WUFT News

Alachua County Animal Services Over Capacity For Thanksgiving

By on November 27th, 2014 | Last updated: November 26, 2014 at 1:54 pm
Pearl, Squidward, Sandy, Spongebob and Gary (clockwise from top right) are lucky to have a foster home for Thanksgiving. Many foster pets, however, will return to Alachua County Animal Services because their foster is traveling for the holiday, even though the shelter is well over capacity.

Pearl, Squidward, Sandy, Spongebob and Gary (clockwise from top right) are lucky to have a foster home for Thanksgiving. Many foster pets, however, will return to Alachua County Animal Services because their foster is traveling for the holiday, even though the shelter is well over capacity.” credit=”Roberta Fiorito / WUFT News

Pearl, Squidward, Sandy, Spongebob and Gary are the lucky ones. The five 6-week-old kittens, all black and white, have a foster home for the Thanksgiving holiday. Other animals fostered from Alachua County Animal Services are not so lucky.

When fosters go out of town for the holiday, animals are often dropped off at the shelter because they cannot fly with their foster or are not able to stay in another home. ACAS can’t turn any animals away even though they have limited extra space.

Dory Rosati, adoption coordinator for ACAS, said the shelter is currently 26 animals over capacity, which is the most crowded she’s ever seen or heard of. When this occurs, ACAS runs out of kennel space for the animals. This past month, Rosati said the volunteers stacked crates on top of one another for extra space for kittens and cats.

“It’s not slowing down in a way that we normally see in the fall,” Rosati said.  “We’ve had at least one litter of puppies every week for the past month be brought in. Two weeks ago we had over 15 animals in the first half hour we were open.”

The shelter’s last option is euthanasia if it becomes too crowded, but Rosati said she hopes ACAS won’t have to resort to that for this holiday season.

ACAS isn’t alone in their search for pet-friendly homes. An “urgent” call for Thanksgiving foster homes was posted on the Alachua County Humane Society’s Facebook page, asking anyone who stays in Alachua County to consider fostering an animal for the weekend, and would provide all food and supplies to temporary fosters.

Squidward and Spongebob will be fostered by University of Florida veterinary student Ariel Smith. Her fellow UF vet classmate, Megan Sullivan, is flying home to Vermont for the Thanksgiving break.

“I’ve been wanting to adopt a cat for awhile,” Ariel Smith said. “They were supposed to go up for adoption this weekend, but they got sick and still need to be fostered.”

The ACAS office is closed Thursday and Friday of the Thanksgiving holiday, but animals can still be dropped off during those days, since animal services is an open intake facility, meaning they can’t turn any animals away. A security guard will be on duty, and many fostered pets are often brought back to ACAS before the owner leaves town, without any preparations made for the animal.

“Even though we aren’t giving any animals away, we still have many animals coming in (during the Thanksgiving break),” Rosati said. “This is what makes the holidays really stressful for us, because we are never off.”

Normally during this time of year, the shelter sees fewer animals brought in because it’s not kitten season, since more kittens are born in the spring and summer. However, with the shelter over capacity, and a holiday approaching, Rosati is concerned about space for the animals.

“Anyone that stays in town, we need their help,” Rosati said.

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Gainesville Composts To Divert Waste

By on November 26th, 2014 | Last updated: November 26, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Hauling an 800-pound load by bike seems like a superhuman feat. For Wesley Durrance, it’s just another Friday.

The 24-year-old is a member of Gainesville Compost’s five-man bike crew who can be seen roaming the city streets picking up buckets of kitchen scraps from local restaurants and residents, and pulling green, metal bike trailers plastered with logos of the business’ growing client base.

Burrito Brothers, Karma Cream and Satchel’s are just a few of the more than 20 businesses who have the joined the company since its founding in 2011 on a mission to divert waste from landfills and from it create valuable soil feed.

Chris Cano digs his hands into a bucket of finished compost. “It’s incredibly soft and fluffy, he said. “And this was once food waste. I’m still shocked to this day when I touch this and just think that this was bound for the garbage.”

