Orange County Contact: Diane Summers, 407-254-9141
Seminole County Contact: Diane Gagliano, 407-665-5208
Osceola County Contact: Kim Staton, 407-742-8000

Great Summer Challenge Kicks Off Between Orange, Osceola And Seminole County Animal Shelters Showcases The Very Best In The American Shelter Dogs And Cats

Central Florida — June 1, 2017— For the second year in a row animal shelters in Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties have launched the Great Summer Challenge, a summer-long effort to see which shelter can garner the highest percentage of adoptions, reunifications and releases among the community’s three “open admission” shelters. Open admission shelters are public animal shelters, which means they do not ever turn away a dog or cat in need.

While the Great Summer Challenge was introduced just last year by Seminole County Animal Services, it has already been credited with huge results. In 2016 the challenge helped facilitate more than 5,000 adoptions, reunifications with lost families, and releases to foster and rescue partners. Collectively, these successful outcomes are considered “release rates.” The shelters, through percentage, captured the number of releases from the previous year and compared them to the current year, which ultimately claimed victor.

Last year, Seminole County Animal Services took home the title after increasing their live release numbers by 14.2 percent, helping 953 animals. Osceola County reported 966 animals were successfully released, a 6.50 percent increase and in Orange County 3,370 animals were either adopted, reunified or released to rescue and foster partners, a 4.69 percent jump. The initiative mixes a bit of friendly competition and banter, along with unique adoption promotions, media outreach, social strategies as well as viral videos all in an effort to shine an even brighter spotlight on deserving animals in need of homes. “We have some very tough competition this year,” said Carol Coleman, interim manager of Seminole County Animal Services. “We know we will have to work that much harder to continue to be the reigning champions. With that said, we got this!”

The summer months are chosen for the challenge as they are the peak breeding seasons for stray dogs and cats, which can directly impact the number of animals in the shelters. In Orange County alone, intake numbers can almost double, from an average of 50 new animals a day, to 100 during this time. “It’s critical to the animals, as well as the operation to find good homes as quickly as we can during these months. Our staff and volunteers give these animals as much love and attention as they can while in our care, but nothing replaces being in a home,” said Dil Luther, Division Manager for Orange County Animal Services.

Orange, Osceola and Seminole county animal shelters plan to offer special promotions including reduced fees to adopt, as well as encouraging spay and neuter services. Orange County has launched a summer-long “Best in American Shelter Dog” theme – garnered to showcase the very best the “American Shelter Dog” has to offer.

While the shelters each represent their respective counties, they work in partnership throughout the year to find permanent and loving solutions for homeless animals. “Last year we saw the success of the far reaching efforts that this competition offers and we’re excited to participate once more. Bring it on!” said Kim Staton, director of Osceola County Animal Services.

To look for animals available for adoption, the shelters encourage you not just to visit their websites and Facebook pages to view photos of available animals, but stop by for a visit. If you do not meet you match on the first try, please come back or visit another shelter.

About Orange County Animal Services
Orange County Animal Services is Central Florida’s largest pet rescue and adoption center. Last year, Animal Services received nearly 20,000 animals at its shelter. For more than 40 years, the agency’s mission has been to protect the citizens and animals of Orange County. Its vision is to give abandoned and neglected pets a second chance to live long, healthy lives in safe, loving homes or Facebook at Orange County Animal Services.

About Seminole County Animal Services
Seminole County Animal Services ensures the safety of its citizens by providing for the humane sheltering and disposition of stray and unwanted animals, and investigating animal bite incidents and reports of animal cruelty. With approximately 10,000 animal intakes last year, our agency has remained focused on promoting responsible pet ownership and animal welfare through community education and adoption programs.

About Osceola County Animal Services
Osceola County Animal Services focuses on public safety and animal welfare through our enforcement, adoption, return to owner, lost/found pet, volunteer, and other programs. We strive to ensure safe interactions between pets and people while working to achieve a live outcome for as many of the 9,000 animals we receive as possible.


Editor’s Note: Please call the shelters for pics, interviews and video ops.

About Orange County Government: Orange County Government strives to serve its residents and guests with integrity, honesty, fairness and professionalism. Located in Central Florida, Orange County includes 13 municipalities and is home to world-famous theme parks, one of the nation’s largest convention centers and a thriving life science research park. Seven elected members make up the Board of County Commissioners, including the Mayor, who is elected countywide. For more information, please visit or go to Orange County Government’s social media channels.

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