pet adoptions
Reece the cat will be available for adoption when the Lake County Animal Shelter hosts its Hot Dogs, Cool Cats event on Saturday.

TAVARES — This weekend, the Lake County Animal Shelter will be opening its doors to the public, encouraging people to stop by and find a new family member to take home.

The shelter and the nonprofit group L.E.A.S.H., Inc. are sponsoring “Hot Dogs, Cool Cats,” on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the shelter at 28123 County Road 561 in Tavares. There will be family events throughout the day, free hot dogs and popsicles, and, most importantly, pet adoptions at no cost.

“Summer is a wonderful season for families to consider adopting a pet,” the shelter noted in a news release. “Children are home from school and are able to spend time bonding and caring for their new best friend. In fact, having a family dog can benefit a child’s emotional intelligence.”

The shelter cited a study, “The Role of Pets in Enhancing Human Well-being: Effects on Child Development,” which indicated that pets can help children by increasing their self-esteem and compassion, helping children feel more accepted, improving their cognitive development, lessening stress and contributing to overall happiness and health.

This pet adoption event is being sponsored by L.E.A.S.H., which is based in Lake County that directly benefits shelter animals in need.

Also this weekend, in an effort to continue promoting new pet adoptions, the shelter will begin opening on Sundays beginning Aug. 6. The shelter’s Sunday hours will be 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and staffed mainly by dedicated volunteers.

“Increasing hours in just one of the many ways we are working to make visiting the shelter a more pleasant and convenient experience,” said Whitney Boylston, manager of the Lake County Animal Shelter. “Through these efforts and with support, we have successfully doubled adoptions over this time last year.”

The problem, she added, is that “the shelter’s intake of stray and unwanted animals has also increased dramatically. We hope that offering extended hours will allow even more visitors to come to the shelter to meet their new best friend.”

In July, Boylston noted, the shelter took in 644 animals, an increase of nearly 100 more animals compared to July 2016.

On the bright side, she added, the shelter has managed to find homes for 413 pets in July, returning 85 to their owners and sending 33 to rescue organizations.

“Getting 531 animals out the front door in less than one month is a testament to the wonderful and widespread support we have received since undertaking the No Kill mission in January,” Boylston said. “We understand we cannot do this alone, and continue to call on Lake County residents, volunteers, rescues and non-profits to help support our homeless animals.”

The shelter is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and now Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for adoptions only.

To learn more about the Lake County Animal Shelter, or to adopt or volunteer, call 352-343-9688 or visit The Lake County government website.

For the most up-to-date information and photos of adoptable animals, follow the shelter on Facebook at Lake County Animal Shelter’s Facebook page and Twitter at Lake County Aniimal Shelter Twitter page

To learn more about helping L.E.A.S.H., visit L.E.A.S.H., the LEASH facebook page, or call 352-340-3803.

Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright and author of the book “Bloody Rabbit”. Contact him at

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