Campaign aims to save pets

Charlie, a full-grown American bulldog, waits for some attention at the Downtown Community Plaza on Wednesday during the "Make My Day" campaign kickoff party.

CHRISTINA STUART/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Thursday, July 1, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 1, 2004 at 12:53 a.m.
Sampson and Domino don't have homes, but their puppy charm is irresistible.
"They're definitely lovable. I want to take one home," said John Kincaid, 9, who with his sister, Jamie Ward, 3, gave them as much attention as they could Wednesday afternoon.
The 10-week-old Samoyed/Labrador-mixed puppies were pampered with hugs at the "Make My Day" campaign kickoff party at the Downtown Community Plaza in Gainesville.
The campaign is a two-year community effort spearheaded by Maddie's Pet Rescue Project of Alachua County in order to increase awareness of the organization's mission to end the killing of healthy, adoptable shelter animals.
Dozens of residents, pet rescue volunteers and city and county officials turned out for the event, which began at 4 p.m. and included musicians, jugglers and more.
Local pet rescue groups - such as the Gainesville Pet Rescue, Helping Hands Animal Rescue and the Puppy Hill Farm - are working to make Gainesville a "no-kill" community by June 30, 2006.
The community's support will be a major factor in the success of the campaign, said Jennifer Glymph, a project spokeswoman.
"These animals are needlessly killed," Glymph said. "It's hard on those who work in shelters to get these animals, become attached and then have to put them down because they are not adopted."
Sheltering and euthanizing animals is costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayers' money - a cost that could be alleviated if more people adopted pets, Glymph said.
In 2000, area animal control agencies killed 8,062 dogs and cats - 3,664 of those animals were healthy and adoptable, according to project coordinators.
Thanks to area pet rescue groups' efforts, the killing of healthy and adoptable pets since 2000 has decreased and pet adoption rates have gone up, according to Alachua County Humane Society Executive Director Bob Grant.Alachua County Commissioner Mike Byerly said he thinks reducing animal euthanasia will help make animals and humans happier and healthier.
"It's vital that the community gets involved and help put these animals into loving homes," Alachua County Commissioner Mike Byerly said. "We're (the County Commission) in this for the long haul."
Deborah Ball can be reached at (352) 338-3103.

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