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Community comes to pets' rescue in East County

Humane Society and Nate's Honor Animal Rescue keep trying to find homes for their pets during COVID-19 threat.

Kim Spruance, a Greyhawk Landing resident, kisses her new puppy, Bonita Chica.
Kim Spruance, a Greyhawk Landing resident, kisses her new puppy, Bonita Chica.
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GreyHawk Landing resident Kim Spruance stared at Lila, a Chihuahua mix, through a glass door while visiting the Humane Society at Lakewood Ranch on March 13.

Lila stared back at her.

“It was like she said, ‘Mama,’” Spruance said.

Spruance returned to the shelter March 27 to hold Lila for the first time and adopt her.

Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue and the Humane Society at Lakewood Ranch have had dozens of people come in to adopt or foster animals in the past two weeks.

Some people had planned on adopting an animal while others are considering adding an animal to the family or fostering because they are home more due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Spruance had been planning on adopting Lila, whom she has decided to rename Bonita Chica, before concerns over the coronavirus grew in Manatee County. She had lost her husband of 42 years, Lew, in January, and then her 12-year-old dog died March 2.

“I’m looking forward to having a puppy,” Spruance said. “The house is so quiet, and I’m bored and lonely. I’ll have to teach her to swim because I have a pool.”

From March 16-21, Nate’s Honor had 62 adoptions, and by March 21, the rescue only had three animals not adopted because they have special needs.

“I think we did a really good job of preparing and getting all the animals out of the shelter while at the same time keeping everybody safe,” said Dari Oglesby, executive director of Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue.

Oglesby said the rescue has seen an increase in the number of people wanting to adopt or foster animals because COVID-19 has caused people to stay indoors.

“We’re very careful to make sure that the people adopting were looking for a pet to begin with and weren’t doing it just because they were bored at home,” Oglesby said. “We want them to keep those animals.”

The Humane Society of Lakewood Ranch has seen a decrease in people coming to the shelter for possible adoptions.

“Usually, we’re inundated, and now we might get a handful of people in during our open hours,” said Cindy Jackson, an executive board member.

As of March 27, the Humane Society of Lakewood Ranch had 12 dogs and five cats at the shelter.

The shelter remains open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday but is following all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Staff members only allow a maximum of four people into the shelter at a time to look at animals. During meet-and-greets with the animals, staff members stay 6 feet from those meeting the animals.


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