Chris Cano digs his hands into a bucket of finished compost. “It’s incredibly soft and fluffy,” he said. “And this was once food waste. I’m still shocked to this day when I touch this and just think that this was bound for the garbage.  Taylor Widom/WUFT News

The company partnered with Sweetwater Organic Coffee last week in the hope of further expanding Gainesville’s community composting network.

Sweetwater’s existing bike-powered delivery system will now include pickup of used coffee grounds at places like Harvest Thyme and Pop-a-Top to be given to Gainesville Compost.

Already, 34 local residents have signed up for Gainesville Compost’s collection services, and two to three more are registering every week. In the same time frame, the company is routinely composting more than a combined ton of coffee grounds, eggshells, and fruit and vegetable scraps into a velvety, nutrient-rich substance at 10 locations across Gainesville.

“When the bike trailers are moving around town, people notice them,” said Chris Cano, the company’s compost experience officer or CEO.

And people outside the city are noticing, too.

Other small-scale, pedal-powered composting operations are cropping up around the United States, many inspired by the success in Gainesville: L.A. Compost in Los Angeles; East Side Compost Pedallers in Austin, Texas; Well FED Compost in Savannah, Georgia; Common Ground Compost in New York City; and Carter’s Compost in Traverse City, Michigan. Three composting groups have even purchased bike trailers from Gainesville Compost.

“The conventional waste-hauling model relies on large, expensive, fossil-fuel-powered vehicles,” Cano said. “But when you have a home that is going to be filling up half a bucket, for a huge truck to go and stop at each home when the biggest cost of operating the vehicle is to stop and start, and stop and start, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in terms of viability unless you have massive participation.”

A Gainesville Compost employee demonstrates how kitchen scraps are sifted into finished compost after sitting to break down for about two months at Porter’s Community Farm in the heart of downtown Gainesville. “We love how we can participate in this very urban space, and we can do something agricultural,” said CEO Chris.

Gainesville Compost employee Bryan Konrad demonstrates how kitchen scraps are sifted into finished compost after sitting to break down for about two months at Porter’s Community Farm in the heart of downtown Gainesville. “We love how we can participate in this very urban space, and we can do something agricultural,” said CEO Chris. Taylor Widom / WUFT News

Until then, there is community composting. Small-scale, decentralized initiatives are changing the way people think about waste diversion.

“It’s probably the fastest-growing sector of the composting industry,” said Nora Goldstein of Biocycle Magazine, which held the second annual Cultivating Community Composting Forum this October in Baltimore.

Since 2013, the number of participants representing community-based composting programs around the country grew from 40 to 60.

“What’s remarkable is that it’s really engaging households and residents in a behavior that is extremely impactful in terms of how you can work towards helping the climate,” she said.

In Traverse City, Michigan, residents leading the effort have not yet hit puberty – composting has no age restrictions.

Carter’s Compost is powered by 10-year-old Carter Schmidt, eight of his friends and the endless energy and enthusiasm found only in children. Moms and dads bring the muscle.

Since the company started in early 2012, interest has spread and demand has soared. Even after buying three trailers from Gainesville Compost to help scale the business, Schmidt and his son cannot keep up.

“I have to turn away people because we can only do so much,” said Ty Schmidt, Carter’s father and the “vice president of pile-turning and bucket-scrubbing” at Carter’s Compost. “But I feel like it’s something that people appreciate – it’s one less truck on the road and less rumbling down the streets. There are enough garbage trucks as it is.”

He said the confused stares of neighbors have turned into equal parts wonder and excitement.

“It’s certainly a trend,” Schmidt said. “This whole revolution is coming.”

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Boy Gives Organ Transplant Recipient New Lease On Life

By on November 26th, 2014 | Last updated: November 26, 2014 at 1:34 pm
There are over 100,000 people in the U.S. waiting for organ transplants. J.T. helped several people get off that list.

