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Pet adoption a success

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By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

By all measures the Levy County Animal Services adoption event on Saturday was a great success as 16 dogs and seven cats and kitties went home to new owners. 

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The event, held at Tractor Supply Co. in Chiefland with the cooperation of manager Chad Ekker and the staff, got off to a great start as people were waiting in line when the animals arrived for the 9 a.m. opening. It was so popular, more dogs had to be brought from the shelter to replace those that went early. 

The success means the county's pet agency is already planning a future adoption event in September in Chiefland and later in Williston. Several people at Saturday's event remarked that to was nice to have the event in Chiefland on a Saturday. The county's shelter is now open between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the landfill station south of Bronson off County Road 335.

But Animal Services Director David Weatherford has said some changes are coming in the way the agency operates. 

It was Weatherford, his staff, and animal advocate Crystal Marie Bell, County Commissioner Ryan Bell's wife, who planned and organized the adoption event as a way to take stress off the constantly full shelter. Weatherford said events like the mass adoption can prevent him and his staff from having to kill unwanted animals that are surrendered or dumped at the shelter, or taken in because they are nuisances.

But it only provided temporary relief as the shelter was reporting on Tuesday that only two slots remained open at the shelter. “It's never ending,” one worker said. 

The county commission had dropped the fees for the adoption event to rock bottom pricing to cover the spaying and neutering charges, and if a pet came in to the shelter already altered, it was available at no charge at the event. 

While the animals featured in last week's Citizen were being held for the Saturday event, County Coordinator Fred Moody approved two early adoptions for county employees — one in his office and another in the County Clerk's Office because both would be out of town the day of the adoption event.

Moody said Animal Services may possibly have more operating changes that will come about in next year's budget. This year's budget for the department is $283,237.

The department is looking to replace one worker who is leaving with a veterinarian, thus cutting the $6,500 budget for veterinary services. Weatherford said this will mean a vet will be available when an injured animal is brought to the shelter and will end the problem of having to check whether new owners have lived up to the agreement to spay or neuter their adoptee within 30 days. 

Such was the case when an animal was picked up by a worker on July 4 who was injured. The worked kenneled the dog, and it was examined by a vet when the shelter reopened on July 7, but it had to be put down because the shoulder injury was too severe, Moody said. 

To contact the department about adopting a pet, call 352-486-5138 or visit the shelter at 12055 N.E. 69th Lane, 

Bronson.