“I hope this will inspire someone else to make a difference in the lives of helpless animals … I wanted to do this to be the voice for animals.”
DEBORAH WHEELER @WaltonSunDeb
Walton County’s own Alaqua Animal Refuge is again going big time with its own TV series on the National Geographic network Nat Geo Wild.
“We made a pilot about a year ago and put it out there, and a production company reached out to us to do a TV show,” said Alaqua founder Laurie Hood. “But I didn’t want it to be just a TV show. If we were to do it, I wanted to show who we are and what we do and where we are trying to go.”
National Geographic reached out to Hood about picking up the series and she felt it was the perfect fit.
Hood works directly with law enforcement, which is unique animal rescue organizations, and mostly with one partner — Walton County Sheriff’s Office’s Criminal Investigator Breezy Adkinson.
“We’re kind of like Cagney and Lacey,” said Hood with a chuckle. “We are very different personalities.”
And that is one of the angles the producers chose to show — the hard-nosed investigator wearing a gun and the savior of animals.
Filming began in September 2017 with film crews at Alaqua all day, every day, for 18 weeks.
“They shot drone shots and they set up cameras in the car, and they showed how difficult it can be to get these things prosecuted. They shot us going into puppy mills and abuse cases, as well as people who have fallen on hard times and can’t care for their pets,” said Hood.
The show picked up on that aspect with the synopsis of the series being “In the Florida Panhandle, when hard times fall on citizens, it often means hard times for their animals.”
“It is surreal for me,” said Hood. “They show everything we are trying to do. I wanted a new facility because we can’t help all the animals at our current facility. I need to reach a national audience. This shows who we are and what we do.”
The main focus will be on Hood and Adkinson, but Hood’s team of volunteers and her veterinarians were also filmed trying to save the lives of animals, as well as Adkinson’s team.
“I hope this will inspire someone else to make a difference in the lives of helpless animals,” said Hood. “I think it will be pretty powerful. I wanted to do this to be the voice for animals.”
Since its founding in 2007, Hood and her team have saved and given refuge to more than 20,000 abused, neglected, and abandoned animals of all varieties.
The series “Animal PD” will premiere at 9 p.m. April 14 and will be a recurring series.
The Hub in Seacrest will host a premiere party and broadcast the premiere on its big screen that night.