There are over 100,000 people in the U.S. waiting for organ transplants. J.T. helped several people get off that list. Townsend/ Handout Photo

John “J.T” Townsend V was nine. He loved race-cars and demolition derbies. Jimmie Johnson was his favorite NASCAR driver, and his favorite color was blue. Unlike typical nine-year-olds, he understood cars and heavy machinery.

J.T. was killed in a horrific roll-over car crash in April of 2013 with his mother Katherine Rene Adams Townsend after another motorist ran a stop sign.

J.T. and his mother were organ donors. At any given time there are over 100,000 people on the waiting list for organs in the United States, with people being added every day, and taken off because of successful transplant or death.

According to the American Transplant Foundation, an average of 18 people die a day from no organ transplant. Katherine and J.T. helped change those stats.

According to the American Transplant Foundation, an average of 18 people die a day from no organ transplant. Katherine and J.T. helped change those stats. Townsend/ Handout

“Townsend”, 46, owner of Marion Metal Works in Ocala, J.T.’s father and Katherine’s husband, recounted this event as the worst day of his life.

“Nothing can prepare you for something like this,” he said. “There are a lot of sleepless nights, and you almost become a different person.”

According to Townsend, as tragic as this day was for him, it was an easy decision to donate his families’ organs. It was important to him that other people could be helped even though he had suffered such a loss.

“I stood over my boy and my wife, and I just prayed that God’s will be done,” he said. “I knew in my heart that it was God’s will that their organs be used to save someone’s life.”

Emma Townsend, 14, J.T’s sister, was the only survivor of the tragic wreck.

“People look at us and we don’t look any different, they think there would be nothing wrong,” she said. “Most people won’t ever have to go through something like this.”

“It takes time,” she said. “But things are getting better.”

Since the accident, Townsend has worked to raise support for organ donation at demolition derbies. He makes speeches and tells his story in the hopes that the people in attendance will understand the importance of the cause.

There is no way to justify the loss suffered, but it takes off a large part of the burden to know that there was at least some good to come out of the tragedy, he said.

“If there were two things my boy loved it was the Florida Gators and crashing cars,” he said. “It never gets easier, I miss him every day.”

There is a great deal of privacy involved for both parties in organ donation, Townsend said. There are many factors to take into consideration when it comes to the identity and the safety of both parties involved. The most obvious concern with both parties meeting is that one side experienced a loss, and the other side benefits from that.

Yvette was the recipient of J.T’s right kidney. After about a week of communication Yvette got to meet Townsend and Emma. Her last name has been omitted to protect her privacy.

“I wrote to Yvette originally,” he said. “I waited a while but I wanted to reach out and let the recipients know that it was ok to contact me and it was ok if they didn’t.”

“I was relieved when I got Townsend’s letter,” she said. “I wanted to write them, but didn’t know the right time, so when he wrote first it took all the pressure off.”

According to Townsend, he and Yvette really got along through the letters they exchanged through Trans-life, the organization responsible for placing the organs with the proper recipients.

“It was really emotional to read the letter she sent back to us,” Townsend said, as he held a tear-stained hand written letter in blue ink. “I could tell we were going to become close, we had a lot in common.”

“We took Yvette to her first demolition derby when we met her,” Townsend said. “It’s kind of funny to think we had someone who just had a kidney transplant at a demolition derby.”

Emma said Yvette looked a little shocked at first. “She definitely didn’t look like she had ever been to anything like that before.”

Yvette’s doctors failed to give her an answer as to why her kidney failed. Shortly after her fiancé died she started having complications with her kidneys that ended in failure. In her opinion, stress played a major role in her kidney failure.

She waited three and a half years on the list before getting the call that she would receive J.T.’s kidney. In those years, she underwent an extremely difficult dialysis regiment.

“When I got the call that a kidney had become available, I didn’t get my hopes up at first,” she said. “I underwent Peritoneal Dialysis four times-a-day, and it started to wear on me.”

