The Manatee County Animal Shelter Needs Your Help!

shelter manatee bradenton animal

“The greatness of a society is measured by how it treats its weakest members”

The lost and unwanted pets in Manatee County need our help!

As the only open-admission shelter in the county, the Manatee County Animal Shelter must accept all stray animals that are brought in to the facility. The original shelter was built in the 1940s as a dog pound. It was renovated in 1980 and, for the past 33 years, has been relatively untouched. Unfortunately, the facility has deteriorated and is in desperate need of replacement.

Not only is the shelter in poor condition, but it’s also incredibly over-crowded. While it was originally designed to hold 80 dogs and 50 cats, it often houses as many as 180 dogs and 100 cats. With the population of Manatee county growing by approximately 10,000 new permanent residents every year, this problem is only going to continue getting worse.

The Manatee County Animal Shelter is a “No Kill” shelter, meaning that at least 90 percent of the adoptable animals that come through their doors are saved. According to Manatee County Animal Services Chief Sarah Brown, the 2019 fiscal year saw a 95 percent save rate. Each year, over 4,000 stray pets are given a home. Some are found by their owners, some are adopted into new homes, and others are transferred to local animal welfare shelters. However, there are still far too many that must call this shelter home (at least for now).

Outdoor kennels with makeshift sunshades.
The Shelter’s laundry room.

According to shelter officials, there are many other serious problems with the facility. This includes ventilation issues, plumbing problems, water leaks, problems with the kennels, and more. It’s time for a change!

In April of 2019, county commissioners voted to allocate $8M to build a new shelter. However, following thorough research, it was indicated that this might not be enough to build a shelter that would support the county’s needs for decades to come. In response, Animal Network, Inc. stepped up and initiated the Shelter Manatee Capital Campaign. They’re working to provide donations of at least $2M to support the initial $8M allocation by the county, providing a total $10M budget for the new shelter.

So far, they have reached 10 percent of their goal. We can do better than this!

How You Can Help

Donations are needed as soon as possible — by the end of 2020 at the latest. There are many ways you can contribute, and every little bit helps.

Start by heading out to the Yappy Hour Pet Extravaganza at Motorworks Brewing (1014 9th St W, Bradenton) on Sunday, January 19th from 1 pm until 4 pm. During this celebratory fundraiser, you can support the cause by purchasing tickets for raffle baskets, bidding on silent auction items, or participating in the 50/50 split drawing. Dogs on leashes and with current vaccinations are very welcome, so mark your calendars and plan to bring your furry friends.

You can also visit the website,, to learn more about the project and make a donation. On November 7, 2019, the Bill and Maryann Vinall Fund of the Manatee Community Foundation donated $100,000 as a matching grant to Shelter Manatee. In order to receive the grant amount, Shelter Manatee has to raise an equal amount ($100,00). This means that any donations you make will be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to $100,000. If you’re over 70 1/2 and must take a required minimum distribution from your retirement account (IRA, SEP, SIMPLE) you can donate these distributions to Shelter Manatee. Ask your financial institution how!

Whether you choose to donate, volunteer, foster, or simply help spread the word, any efforts you make will be greatly appreciated by our county’s most vulnerable animals. Don’t forget to follow Shelter Manatee on Facebook so you can keep up with all the latest news!

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