Find a rock, get a free pet in Lake County

Hidden rocks with an artistic touch could be the ticket to a free best friend at the Lake County Animal Shelter.

Volunteers from the shelter are hiding rocks painted with the portraits of shelter dogs on them across the county; in parks, community centers, and other popular foot traffic spots. The rocks also have the name of shelter supporting non-profit LEASH Inc. painted on the back.

People who fine one of the rocks can bring them to the Lake County Animal Shelter and exchange it for a free animal adoption.

"You get a lifetime of love just for a rock!" said shelter manager Whitney Boylston.

Leaders at LEASH got the idea from the painted rock scavenger hunts growing in popularity across Central Florida. In those community members paint rocks and hide them in spots like parks and city centers for children, families, and other hunters to find, collect, and share on social media.

Lake County Rocks, a Facebook page dedicated to the game in the county has more than 2100 members. Such pages for the game exist for most local counties and communities in the area.

One of the leaders at LEASH saw volunteer Sheri Meadows participating in the game and painting rocks with messages encouraging shelter animal adoption.

"Contacted me and said Sheri, do you think you can paint a few for the shelter?" said Meadows.

Now Meadows rocks are a lucky find for anyone looking for a new pet.

Boylston and Meadows hope that, even if the finders aren’t looking to add a pet to the family, the rocks get people thinking about the shelters and encourage the community to help their cause.

Right now the Lake County Shelter, like most in Central Florida, is operating beyond full capacity and taking in more animals every day.

The shelter is open Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and for adoptions only on Sunday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.