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Gasparilla beads can aid homeless animals

A local animal rescue group wants to breathe new life into your old Gasparilla beads _ and make money to care for homeless animals at the same time.

The beads, which will be attached to a clay dog or cat medallion, will be sold back to parade participants and paradegoers for $5. All you have to do is take them off your rearview mirror and hand them over.

The parade is Saturday.

Drop off locations for beads are at Petco, 13127 N Dale Mabry Highway; Petco, 136 S West Shore Blvd.; Humane Society of Tampa Bay 3606 N Armenia Ave. and its satellite center, 1608 Snow Ave. in Old Hyde Park Village.

"We're doing this as a fundraiser and a marketing tool," said Megan Newman, coalition coordinator for No More Homeless Pets in Hillsborough County.

The group also is sponsoring a Valentine's Day pet adoptathon, Saturday, Feb. 14 at Centro Ybor, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

"We want you to adopt the love of your life," said Newman who hopes the event will encourage people to bring a little love into their lives in the form of a new four-legged member of the family.

Dogs, cats, puppies and kittens from every breed, age, color and size will be waiting for their new families.

The event features more than 20 local shelters and groups that rescue stray and unwanted animals and find them loving new homes.

No More Homeless Pets is a coalition of animal welfare groups and individuals who have come together to end euthanasia of healthy, adoptable animals.

Newman said some organizations will adopt animals that day while others will take applications. Anyone interested in adopting a pet should bring proof of home ownership or a letter stating the landlord or apartment management will allow a pet.

For more information visit the organization's Web site at www.nmhp-hc.org or call (813) 818-9381.

_ Jackie Ripley can be reached at (813) 269-5308 or ripleysptimes.com.

No More Homeless Pets in Hillsborough County hopes to collect donated beads and resell them to groups participating in the Gasparilla parade after attaching a dog or cat medallion to each strand.

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