The information contained within this blog is for information purposes only and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of FAAOW.

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  • 10 Jul 2018 7:35 AM | Anonymous


    In April of 2017, a nine-month-old Labrador puppy named “Ponce” was allegedly beaten to death in his home. Later in the year, the aftermath of Hurricane Irma displaced hundreds of dogs and cats from their families as people and animals alike sought refuge across county lines.  In response, during the 2018 legislative session, state lawmakers passed SB 1576 Animal Welfare by Sen. Steube (R-Sarasota) and Rep. Leek (R-Daytona Beach).

    SB 1576 contains protections for animals from cruelty and safeguards for owned lost pets. SB 1576 increases the sentencing guidelines level for violations of felony aggravated animal cruelty and clarifies a court’s ability to issue orders of no animal contact for those convicted of misdemeanor or felony animal cruelty.

    In addition, SB 1576 created Florida State Statute 823.151 to help animal shelters of all sizes return lost pets to their owners by requiring shelters, animal control agencies, and humane organizations that accept lost or stray dogs and cats to develop reasonable policies and procedures to quickly and reliably return lost pets to their families.

    While many animal shelters in Florida currently have reasonable lost pet policies in place, adopting statewide minimum standards is a crucial next step towards elevating and standardizing commonsense practices that can reunite lost pets with their owners, and the Florida Association of Animal Welfare Organization applauds the Florida Legislature for passing this humane legislation.

    SB 1576 creates F.S.S. 823.151, which requires public or private shelters, animal control agencies, and humane organizations such as rescue groups, who take in lost or stray dogs or cats, to develop written policies and procedures to ensure that owned pets are quickly and reliably returned to owners. Such policies and procedures must include the following criteria specified in the new law:

    • screening for identification, such as tags and microchips, upon intake;
    • ša process for matching pets coming into the shelter with reports of lost pets made to the shelter by owners;
    •  public notice of stray dogs and cats received by the shelter, provided at the shelter or on the Internet;
    •  reasonable efforts to notify identified pet owners within 48 hours;
    • špublic notice of shelter hours, location, and return-to-owner process;
    • šaccess for owners to claim lost pets outside of normal business hours at least 1 weekend day per week and after 5:00 p.m. 1 weekday per week (no increase in total operating hours required);
    • direct return-to-owner protocol for returning lost dogs or cats to owners when owners have been identified by an officer in the field;
    • procedural safeguards to minimize the euthanasia of owned dogs and cats that shall include: record verification to ensure that each animal to be euthanized is the correct animal designated for the procedure and proper scanning for an implanted microchip using a universal scanner immediately prior to the procedure; and
    • temporary extension of local stray hold periods when an emergency is declared, if deemed appropriate by local government.

    The cruelty and lost pets provisions in SB 1576 go into effect October 1, 2018.  

    VIEW A TRAINING SLIDESHOW:

    SB1576 Ponce's Law Training JH.pdf

    READ SB1576:

    SB 1576 Animal Welfare Enrolled.pdf

  • 9 Jul 2018 7:25 AM | Anonymous


    Protect Dogs- Yes on 13! is a grassroots campaign led by the Humane Society of the United States and GREY2K USA to end the cruelty of greyhound racing in Florida by the end of 2020. This November Florida voters will finally have a chance to end this cruelty and join the 40 other states where greyhound racing is already illegal. These gentle dogs are confined for 20-23 hours a day in cages barely large enough for them to stand up or turn around, they suffer injuries and sometimes death. According to state records a greyhound dies on a FL track every three days.  This is NO way to treat a dog. Vote yes on 13 for the dogs!  To learn more or to volunteer visit https://voteyeson13.org/   

    Paid political advertisement paid for by FAAWO, PO BOX 220923, West Palm Beach, FL, 33422 and approved by the Committee to Protect Dogs 2640 Mitcham Dr. Tallahassee, FL 32308

  • 21 Jun 2018 3:28 PM | Anonymous

    Hurricane Season is here and it is an obvious time for pet owners to review their disaster preparedness plan for our pets.  However, this plan should be in place all year in case of an emergency.