“There were times on the dialysis that I would just go hungry because I would vomit everything I ate if I took the medication,” she said.

It’s been a year and a half since Yvette received the kidney, and everything is going well, but it’s been a struggle.

“People don’t realize that it requires a life change when you get an organ,” she said. “Things that people don’t even think about, the flu, can kill you after the procedure because the drugs kill your immune system.”

According to Yvette, she has a teaching degree in Special Education that she is unable to use due to the risk of sickness around kids.

“I don’t think I’m over-cautious about getting sick,” she said. “They told me the life of the kidney was 10 to 15 years, so I’m just trying to make sure I do things right.”

Emma even admits that Yvette’s healthy lifestyle is contagious.

“Now, I even wear a mask at school sometimes,” she said. “People don’t realize how easy it is to avoid getting sick.”

Townsend, Emma and Yvette’s hope for people is to understand how important being an organ donor is. Something so simple can save lives.

“My son was a well-known and loved kid,” he said. “It was because of his sacrifice and sacrifices like his that let other people like Yvette to live, he was a hero.”

Townsend, Emma and Yvette will be in attendance to the “CRASH-A-RAMA” race series in Orlando on November 28. They will be raising awareness for organ donation with one of the races in memorial for J.T, the John H. Townsend V Donate Life Memorial Skicar Race.

At this event it is possible more recipients of J.T. and Katherine’s organs will be in attendance and Townsend will get a chance to speak with more of the people his family has helped.

“The proof is in the pudding,” he said. “It’s easy to say it’s important to be an organ donor, but when you get to meet people like Yvette and the others it puts a face to the idea.”

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In The News: Police Kill One, Fire On Unarmed Man, Two Dead In Volusia, Pothole on I-4, BP Oil Spill Indictment in Jacksonville

By on November 26th, 2014 | Last updated: November 26, 2014 at 1:20 pm
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Protestors Gather at Alachua County Courthouse in Support of Michael Brown

By on November 26th, 2014 | Last updated: November 26, 2014 at 10:46 am

On Monday night a grand jury decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson. Over the next 24 hours, protests erupted in cities all across the country. Gainesville was among them.

“I think it’s an opportunity people have seized upon to peacefully bring attention to a national epidemic,” said Art Forgey, Public Information Officer of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.

Chimurenga Waller, President of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement, said his organization has been calling for demonstrations all across the United States. Earlier in the day, he was part of a demonstration in St. Petersburg. InPDUM’s platform demands “community control of the police.” They want to see the black community controlling the hiring, firing and disciplining of the people who work in their community.

On Aug. 9, Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man, was shot and killed in Ferguson, Mo. by a white police officer. Officer Wilson saw Brown and a friend walking down the street after hearing reports of a convenience store robbery by individuals with a similar appearance. The details following are inconsistent. Some witnesses say Brown had his hands up and was surrendering; others say Brown was charging Wilson. Wilson fired his gun and shot Brown six times, fatally. 

The following weeks saw protest after protest; some peaceful, many violent.

“There is a resounding sense of angst with everyone around the nation,” said Brittany King, a member of the Dream Defenders. “Everyone is waking up.”

Local police forces responded in Ferguson with tear gas and rubber bullets. Three months later, a grand jury made up of three black and nine white jurors decided not to charge Wilson with a crime after examining over 5,000 pages of evidence.

Protestors were prepared for this announcement. The International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement and the Black is Back coalition announced that they would hold a protest at the Alachua County Courthouse if Wilson was not indicted. They did.

Azaari Mason speaks to the crowd gathered in downtown Gainesville.

Whitney Lavaux / WUFT

Azaari Mason speaks to the crowd gathered in downtown Gainesville.

Azaari Mason, another member of the Dream Defenders, said he was at a watch party at the Civic Media Center when the decision was announced.

“I was heartbroken.” he said. “We are still trying to fight in 2014 to have an America that is reflective of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all people.”

