Frank Hamilton & Ken Donofrio, of Animal Coalition of Tampa (ACT)

Frank Hamilton and Ken Donofrio—co-founder and president of Animal Coalition of Tampa (ACT) and ACT’s marketing and events coordinator, respectively–discuss ACT’s history and evolution, the multiple challenges posed by its building being set on fire by an arsonist, as well as various aspects of its then-forthcoming major fundraiser, Stride For Strays. FrankHHamilton recounts how he and wife—and ACT co-founder Linda Hamilton—were working with a rescue group in the mid-90s and while proud of the group’s results, reached an unpleasant epiphany that the number of animals rescued by that group in a year was roughly equal to the number of animals euthanized in four days. Seeking to make a greater impact in saving the lives of animals, Hamilton recalls, they conducted research and otherwise plotted a course, and in May of 2001, launched ACT, with the primary purpose of providing low-cost spay/neuter procedures. He explains that in 2010, ACT reached its peak of performing such surgeries—12,219—and that number never drops below 10,000 KenDoperations annually. Hamilton describes the specifics of how, in April of 2014, a disgruntled would-be ACT client returned and set the facility ablaze, seriously damaging the building and claiming the lives of three cats who lived 0there. He notes they relocated to their previous, smaller digs, reopening the clinic (albeit in limited capacity) just three weeks after the fire. Acknowledging there are fire-spurred losses and damaged equipment that heighten the need for ACT monies, Donofrio outlines details of Stride For Strays, the organization’s annual fundraiser, which involves a 3K walk and multifaceted festival, taking place this year on Oct. 19 at Raymond James Stadium, and featuring upwards of 100 vendors, a slew of adoptable animals, contests, live music, and more. (http://animalcoalitionoftampa.org, www.strideforstrays.org)

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ALSO: We had a brief conversation with Patricia Massari, one of the coordinators of the Tampa Bay Walk For FarmAnimals, explaining the key details of the Walk, a fundraising event for the Farm Sanctuary slated for Nov. 1 at Spa Beach Park in St. Petersburg. (http://walkforfarmanimals.org)

COMEDY CORNER: Drew Hastings’ “Farming 101” (portion) (http://drewhastings.com)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” Good Graeff’s “White Horses,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: Robert Plant’s version of “Black Dog”

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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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