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The Capital city area's animal rescue groups are facing tougher times

black and white cat on the back of a sofa, another cat in a cat carpet tube and basket in the background
Tom Flanigan
WFSU Public Media
While the fundraiser was taking place outside, these Fat Cat Cafe occupants were patiently waiting inside for visitors who might provide them with a forever home.

The capital region is seeing more and more fundraisers for animal rescue groups. One was in front of Tallahassee's Fat Cat Cafe on Park Avenue Saturday, Jan. 22. Among those on hand was the cafe's founder Michelle Hartsfield.

"The kitties did not stop reproducing when COVID came. We all got nervous and had to shut down for a little while, but the rescues didn't stop. We didn't stop for long. We're all back out there again, doing [trap & release], we're spaying/neutering, we're rescuing kittens and cats."

And now, Hartsfield said, more people are finding themselves homeless and turning over their pets to animal shelters and rescue organizations like hers.

"I think the biggest struggle is probably the community members. We're hearing a lot about people becoming homeless and then they have cats and dogs and what do they do with their animals? They're turning to us for help and it's a struggle for all the rescues—not having space, to say no, or try to find the space."

Hartsfield said groups like hers, as well as the area's animal shelters, need financial support, more volunteers, foster homes, and permanent pet adoptions.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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