Animal services

Sumter County Animal Services Volunteer Recognized for Exceptional Service

Theresa Manning was recently honored for her outstanding service, loyalty and dedication to Sumter County Animal Services.

Manning, who received her 2022 Volunteer Recognition Certificate, began volunteering with the agency in March 2021. Since encouraging county commissioners to allow volunteers, Manning said she feels forced to take time out of her schedule to do what she advocated.

Theresa Manning (left) receives her 2022 Volunteer Appreciation Certificate from Sumter County Animal Services Manager Monica Auci, as dog King looks on.

Manning retired from a 60-hour-a-week job to devote more time to the family ranch, where she has no shortage of animals to care for.

“We have around 150 head of cattle, several horses, donkeys, chickens, two cats and 10 dogs,” she said. “I really don’t have time to volunteer, but I do make time to volunteer. My whole life revolves around animals and their well-being.

As for volunteering, Manning says she tries to do whatever is necessary that day, but her main goal is to take the dogs out and socialize.

“I try to give them a break from their kennel and bathe them, if possible,” she said. “I will report any changes noted in the animals and keep the tracking chart up to date so that all dogs have the opportunity to go out and have activities.”

Manning also keeps track of supplies so nothing runs out. She helps with kennel cleaning, laundry and dish cleaning while interacting with and assisting other volunteers. Manning also works with various rescue organizations to have the dogs removed from the kennel.

What does she like most about volunteering?

“I love helping dogs, seeing them get the attention they need and seeing them burn off energy and become calm, even if it’s just for a short time,” she said. “Seeing frightened dogs gain people’s trust. And best of all, is seeing them be adopted, not sent away.

Manning also puts his actions behind his beliefs as most of his dogs are Sumter County rescues dating back to 2007.

While his efforts are remarkable, Manning wishes he could do more.

“There are so many animals that need attention beyond basic care,” she said. “It’s also disturbing to see an adopted dog come back because you know that with a little patience and effort, the adoption could have worked.”

For anyone interested in volunteering with Animal Services, Manning recommends being flexible and open-minded.

“Not everyone needs to handle an anxious 80-pound dog,” she said. “There are cats and other animals that need help or even just sit in a playground and have dogs sitting or lying next to them for a quiet moment; anything that might be useful.

If you are interested in volunteering with Animal Services, complete this form: https://www.sumtercountyfl.gov/volunteer.