TAVARES, Fla. — After a year when the Lake County Animal Shelter’s intake was down by 1,000 pets, the shelter has introduced a new program this summer to find homes for shelter animals because admissions rates have returned to levels reported before the COVID-19 pandemic.

What You Need To Know

  • Lake County Animal Services, Library create program to boost pet adoptions 

  • Pets will be taken to each library to make available for adoption

  • More animals are being returned to the animal shelter this year

  • The program could help children improve reading, too, library officials say

Lotti, 8 years old, is happy to show off her toys, and she loves attention.

“I would say that Lotti’s probably the perfect dog,” Lake County Animal Shelter representative Chris says. “She’s a little bit older so that means she doesn’t have the bad habits of a puppy, but she does have the spirit of a puppy.”

The boxer mix is just one of the animals the Lake County Animal Shelter hopes will find a “fur”ever home through Tails and Tales. The shelter is partnering with the Lake County Library System to bring pet and book lovers together at each library location this summer. 

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for our pets to get out and about,” Lake County Animal Shelter Director Whitney Boylston says. “They get a break from the shelter, and they get to meet these potential families.” 

Fruitland Park Library Director Jo-Ann Glendinning says the program also could help children learn to read.

“Pets don’t judge you,” Glendinning says. “If you make a mistake with a word, they don’t care. They just sit there and listen to you.” 

This 17% increase in pets returned to the Lake County Animal Shelter this year is not because their owners don’t want them anymore. 

“During an eviction moratorium, those pets and people were secure with their living situation, and as things have changed, there are more people feeling the need to re-home their pet,” Boylston says.

Lake County Animal Shelter has had about 2,450 admissions so far in 2021, about 500 more animals than by this time last year.

Animal Services is also taking steps to encourage adoptions outside of its library visits.

“We’re providing these free pet adoption coupons to the library patrons so they can visit us down at the shelter,” Boylston says. “The need is always there. There will always, unfortunately, be homeless pets, and they need community members to come out and adopt them.”

Lake County Animal Services also offers free obedience classes with its pet adoptions.

A complete list of when the shelter’s pet adoption trailer will visit each library is available on the library system website. People interested in adopting a pet also can visit the Lake County Animal Services website to take a look at the animals available for adoption.