Ben Tobis, spokesperson for the Gainesville Police Department, said that his department works hard to ensure they have the best possible relationship with the community. However he acknowledged, “we know we will never have 100% success and we understand that.”

Protestors gathered in the rain Tuesday night to demonstrate their support for Michael Brown.

Whitney Lavaux / WUFT

Protestors gathered in the rain Tuesday night to demonstrate their support for Michael Brown.

Protestors sang and chanted outside of the courthouse in downtown Gainesville. They held signs that read “With Justice Comes Peace,” “Black Lives Matter” and “Jail the Killer Cops.”

Dianne Tornay, the lead organizer of the event, said she was happy with the turnout, especially considering the weather. Rain fell on protestors throughout the hour long-event, but the group only seemed to grow larger.

“Enough is enough. That’s why we’re here tonight,” Mason said.

There was no visible police presence at the event and the protest remained peaceful.

A federal investigation into the incident is ongoing.

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Program Gives Foster Youths Chance For More Normal Life

By on November 26th, 2014 | Last updated: November 26, 2014 at 10:05 am

Foster kids can now get assistance for what so many young teens strive for: their driver’s license.

Recent legislation, passed unanimously in the Florida House and Senate, gives foster kids financial assistance for driver’s licenses, insurance and a better chance at a normal life.

The statewide program Keys to Independence, which started in mid-October, is made possible by the “Normalcy Bill” passed by Gov. Rick Scott in 2013.

The bill was designed to reduce the rules and regulations surrounding the activities of children in foster care. Keys to Independence, a three-year pilot program, is one of the first programs coming from this legislation.

The Community Based Care of Central Florida (CBCCFL) organization in Orlando is administering the program.

Jane Soltis, a consultant with the organization, said the program is unique and that many states have not done anything like this before.

“I did research around the country, and while there are some states that have some kids with some of these things, nobody has as comprehensive a program as this,” said Soltis.

When applying to the program, there are certain factors and criteria that the applicants must have in order to be eligible.

Children must meet Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ requirements. They must complete a driver’s education course, be between the ages of 15 and 21, and be in a licensed foster care home, according to the program’s website

“The law was written very clearly,” Soltis said. “They can’t be living with a relative; They can’t have been adopted; They can’t be living in their own apartment; They have to be in licensed, out-of-home care.”

Since the program is only a pilot-program, Soltis said the organization is making a report to see what is working with the program and what will need changing.

If a child misses the age limit for the program, they are ineligible.  But Soltis said they hope to fix this.

The organization will collect data, Soltis said, and look into children who were excluded. Once the three-year program ends, CBCCFL can tweak rules on eligibility.

Foster care programs in areas like Alachua and Marion counties hope to mimic this sort of program to help foster children.

Jenn Petion, the director of community and government relations for the Partnership for Strong Families in Alachua County, said that although the funds are limited, it could make a huge difference.

“We’re just fortunate in that we don’t have a large amount of kids in foster care,” Petion said. “We have a smaller population than maybe other parts of the state, but I think it’s a great program, and statewide it’s going to make a huge impact.”

Nicole Pulcini Mason, director of Community Affairs for Kids Central Inc. in Marion County, said it’s a great idea for children under the care of community-based care organizations.

“Through no fault of their own, these children have ended up in foster care and deserve to have a normal life,” Mason said. “This pilot program is another step in the right direction.”

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Zen Hostel Offers Tranquility To Travelers And Residents

By on November 25th, 2014 | Last updated: November 25, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Gainesville’s Zen Hostel might be the one of the few places where “What is nirvana?” and “Where is the extra toilet paper?” are asked in the same breath.

Meetings at the Zen Hostel, located at 404 SE Second St.,  start about 9 a.m. every day; “meeting” is used loosely.

Residents and travelers gather outside at a long table, or inside the kitchen when it gets too cold, and during the meeting they can ask any questions they have about life, meditation and even where the toilet paper is kept. Then, going in a clockwise motion, everyone gets a chance to answer the posed question or “pass.”

