Hot Dogs, Cool Cats pet adoption program
TAVARES — Mark this down if you match all three criteria.

First, if you love weekend events with food and other activities.

Second, if you love cats and dogs, and have been thinking about getting a new pet.

And third, if you love meeting other people who love pets.

If you checked off all three, there’s an event on Saturday that’s ideal for you.

On Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Lake County Animal Shelter is hosting “Hot Dogs, Cool Cats,” a special pet adoption party for the general public. The shelter is already promising that this will be “the hottest event of the summer!”

“Hot Dogs, Cool Cats” is on ongoing event to help find more homes for the animals now at the shelter. During the day there will be free pet adoptions, plus hot dogs and popsicles courtesy of LEASH, Inc., a non-profit volunteer organization that works to help the shelter and to find homes for stray animals.

“Summer is the ideal time for families to consider adopting a pet,” Shelter Director Whitney Boylston said in a news release. “Children are home from school and are able to spend quality time with their new best friend. Research suggests that having a pet helps kids increase self-esteem and compassion, among other positive effects.”

This event will also be held on Aug. 11 at the shelter at 28123 County Road 561, Tavares.

That shelter was built in 1994, but the 13,000 square foot facility is considered too small and has been overcrowded. The shelter has also had faulty air conditioning problems in recent years.

In April, the Lake County Commission voted to approve the construction of a new animal shelter, which will be financed by a one-cent sales tax that voters reauthorized in 2015.

The commission also adopted a no-kill policy for the Lake County Animal Shelter, where animals are only euthanized if they are too sick or too aggressive to be adopted. Instead, the county has pushed for a strong adoption program to find homes for stray cats and dogs.

The policy has been working, and the county has placed more than 3,700 pets in recent years. But the shelter remains full and employees are hosting events like “Hot Dog, Cool Cats” to place even more of the animals now living there.

The new shelter will be double the size of the current building to 26,667 square feet. It’s expected to cost around $8 million to build.

To find out more about the Lake County Animal Shelter, or to adopt or volunteer, call 352-343-9688 or visit Lake County government’s website.

You can also learn the most up-to-date information and see photos of adoptable animals by following the shelter on Facebook and Twitter.

Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright and author of the book “Of Cats And Wolves.” Contact him at

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