    The Center for Disease Control offers the following suggestions regarding disaster preparedness for pets.  It is a very comprehensive overview with great information to share with your staff, volunteers and community.

    If a natural disaster strikes, what will happen to your pet? Leaving pets out of evacuation plans can put pets, pet owners, and first responders in danger. Even if you try to create a safe place for them, pets left behind during a disaster are likely to be injured, lost, or worse. It is your responsibility as a pet owner to find out what type of shelters and assistance are available in your area to accommodate pets and to include pets in your disaster plan to keep them safe during an emergency.

    Have you included pets in your disaster plan? Do not wait until it is too late. Start today by doing the following:

    Be prepared: make a plan and prepare a disaster kit for your pet.

    Have a Plan!

    • Make sure your pet(s) wear collars and tags with up-to-date contact information and other identification.
    • Microchip your pet(s) – this is one of the best ways to ensure that you and your pet are reunited if you are separated. Always be sure to register the microchip with the manufacturer and keep your contact information up to date with the microchip company.
    • Purchase a pet carrier for each of your pets (write your pet’s name, your name and contact information on each carrier). Familiarize your pet with its transport crate before a crisis.
    • Keep a leash and/or carrier nearby the exit.
    • Ensure proper equipment for pets to ride in the car (carriers, harnesses, and pet seatbelts).
    • If you do not have a car, arrange transportation with neighbors, family and friends. You can also contact your local government to learn about transportation options during a disaster.

    Decide where you and your pet are going to stay. Based on the severity of a disaster, you may have two options for your pets:

    • Sheltering in place
    • Sheltering in a facility away from home (during an evacuation)

    Sheltering in Place

    When sheltering at home with your pet, make sure the room chosen is pet-friendly in the following ways:

    • Select a safe room, preferably an interior room with no (or few) windows.
    • Remove any toxic chemicals or plants.
    • Close off small areas where frightened cats could get stuck in (such as vents or beneath heavy furniture).

    Sheltering during an Evacuation

    • Contact your local emergency management office and ask if they offer accommodations for owners and their pets.
    • If accommodations are needed for your pet(s) contact local veterinary clinics, boarding facilities, and local animal shelters. Visit the Humane Society website to find a shelter in your area.
    • Contact family or friends outside the evacuation area.
    • Contact a pet-friendly hotel, particularly along evacuation routes.
    • Make plans before disaster strikes for where you and your pets will go. Be aware that pets may not be allowed in local human shelters, unless they are service animals.
    • Check with family or friends outside the evacuation area.
    • Pet-friendly hotels

    Prepare a Pet Disaster Kit

    Prepare a disaster kit for your pet(s), so evacuation will go smoothly for your entire family. Ask your veterinarian for help putting it together. Here is a checklist to get you started. Some examples of what to include are:

    Disaster Supplies for Pets

    • Food (in airtight waterproof containers or cans) and water for at least 2 weeks for each pet
    • Food and water bowls and a manual can opener
    • For cats: litter box and litter
    • For dogs: plastic bags for poop
    • Clean-up items for bathroom accidents (paper towels, plastic trash bags, and bleach-containing cleaning agent)
    • Medications for at least 2 weeks, along with any treats used to give the medications and pharmacy contact for refills
    • Sturdy leashes or harnesses
    • Carrier or cage that is large enough for your pet to stand comfortably and turn around; towels or blankets
    • Pet toys and bed (familiar items to help the pet[s] feel more comfortable).

