NEW PORT RICHEY — Tails were wagging among the first pets who got a ride this week in the Tail Wagon, Pasco County’s new mobile pet adoption van.
At the unveiling Tuesday, 7-month-old tailless kitten Fluffy was a real crowd pleaser. Ghost, a 7-month-old white dog, got plenty of petting as well.
Among guests at the ceremony, retired former County Administrator John Gallagher helped make the project possible. His Roast and Toast retirement party last year was turned into a fundraiser for Friends of Animal Services.
The county donated a transit bus no longer in service, Michael Cox, a Friends of Animal Services spokesman, said. The nonprofit group then spent about $30,000 to convert it into the pet adoption express.
The pet adoption bus comes with its own generator to keep the dogs and cats cool, Mike Shumate pointed out as Pasco’s animal division manager. The vehicle comes equipped with a long, heavy-duty extension cord so the bus can plug into electricity at event sites.
The pet adoption bus schedule is still taking shape, Shumate said. But the vehicle should become a familiar sight at various community events.
Many guests complimented the cleverness of the name, Tail Wagon. A contest among shelter staff provided the name, Shumate said.
Lise Meinke, the Pasco County animal shelter supervisor, gave Commissioner Pat Mulieri a tour inside the Tail Wagon, which has 18 cages.
“Our message is Opt to Adopt,” Mulieri wrote in a recent email invitation. “Do not buy, and...another shelter animal will not have to die.” The county animal shelter launched its Save 90 Percent initiative in recent months.
“We are so grateful to Pasco County Public Transportation and to Friends of Animal Services for making this possible,” Shumate commented in a county press release last week.
The Friends group funded the advertising wrap to put the name on the vehicle.
Pasco County Public Transportation removed all but four of the front seats to ferry staff and volunteers to adoption events. Stainless steel cages were installed.
Other additions include a workspace with a table for processing adoption paperwork and a generator to provide power for outlets and the air conditioning unit when the vehicle is at events.
A retractable awning was mounted to provide shade when animals and adopters are outside of the vehicle.
If people would like to visit the county animal services facility, the adoption center is at 19640 Dogpatch Lane, Land O’Lakes. Hours are from noon until 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, as well as from noon until 6:30 p.m. on Thursday.
For more information, go to the county website or call (727) 834-3216.