Bailee Smith rescued a puppy off the streets after she followed her home every day for two weeks.
“I noticed she was homeless when she would follow me around my apartment complex but not get too close when I tried to call her. I had to build trust every day,” said Smith, a Tallahassee Community College student from Polk County. “I knew she chose me when I started putting a bowl of water in the streets for her and then I opened my front door one day and she was there waiting.”
Smith grew up around dogs as a child but realizes the expense to care for an animal can be a financial burden as a college student.
Leon County provides several ways to adopt or foster a homeless pet. Private organizations like Leon County Humane Society provides health vouchers and food pantries for residents and students in North Florida and South Georgia that are concerned about the financial responsibility of caring for a pet.
“The biggest issue is overpopulation and lack of education,” said Lisa Glunt, executive director of Leon County Humane Society. “We get pets dropped off every day looking for emergency or basic health care but more importantly a safe home.
“We have seen the homeless pet population grow within the last two years and I believe it’s lack of education on the importance to spade and neuter your pet,” she added.
LCHS is a non-kill organization funded by donations and staffed by volunteers. They work closely with the Tallahassee Animal Shelter for limited space but the concern to euthanize is what brings residents to stop by LCHS first. The statistics on talgov.com/animals show that out of the 804 incoming pets in July 2018 that over 300 animals were euthanized and over 400 pets were adopted from the Tallahassee Animal Shelter. There are hundreds of students who volunteer at these organizations to help with the need to foster or adopt homeless pets.
“I have volunteered at the Humane Society back home in Miami and was encouraged to adopt a shelter dog who had a 50 percent chance to live.,” said Samantha Kaplan, a Florida State University communications student.
“My dog is healthy now and he was in bad shape with having a virus while living in terrible conditions. These animals deserve to be saved.”
Over 8 million pets are homeless in America. Only 3 million are adopted every year. The rise in the homeless pet population has caused big corporations like PetSmart to host a national adoption weekend this month. Animal lovers in Tallahassee can adopt a pet on Sept. 14-15 at 505 Apalachee Parkway.