TAVARES — If you’ve been thinking about adopting a new cat or dog, mark your calendar.
The folks at the Lake County Animal Shelter will be hosting their annual “Hot Dogs, Cool Cats” summer pet adoption celebration on Saturday, July 13 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the shelter located at 28123 County Road 561, Tavares.
Whitney Boylston, director of the shelter, promised it would be a fun-filled event that also gives families free pet adoptions throughout the day.
What’s Happening At Hot Dogs, Cool Cats?
Being a celebration, there will also be free hot dogs and popsicles from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., courtesy of LEASH, Inc., the 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,” Boylston said. “Our free event will give local families the opportunity to spend quality time with their new best friend this summer, while the kids are home from school.”
“Hot Dogs, Cool Cats” has been an ongoing event that the Animal Shelter sponsors each summer, as a way to help find more homes for the animals now at the shelter.
Boylston has also noted that adopting pets is good for children, since research indicates that having a pet helps young ones increase self-esteem and compassion.
What’s New At the Animal Shelter?
Built in 1994, the 13,000 square foot shelter has outlived its usefulness, and for the past few years has been considered too small to meet the needs of the county’s stray animal population. The shelter has faced a consistent overcrowding problem, and has also been plagued by faulty air conditioning in recent years, an especially dangerous situation in the summer months for the pets staying there.
Last year, 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 there continue hosting events like “Hot Dog, Cool Cats” in an effort to place even more of the animals now living there into good homes.
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.
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright and author of the book “Of Cats And Wolves.” Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.