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Letter writer says Manatee County needs new animal shelter

As Manatee County considers building a new animal shelter in East County, some letter writers back public-private partnerships.

With Nate's Honor Animal Rescue expanding in Lakewood Ranch, would the county be  smart to try to establish a public-private partnership with the nonprofit?
With Nate's Honor Animal Rescue expanding in Lakewood Ranch, would the county be smart to try to establish a public-private partnership with the nonprofit?
  • East County
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Manatee County needs new animal shelter


In a July 22 opinion piece ("County should slow down on pet project"), Observer Managing Editor Jay Heater promoted the idea that, with the Bishop animal shelter donation, Manatee County forego building a new animal shelter and, instead, turn to more public-private partnerships.

Yes, such partnerships are a piece of the puzzle but not the sole solution to the county’s rapidly growing need for animal services. The delivery of animal services is very complex. There are national standards for facility design, staffing levels and overall capacity for delivering humane care to shelter animals.

Even with the additional capacity of Bishop’s facilities, both existing and planned, Manatee County’s total delivery of animal services will not meet these standards. A new facility replacing the existing county animal shelter, which most board commissioners have said should be demolished, is needed.

As a concerned citizen, I have asked county commissioners to pause before nixing the idea of a new shelter, and to do three things. One, keep the $6 million dollars budgeted. Two, have Animal Services deliver a plan for integrating Bishop into the county’s animal services operations. And, three, have Animal Services deliver to the commissioners for consideration a long-term vision and strategic plan for the future of animal services delivery in Manatee County.

This plan would factor in the county’s rapid human and companion animal population growth, the evolutionary changes in today’s animal service industry’s best practices and standards, and the ways in which the county and local non-profit animal rescues can best work together to deliver quality animal services to county residents and their companion animals.


Teri Bridge

East County


Editor's note: The column noted that commissioners should wait until determining whether the addition of the donated facility "plus" the renovation of the current facility will be enough to serve the county needs.



Don't forget dog and cat rescue groups


Good discussion ("County should slow down on pet project") regarding the additional county animal shelter. I was hoping to see somewhere in the article in addition to the privately owned and operated volunteer animal shelters, some mention of the various dog and cat breed rescue groups.

I have been involved in golden retriever rescue for the last 20 years in California, Illinois, New Mexico, Michigan and now southwest Florida. Each of the groups I became a part of were very organized and well staffed — completely by volunteers.

I can’t even begin to add up all of the miles we have put on our little RAV4 traveling here and there, ferrying around our furry friends from one place to another. Perhaps if you do a follow-up, you can highlight these volunteer groups?


Rick Schuknecht

Bradenton, FL


County has excellent rescue facilities


Excellent article ("County should slow down on pet project").  I agree with all you said.  I volunteer at Humane Society at Lakewood Ranch and it is a fantastic facility.  I wouldn't mind living there!  We raise our own funds and do as well as can be expected.

Thank you for shedding light on this.


Eileen O'Neill

East County


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