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Escambia County Seeks Help To Establish A No-Kill Animal Shelter

Last August, Danielle Riggens called the Escambia County Animal Shelter to arrange pick up of her dog and found out that he had been euthanized my mistake. Since then there have been changes in management of the shelter and now an outside group is being asked to come in and help make the facility a no-kill shelter.

Target Zero Institute is an organization based in Jacksonville who's goal is to turn animal shelters in the communities they help into no-kill shelters.  That's defined as making sure that 90 percent of animals who enter a shelter, leave the shelter alive. She says officials from Escambia County and the Pensacola humane Society came to them for help and advice.

The latest figures available show only 40 percent of animals leave the Escambia County shelter alive.   Sarah Humlie, managing director of the Pensacola Humane Society says while the percentage of animals at the shelter being put down has been shrinking, the shelter still takes in over 10 thousand animals a year.

Target Zero is hoping to be a part of the solution to that problem.  At last week's committee of the whole meeting of the Escambia County Commission, Nicole Brose, the assistant director of TZI put on a presentation for the committee. She spoke of success stories the group has had in Targte Zero Fellow communities like Waco, Texas and Brevard County, Florida.

Target Zero Fellows are communities that have applied for help from the group and have been accepted under TZI's grant guidelines.  Currently there are five fellows and at last week's committee of the whole meeting, Nicole Brose said they were excited about working with another Florida community.

The commissioners at the committee of the whole meeting seemed receptive to Target Zeros' presentation.  District 4 commissioner Grover Robinson pointed out that one of the biggest concerns for the area is the large population of feral cats.  He also pointed out the need for more adoptions from the shelter.

In the end the committee voted to bring the resolution to continue the county's relationship with Target Zero to the full County Commission.  That was approved at Thursday evening's meeting. 

Bob Barrett has been a radio broadcaster since the mid 1970s and has worked at stations from northern New York to south Florida and, oddly, has been able to make a living that way. He began work in public radio in 2001. Over the years he has produced nationally syndicated programs such as The Environment Show and The Health Show for Northeast Public Radio's National Productions.