LAKEWOOD RANCH — One look at Honey, a tan colored mutt who lay nursing 10 black puppies, and Autumn Solomon can’t resist a smile.
The dog was a day away from being euthanized when she was rescued from a local shelter.
Moments like these are the ones that keep Solomon going when the work of animal rescue is difficult to handle.
Solomon and her friend Debbie Rubin this month launched the Humane Society of Lakewood Ranch, a new animal rescue group aimed at providing spay/neuter services, education and animal rescue targeting high-risk animals. With a team of about 30 volunteers already in place, the organization already has started pulling dogs, such as Honey, from local shelters.
“We recognized a need in county — that there was a lack of services,” said Solomon, the new group’s president. “Honor Sanctuary does a wonderful job. They don’t target those high-risk animals. That’s where we felt we were going to fill a big need.
“We have a no kill philosophy,” she said. “Everything encompasses that.”
The group initially will take animals from local pounds and place them with foster families until they can be placed in a permanent home. Eventually, they’d like to offer spay/neuter services, as well as educational programming to raise awareness in the community about the organization and about the importance of spaying and neutering.
“This all comes down to the fact (in Manatee County) 1,200 dogs were killed last year,” Rubin said. “That’s just the dogs — cats were 1,700. It’s only due to overpopulation.”
Although the rescue’s primary focus will be saving animals from being euthanized, the group also will take owner surrenders and other rescued animals.
Organizers even are planning to make sure the most un-adoptable of pets have homes. Solomon said there are a few organizations in Florida and throughout the country that take only un-adoptable animals. Animals that cannot be adopted would be transported to one of those facilities.
“At all costs, we are going to ensure their lives are protected,” Solomon said.
Both Solomon and Rubin, vice president, already have started forming partnerships with local businesses, rescue groups, veterinarians and others to promote their cause. They also plan to launch a capital campaign — with a short-term goal of about $25,000 and a long-term goal of more than $1 million — in mid-January.
Solomon said organizers already are looking at potential properties to purchase in the future.
Contact Pam Eubanks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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