Kitty Drebitko, 26, is one of the residents who attends these meetings and has been at the hostel for a little more than a week. She is easy to recognize with her vibrant blue and purple dreadlocks, piercings and a baby bump. She plans to give birth at the Ocala Birth Center in early March, and is settling in at the Zen Hostel until then. Her boyfriend is joining her soon from New York to help her with her pregnancy.

“I’ve been traveling for the past three years and haven’t had any kind of long-term home, so once I give birth it’s kind of like an open page for me,” she said. “I don’t have anything tying me down anywhere.”

Drebitko practices yoga every day and helps out around the hostel by booking reservations and doing laundry.

“I didn’t know when I got here how long I’d be staying,” she said, “but the longer I’ve stayed I’m like, ‘This place is sweet.’ Everyone is super considerate, and it’s very peaceful, so there’s not really a downside so far from what I’ve seen.”

Tobe Terrell, 78, started the hostel in 2004 as a Zen center that offered hospitality, but the name Zen Hostel stuck. After staying at a Zen center in Virginia for 20 years, Terrell sought to create his own center in Gainesville near his hometown of Ocala. He calls himself the custodian of the hostel.

“I only own the real estate; the Zen center has a life of its own,” he said. “I just try to be the interpreter of the energy that has been created here.”

Terrell said October and November are the busiest times of the year for short-term guests.

The hostel houses travelers as well as more permanent residents who have lived there for a few years. It operates on a “gift economy,” so people can give money or decide to volunteer their labor in exchange for staying.

Oliver Norden, 46, has been living at the hostel for almost two years. Originally from Belgium, he is the hostel’s resident artist and is skilled in acrylics, watercolors, murals and digital photographs. Some of his artwork is featured at Vellos Brickstreet Grill in downtown Gainesville.

Norden, who is also a vegan, is thankful to the Zen Hostel for teaching him discipline and inspiring him with his art.

“I do my meditation close to every day, and during that time I try to reach a level of nirvana,” he said. “What I feel when I try to reach nirvana is to open my heart and get in touch with my breath and open up to the energies that I want to send out as an individual. The Zen path to me, for now, fits very well because I’ve decided to distance myself with the material things.”

Norden’s mother, 85-year-old sculptor Nadya Levi, visited him at the hostel from Belgium. She works mostly with iron and metal but also does clay sculptures. During her stay, she sculpted a clay portrait of Terrell that now sits in the hostel’s courtyard near the fishpond and herb garden.

“Sooner or later, someone will have some moment of nirvana; some moment of fleeting, ecstatic experience,” Terrell said. “At heart, we are all divine beings.”

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Local Animal Shelters Have Developed Stricter Adoption Methods

By on November 25th, 2014 | Last updated: November 26, 2014 at 1:37 pm
Local animal shelters are using stricter and more thorough adoption procedures in order to find permanent homes for their animals. This is to prevent people from impulsively adopting pets and later returning them.

Local animal shelters are using stricter and more thorough adoption procedures in order to find permanent homes for their animals. This is to prevent people from impulsively adopting pets and later returning them.” credit=”Norman Galang / WUFT

Local animal shelters have developed stricter adoption methods to prevent indecisive pet owners from returning their animals. This has beeb a strain on the organizations and increases the likeliness of unwanted pets being euthanized.

With most of the area’s shelters reaching capacity due to lack of funds, volunteers, resources and space, staffers have become more jaded and weary about picking potential adopters. Practicing more thorough procedures is their attempt to find permanent homes for rescued animals.

Kathy Finelli, director of Gainesville Rabbit Rescue, said her shelter has reached capacity and is in desperate need to find adopters, but is only seeking serious clients.

Although she appreciates people showing interest in her rabbits, she said she’s fine if they don’t end up taking them in.

“(We’re not) going to try to convince you to get a rabbit,” Finelli said. “When you leave us, you’re going to make your decisions based on facts.”

