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P.O. Box 7800
Tavares, Florida 32778

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For immediate release - June 17, 2005

Lake County earns National Association of Counties award

TAVARES — For the second straight year, Lake County Government has earned a National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award.

Lake County officials were alerted this week that NACo is honoring the County for its "Pet-Friendly Hurricane Shelters" program. Lake County will receive the achievement award at the NACo Annual Conference next month.

Following Hurricane Charley, the first major hurricane to sweep across Lake County in 2004, plans were set rapidly in motion to develop pet-friendly shelters in the County. The idea was to combine sheltered residents and their pets under one roof. Less than a month after the first storm, the plan was put to the test at three shelters as Hurricane Frances approached Lake County. Due to its success, the program expanded to an additional two shelters for Hurricane Jeanne.

"I think it is good we were recognized," said Lake County Commissioner Welton Cadwell. "We have so many people here, especially our elderly folks, who have pets. I'm glad we were able to provide this needed service during hurricanes and I'm glad NACo recognized it."

Feedback from Lake County citizens for setting up the pet-friendly shelters was phenomenally positive. According to Marjorie Boyd, Department of Public Safety Animal Services Division Director, the County received dozens of letters and phone calls from citizens all thanking the Animal Services Division for its work at the shelters.

"The citizens of Lake County have a new sense of security and confidence knowing that whatever disasters they face, they can evacuate with their pets to a pet-friendly shelter," she said, "If all else is lost, they will still have their pet to help ease their anxiety."

Since 1994, Lake County has been recognized 22 times for the distinguished achievement awards from NACo, a program that seeks to recognize innovative county government programs. Last year, NACo awarded Lake County for its fiscal management game, "The Game of Lake: Prioritizing Competing Capital Requests for Limited Funds," and its "Mobile Plant Clinic," which provides important educational materials to citizens about horticultural and other services provided by various Lake County departments.


Contact information:
Christopher Patton
Communications Coordinator
Office: (352) 343-9609; Cell: (352) 455-0445

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