You've seen them. Sitting on the side of a country road looking lost and forlorn. You pass, knowing that the animal has been well cared for and kept because it's coat is still shiny and it has the plumpness of having been recently fed. But deep down you know that this animal has been abandoned like so many other each year in Gadsden County.
Scenes like that are what the Gadsden County Humane Society want to prevent. They want to spread the word that there's someone here to help before it get to the point that animals are abandoned.
"We have to start in schools because we want children to help educate their parents. But it is very difficult, they are focused on the FCAT right now. We want to offer Humane Education and we want to do it through the school, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and other social groups," said Michelle Vaught, of the Gadsden County Humane Society.
The basic problem in Gadsden County, according to Vaught, is that people here don't know how to take care of their animals. Because of cultural issues including poverty, unemployment and education, Vaught said, some people in Gadsden County are difficult to reach.
And the problem is compounded because there are only two animal control officers for the entire county. There is also no animal shelter.
The Gadsden County Humane Society is made up of abut 25 very active members most of whom come from Tallahassee, is in the process of raising money to help those who cannot afford it pay veterinarian bills and pay the cost of animal treatment for ailments such as heart worms, etc, according to Vaught.
"Families want to keep the animals they have at home. We're working with about 10 different families, some have one animal and some have multiple animals. We exist to try to help anyone and we work so that were can do that," Vaught said.
To help raise money volunteers will work six to eight hours this weekend as vendors at the Florida State University Garnet and Gold football game. In 2001 the organization received a small grant but it hardly scratched the surface for neutering and spaying animals, which is the biggest issue for local animal owners.
"The average cost to spay is between $150 to $300 and between $75 to $150 to neuter animals. That can be costly to a person who is on fixed or low income. We're trying to reach that target audience in the community who want to keep their animals but are unable to have them spayed or neutered," Vaught said.
The organization is also looking for people who will become foster caregivers for animals. To volunteer to foster a dog or cat until they are adopted, or to find out more about how you can help, call 539-0505 or go to www.gadsdenhumane.org.