Mardi Gras Queen June Bug [ Franklin County Humane Society ]
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Mystic Krewe sends sheriff to the dogs

At a Feb. 9 luncheon at the Station Raw Bar, the Mystic Krewe of Salty Barkers kicked off their Pawdi-Gras celebrations with the announcement that Franklin County Sheriff A. J. Smith would be Grand Marshal of the annual Apalachicola Mardi Gras Barkus Parade this Saturday, Feb. 24 at the city’s Riverfront Park.

Each year the Krewe selects a person who has demonstrated efforts to improve the welfare of animals on the Forgotten Coast. Smith was chosen in recognition for his longtime efforts to help stop animal abuse and neglect. 

Sheriff A.J. Smith taking part in the African-American History Festival Saturday morning.
[ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

A worker at the Station Raw Bar told the gathering that he once saw the sheriff almost arrest a person who had left an animal in a hot car. In his remarks, Smith educated the Krewe about what law enforcement can do when animal welfare is a concern, underscoring the fact that the department can only enforce the law as it is written. 

He encouraged those who have concerns about an animal living in dangerous conditions or enduring possible abuse or neglect to contact local and state lawmakers to share these concerns and change the way the laws are written.

Several dedicated members of the Krewe said they are willing to take on that future initiative.

This Saturday’s Barkus Parade raises funds for both the Franklin County Humane

Society and Florida Wild Mammal Association. Animals and their people parade in costume-themed attire while helping raise money to assist with costs related to animal care, such as food, housing, medical care, etc.

Appearing as the Apalachicola Mardi Gras Queen will be June Bug, a goofy and affectionate 3-year-old Basset hound surrendered reluctantly by her former owner. 

Mardi Gras King Noa [ Franklin County Humane Society ]

Making an appearance as king, also available for adoption, is Noa, a relaxed and gentle 3-year-old with border collie and blue heeler ancestry. He came to the shelter with a leg injury that has since healed.

Don’t expect to see the sheriff’s newly enlisted rescue dog Tucker out for the Barkus festivities. “Tucker is more of a safe-at-home dog,” said Smith.

The sheriff will lead the parade in his traditional cowboy hat and boots, right in line with this year’s theme of “Git along little doggies.”

Populating the Mardi Gras-inspired festivities will be a parade of canines in Western-wear fashion, as well as dancing to local artists Flying-Fish, an auction, unique crafts and food vendors and a chance to shake the hand of the sheriff for his service to all, including the animals lucky enough to call the Forgotten Coast home.

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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