Hundreds of the Bay area's homeless pets are hoping you will attend a special event Saturday hosted by several large animal welfare organizations, including a coalition of more than 50 rescue groups.
The Tampa Pet Adoption Expo from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. will have animals of all sorts looking for permanent homes - dogs and cats, puppies and kittens, bunnies, guinea pigs and parrots. Admission is free, and parking is $5 per car.
The expo will be held at the Special Events Center at the Florida State Fairgrounds. It's sponsored by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in partnership with the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, Hillsborough County Animal Services and TampaPets.org, the coalition of rescue groups.
"In the five years from 2005 through 2009, our partnership has increased the number of homeless pets saved in our community by 41.6 percent," says Cory Cooper, president of TampaPets.org. "Adoption and transfers to no-kill rescues has risen 119 percent, and euthanasia is down 39 percent."
Cooper credits the vision and grants provided by the ASPCA and the commitment and cooperation between the partners and the rescue community.
All of the expo's adoptable pets have been spayed or neutered, vaccinated and had their health checked, and adopted cats and dogs will receive free Hillsborough County tags. Jimmy Buffet-themed booths and music will give the expo a festive air, and pet browsers can also check out vendors with specialty goods.
This year, the partnership's goal is to reduce euthanasia of adoptable pets by 50 percent, Cooper says, "and we are happily ahead of schedule."
"The fate of the innocent, individual lives is changed in a moment when a caring family takes them home," he says.
Event sponsors include Subaru, Fresh Step, Dyson, Q105, The New Barker and Busch Gardens, which will do their part to ensure the expo is as fun as it is effective.
For information, visit www.TampaPets.org or call Lisa at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, (813) 367-2078.