Protesters want more animals saved at Manatee shelter - FOX 13 News

Protesters want more animals saved at Manatee shelter

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BRADENTON (FOX 13) -

Protestors made their voices heard, their cries aimed squarely at the Manatee County Animal Shelter.

"We're trying to keep Manatee County from putting down the animals," said Tricia Freeman, the organizer.

Two years ago, it adopted a no-kill philosophy in an effort to save as many animals as possible. But the folks protesting in downtown Bradenton say the shelter is far from no-kill.

"These animals can't be heard, they can bark but we feel their pain," Freeman said.

"No kill doesn't mean zero-kill. That's a common misperception, no-kill is a philosophy, it's simply a concept," said Ron Koper.

Koper heads up Public Safety. He says despite space issues and a constant stream of animals coming in, the shelter's save rate has steadily improved.

"Since 2011, when our save rate was 56 percent, we've increased steadily in 2012. We reached 76. At this last fiscal year, we reached 86 percent," he said.

The goal is a 90 percent save rate.

"When we are faced with space issues, we go through the shelter and we have to make very difficult decisions," he said.

He says it's not uncommon to take in 12 animals a day, with only six getting adopted out.

Still, these folks want to see improvement and point out Michelle, a former shelter dog, as a poster child for the type of results they're looking for.

"These dogs are our best friends and they and help the community in a lot ways. There's no reason to put these dogs down," Freeman said.

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