.

The event will benefit other animal rescue organizations, such as No More Homeless Pets in Tampa, which works with groups nationwide to make spaying and neutering more affordable.

Participants are asked to give a minimum donation of $15. Those who make a $100 donation or more will be entered in a drawing for a cruise or a round-trip plane ticket on Southwest to a location of the winner's choice.

For more information, call Hamilton at (813) 818-9381.