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County Improves Living Conditions for Shelter Animals

New bedding, treats and music reduce the stress level of dogs and cats at Pinellas County Animal Services.

Piped classical music, a comfortable bed, and a personal chew toy filled with peanut butter are some of the recent improvements, to make life better for dogs at

"The increased level of enrichment and care () reduces the stress level of the animals, which improves medical and behavioral health and therefore adoptability," said Caroline Thomas, the Director of Veterinary Medicine at Animal Services.

All of the shelter's dogs can now rest on Kuranda beds. The orthopedic beds are chew proof and easy to clean. Plus, each dog gets a personal Kong chew toy, which goes home with the dog when it's adopted.

"The beds are easier on the paws and pressure points. They give the dogs somewhere soft to lay down. They are easier to wash and pretty indestructible," Thomas said.

Plus, classical music such as Bach and Beethoven will soon play in the background to help keep the animals calmer and less stressed, said Tyson Youts, who coordinates adoptions at the shelter.

Comfort for Cats

Life has improved for the felines as well. The metal cages are gone. Now the cats have crisp, white cubbies with windows and perches. Plus cube separators can be lifted so cats could have the option to move from cube to cube. 

The feline area will be overflowing soon with adoptable cats. It's spring kitten season.  Youts holds a thick stack of sheets representing more than 100 kittens. Volunteers are fostering the felines until they are old enough to come to the shelter, Youts said.

Campus Improvements

More improvements are on the way for the Animal Service's campus. A local Boy Scout troop is adding more flowering plants and benches. A special walking area is being built so animals with colds or other contagious diseases can get out for exercise, too.

Inside, The detailed portraits add beauty and color to the otherwise plain white walls.

Social media is helping at Animal Services, too. Facebook and new nightly video of the dogs and cats available for adoption help get the word out about available animals.

The improvements at Animal Services were made possible through donations to the Animal Welfare Trust Fund. Volunteers, especially dog walkers are also needed.

Mary Sault April 26, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Thank you so much for this article!
ava April 28, 2012 at 01:11 PM
PCAS exists because of the failings of our society and we should support them in anyway we can. “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” ~Mahatma Gandhi

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