By Matt Wiley

They will stick with you through thick and thin, always by your side and ready to cheer you up when you’re feeling blue. That seems worth the small fee that Pasco County Animal Services (PCAS) charges to adopt a dog or cat that needs a home.

Just ask Meadow Pointe resident Judy Gregory (photo). After all, as PCAS’s new education and volunteer coordinator, i’s her job to educate the public on how good a deal they get when they pay the small adoption fee to give a dog or cat a new home.

Since she was appointed to the position on June 25, Gregory has been visiting summer camps and speaking to children about what PCAS does, spreading awareness about responsible pet ownership and letting the public know about the Adoption Center at PCAS, something Gregory doesn’t think most people even know exists.

“People don’t even know that we’re here,” she says. “They don’t realize that they can volunteer here. I also don’t think people realize the value of micro chipping and why you should spay/neuter. It’s very important that these things get taught.”

And, that is what she will help people learn when she speaks at neighborhood associations, and when she goes out to speak at schools, once classes resume. People also aren’t aware what is actually included when they adopt a pet.

At the PCAS Adoption Center, it costs $70 to adopt a dog and $40 to adopt a cat, which is minimal, compared with getting a dog or cat at the average pet store. This fee includes micro chipping, physical exams, shots, boosters, blood testing, even spays and neuters. The total value of all of the medical attention the animals receive when adopted is more than $400.

Gregory understands that there are misconceptions about PCAS, due to the shelter’s euthanasia policy.

“It’s not even so much a misconception,” she explains. “We do euthanize here, but, what most people don’t understand is that we also don’t turn animals away. Basically, because we exist, other shelters can say, ‘No,’ and turn animals away. We want to increase our adoption rate and the transfer of animals to raise our release rate.”

PCAS, located off S.R. 54 in Land O’Lakes, is the only shelter for pets in Pasco County. Its 12,650-sq.-ft. adoption center just opened in the Oakstead community in 2011, and, on any given day, houses an average of 150-200 dogs and cats waiting to find new homes in the community. The facility has nearly 30 employees.

“It’s a great team,” she says. “It’s a really great environment to work in. It’s an awesome place to represent and I’m excited to be working at this facility where there are animals. I’ve always had an animal in my home and can’t imagine what life would be like without a ‘furry friend’ in the house.”


Call Of The Wild

For 28 years, Gregory ran a marketing and sales business out of her home in five different states, including — in addition to Florida — Missouri, New York, Ohio and Virginia.

“I moved around and had to rebuild and start the business from scratch a number of times,” she explains. “It’s nice to use the skills I learned from that experience.”

Gregory says that she has a master’s degree in counseling from Long Island University in Brookville, as well as a special education teaching degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

To get the position, she had to apply, interview and do a presentation with PCAS, detailing what she would bring to the position. But, the main reason she thinks she was chosen was for her extensive experience in volunteer coordinating for the American Cancer Society and several booster clubs in each of the states she’s lived in over the past 15 years.

“This is a nice blend of my skills and my education,” she says. “I felt that (getting the position) would give me the chance to really help animals, as well as people. I get to help homeless animals find homes, and help people add to their families. Animal companions can be amazing for people of all ages and it’s exciting to get to watch people take an animal home.”

For more info about PCAS, located at 19640 Dogpatch Ln. in Land O’Lakes, please visit the Animal Services page on, or at PCASAP. PCAS’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Friends of Animal Services, Inc., also accepts donations of pet supplies and cash to their Call PCAS at 929-1212.








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