All My Children Wear Fur Coats (the podcast) was honored to speak today to Stephen Bardy, Executive Director of the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando (PAGO).  Steve shared with the listeners some of the exciting initiatives being undertaken by PAGO to make the lives of Central Florida pets better.

The Pet Apartment Registry is making an impact.  More than twenty-one (21) apartment communities in Central Florida now participate.  PAGO has a goal of 100 pet friendly communities as part of their program.  A participating apartment community has no breed or size restrictions for dogs and also welcomes cats.  PAGO has learned there is a 7:1 return on investment for communities that participate.  In addition to having higher and longer occupancy rates, communities that allow pets of all breeds and sizes are safer.  People are outside, walking their dogs, talking to each other and are more aware of their surroundings.  Steve says, “You may not know your neighbor’s name, but you will likely know their dog’s name!”  The Pet Apartment Registry has resulted in fewer dogs being surrendered to PAGO because someone couldn’t find a “dog friendly” community.

The Community Cats initiative is working to Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) feral or community cats.  A community cat is a cat that lives outside, is not owned by one person and may be cared for by a number of people.  Sometimes these cats are feral, but some are tame but don’t live inside.  TNR programs are designed to alter (spay and neuter) free-roaming cats to reduce the overall cat population.  Cats in Florida can have two litters a year because of the moderate climate.  The ASPCA reports that in just seven years, one unspayed female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 kittens!  Reducing the number of kittens born annually will result in an overall reduction of community cats. PAGO estimates there are approximately 70,000 community cats in Orange County, Florida.  PAGO is working directly with larger colonies of more than 30 cats.  Other organizations like Care Feline TNR are working with midsize cat colonies and Orange County Animal Services through their “dial 311” program is working with individuals who may have one or two cats in their neighborhood.  The Orange County program is ideal for residents who are willing to have the cats on their property but would like them to be sterilized and vaccinated. The Orange County Animal Services TNR program is free to Orange County residents for up to five cats per household.

The Pawsitive Care Program allows responsible, senior or terminally ill Pet Parents to sign up in advance for the re-homing of their pet when they are no longer able to care for the pet.  Forms are available online for submission.  PAGO requests but does not require a donation to participate in this very valuable program.   Animal Care Trust USA is also available for consultation for Pet Parents that want their Loved Pet to stay at home or if they have horses or other pets (like parrots) that need a Forever Home.

Thanks to Steve Bardy and the PAGO team for all the great work they do.  You can participate at one of their annual fundraising events like the upcoming Dine for Paws FurBall or Paws in the Park. Volunteers and donations are welcomed as well.  If you have an elementary or middle school student, check out PAGO’s summer camp for kids.  Look for PAGO on FaceBook, Twitter and Instagram!

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