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Conga for a Cause: Adopting a No-Kill Policy in Manatee County | Community Spirit

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Conga for a Cause: Adopting a No-Kill Policy in Manatee County
Conga for a Cause: Adopting a No-Kill Policy in Manatee County

Manatee County, Florida -- It all began when island musician Mike Sales got deleted from Wikipedia.

Hurt, but not crushed, he approached the Mayor Bob Bartelt – who happened to be at one of his shows on Anna Maria Island.

“Pardon me Mayor, but I'm having a little trouble getting into Wikipedia and they'll never call me to perform in the USO if I'm not a household name. So, would you be so kind as to give me some designation like the official singer of Bradenton Beach?

The mayor responded that, while it was perfectly in his province to issue a proclamation, he wouldn't do that because there are many fine singers on the island who would qualify just as well...

He decided to set himself apart by writing a song that would capture the vibe of Anna Maria Island and hosting an event where people could dance to it on the beach. Gradually, it evolved into an attempt to create the longest beach conga line in world history.

While popping in to the Islander newspaper to buy advertising for his endeavor, he met Lisa Williams. Williams works at the newspaper, and recently, she’s been getting a lot of attention in them as well.

After publically criticizing the Manatee County shelter for killing 140 animals in December  of 2010, while boasting of finding homes for 10 rescues, she was referred to by the county as having a “Pollyanna Complex.” Williams was then challenged by the local animal network to adopt and find homes for the first ten animals scheduled to be killed in February…which she did…singlehandedly.

You can read more about the story here.

Lisa Williams began by spending time with all the dogs and cats on the list, learning their personalities in order to find the perfect caretaker. She advertised like crazy, drove them wherever they needed to go and made personal home visits to the adopters.

“I was paying for all of this myself. I think the point of challenge was to break me and make me go away” She told me.

Mike Sales, having adopted his own boxer-lab mix from the shelter four years ago, wanted to help. And, his event happened to be the perfect place to give Lisa Williams the opportunity to spread awareness about the need for more volunteers, foster homes and financial support for Manatee County shelters.

That’s how Conga for a Cause came to be.

Williams is confident that the community can successfully adopt a no kill policy, and will be on site at the event, handing out information and selling t-shirts and bracelets. All donations and product sales will go towards her efforts to create Moonracer: No Kill Animal Rescue.

People interested in learning more can find helpful information by reading Redemption and The No Kill Equation by Nathan Winograd.

Conga for a cause dances into town on Saturday, April 23 from 1-2 p.m. on Bradenton Beach on Anna Maria Island. You can find out more by visiting www.mikesalessings.com

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