Most of the potential owners mistake rabbits’ calm behavior for being an easy pet, when in fact that’s not true, she said. They are extremely fragile, and the average person cannot commit to their upkeep.

Finelli said to filter out fickle or impulsive clients, she plans on making multiple visits to the clients’ home to see if their lifestyle fits housing rabbits.

She also plans on having more personal conversations with the owners to educate them on not only physical care, but how financially draining it could be to house rabbits.

Leslie Kutner, a frequent volunteer at Gainesville Rabbit Rescue, said she believes more thorough procedures are necessary because most people cannot handle rabbits properly, which leads to them being released outside or euthanized.

“I would rather see the rabbits here than with anyone else,” Kutner said.

Patricia Diskant, co-cat coordinator of Helping Hands Pet Rescue, said she feels the same way.

She would rather have the animals stay in the organization until they find permanent homes, than with owners who end up returning their pets after realizing they are too much to handle.

“Working at a shelter definitely gets you frustrated on the lack of knowledge people have with pets,” Diskant said.

Diskant said she’s not only making more home visits, but she’ll have more conversations testing the adopters’ knowledge. She believes a person’s character will ultimately judge if he or she is fit to provide a permanent home for the animals.

There are currently no plans on making the adoption process any more tedious, she said. She does not want to fully discourage everyone from potentially owning animals.

Tara McParland, a shelter assistant at Gainesville Pet Rescue, said although finding new fosters is the center’s biggest challenge, she does not wish to discourage people from owning animals in any way.

“We do have returns, we do our best to prevent them,” McParland said. “But if we discouraged ownership, we wouldn’t be in business.”

She said although there aren’t enough fosters for the number of homeless animals, the organization’s network is big enough to where they can still find a registered foster if needed.

Jonathan Miot, director of the Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo, said he deals with a wide range of animals and believes not everyone is fully aware of the extensive care they require.

Especially during the holidays, it’s important to educate people on pet ownership, he said. A lot of children are expecting pets as gifts but may give up on the animal.

“It all boils down to education,” Miot said. “Everyone needs to be educated and understand what sort of commitment they’re getting into.”

Albert Rese, a Levy county resident and pet owner, said he recently adopted two dogs from a Levy County Animal Services event and believes most animals are blindly purchased on impulse.

Too many people see pets as a novelty instead of a family member, Rese said. Unfortunately, the novelty of an animal fades.

“If you love animals, you’re going to find a way, and you’re going to do the right thing,” Rese said. “To some people, it’s just not in their character to do the right thing, and that’s just sad.”

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Nov. 25, 2014: Afternoon News In 90

By and on November 25th, 2014 | Last updated: November 25, 2014 at 3:13 pm

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Gainesville Mayor Responds To Grand Jury Decision On Ferguson

By on November 25th, 2014 | Last updated: November 25, 2014 at 11:59 am

Gainesville’s Mayor Ed Braddy issued a statement yesterday addressing the situation in Ferguson, Missouri.

“The grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri has implications that extend to our own community, for Gainesville is a city committed to liberty, justice and equal opportunity for all,” Braddy said.

Braddy went on to say, “I want to reaffirm that Gainesville’s municipal government honors the First Amendment rights of every citizen to peaceably assemble and express their views on this matter.”

Moreover, Braddy welcomes anyone who wishes to speak about the matter, to stop by the City Commissionaires office.

“With my colleagues on the City Commission, our door is open to anyone who wishes to talk about the impact of today’s events on our community. We are all in this together. With malice toward none and charity for all, Gainesville will continue to grow and become a place of which we can all be proud. May God continue to bless our great city,” said Braddy.

At 6 p.m. the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement, along with Black is Black Coalition will engage in a mass protest at the Alachua County courthouse.

The purpose of tonight’s protest is to have “community control of the police,” according to Chimurenga Waller, People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement organizer of Gainesville.

They want to bring awareness to the black community, and to stop the “unnecessary deaths of black men.”

When asked if tonight’s protest will be peaceful, Waller said, “I don’t know. We will see.”

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