Sherry Silk and Cathy Bellatin, from The Humane Society of Tampa Bay

Sherry Silk–executive director of The Humane Society of Tampa Bay (HSTB)–discusses how the animal welfare/rescue landscape has shifted in the 2 1/2 years since our last interview, including the effect the economic climate has had on donations & adoptions, as well as newer wrinkles and trends, like the growing impact and value of Facebook. 


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From the perspective of 30 years in the field, she also addressed the singular difficulties/challenges of leading an organization like HSTB–and the not infrequent instances where similar organizations are beset with polarizing issues (particularly euthanasia) and controversies, often torn asunder by them–and measures she takes to avoid those pitfalls. The conversation also included Cathy Bellatin, HSTB’s director of special events, who described the then-forthcoming 24th Bark In The Park event and some its likely highlights, as well as how Bark has changed and evolved over nearly a quarter century. Partially related to Bark In The Park featuring numerous adoptable pets, we met three that Sherry & Cathy had brought into the studio: Jasmine (a cute Siamese kitten who, in walking freely in the studio, managed to start a cued-up song at an inappropriate moment and turned off Sherry’s microphone) and two equally-cute puppies, Thelma, and Tiffany, who was adopted later that afternoon. (

ALSO: We spoke briefly with Suzanne Liggett, of Heart&Soles Yoga and Education Services, who discusses her background and the free yoga classes for kids she’ll be offering at the Talking Animals Festival. (

COMEDY CORNER: Mitch Hedberg’s “Koalas” (

MUSIC:Beth Orton’s “Worms,” Radiohead’s “Morning Mr. Magpie,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:Tom Jones’ “What’s New, Pussycat?”

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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