    Medical records

    • Rabies vaccination certificate
    • Current vaccination record
    • If your pet has a microchip, a record of the microchip number
    • Prescription for medication(s)
    • For cats, most recent FeLV/FIV test result or vaccination date
    • Summary of pertinent medical history; ask your veterinarian for a copy
    • A handout containing identification information (in the event you get separated from your pet)
    • Current photo of pet
    • Pet’s descriptive features (age, sex, neutered/non-neutered status, color(s), and approximate weight)
    • Microchip number
    • Owner contact information (cell phone, work phone, home phone)
    • Contact information of a close relative or friend
    • A handout with boarding instructions, such as feeding schedule, medications, and any known allergies and behavior problems
    • Documents, medications, and food should be stored in waterproof containers


  • 21 Jun 2018 3:21 PM | Anonymous

    Summertime is here!  Throughout Florida we enjoy consistent warm temperatures, humidity, tropical rain and a host of other unique environmental challenges that can have an effect on our pets.

    Here are some tips you may want to pass on to your staff, volunteers and your community regarding summertime pet care so we can all enjoy a safe and fun summer! Thanks to the ASPCA for providing these tips!

    • Visit the vet for a spring or early-summer checkup. Make sure your pets get tested for heartworm if they aren’t on year-round preventative medication.
    • Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot or humid outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful not to over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.
    • Know the symptoms of overheating in pets, which include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.
    • Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
    • Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. Not only can it lead to fatal heat stroke, it is illegal in several states!
    • Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool—not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals.
    • Open unscreened windows pose a real danger to pets, who often fall out of them. Keep all unscreened windows or doors in your home closed, and make sure adjustable screens are tightly secured.
    • Feel free to trim longer hair on your dog, but never shave your dog: The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. And be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.
    • When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close to the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.
    • Commonly used rodenticides and lawn and garden insecticides can be harmful to cats and dogs if ingested, so keep them out of reach. Keep citronella candles, tiki torch products and insect coils of out pets’ reach as well. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 if you suspect your animal has ingested a poisonous substance.
    • Remember that food and drink commonly found at barbeques can be poisonous to pets. Keep alcoholic beverages away from pets, as they can cause intoxication, depression and comas. Similarly, remember that the snacks enjoyed by your human friends should not be a treat for your pet; any change of diet, even for one meal, may give your dog or cat severe digestive ailments. Avoid raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and products with the sweetener xylitol. Please visit our People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets page for more information.
    • Please leave pets at home when you head out to Fourth of July celebrations, and never use fireworks around pets. Exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns or trauma, and even unused fireworks can contain hazardous materials. Many pets are also fearful of loud noises and can become lost, scared or disoriented, so it’s best to keep your little guys safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area of your home. And, of course, be sure they are microchipped and that your contact information is current so that they can be easily reunited with you if they do become lost. 
  • 12 Jun 2018 2:04 PM | Anonymous

    On June 11 the Nassau County commissioners passed an ordinance that prohibits dogs from being tethered unless a responsible person is outside with the dog and the dog is within visual range of that person.

    By population, Nassau County is the smallest Florida county to enact an attended-tethering-only ordinance. Nassau County joins sixteen other Florida counties and dozens of Florida cities and towns to remove man's best friend from the end of a chain.


  • 17 Apr 2018 1:47 PM | Anonymous

    Photo courtesy of Florida Politics

    Yesterday, April 16th, Proposal 6012 was passed by the Constitution Revision Commission with a 27 - 10 vote. Now the fate of dog racing in Florida, and the lives of thousands of greyhounds, are in the hands of voters as the amendment will appear on the November 2018 ballot. The amendment needs 60% approval to be added to the constitution. 

    We hope you'll join us in spreading the news now to dog lovers and animal advocates across the state to vote in support of this life-saving amendment. 

  • 5 Apr 2018 3:50 PM | Anonymous

    It’s official, on March 23, Governor Rick Scott signed SB 1576 Ponce’s Animal Welfare Law (Steube, Leek, Cruz—combined bills HB 823/HB473/SB 952)! This important bill will help keep Florida’s human and animal communities safe by strengthening Florida’s animal cruelty law and elevating and standardizing animal sheltering efforts to reunite lost pets with their families. 

    Here are the 9 criteria outlined by the new law:

    1. Upon intake, screening of lost or stray dogs and cats for identification, including tags, licenses, implanted microchips, and tattoos.  

    2. A process for matching received lost or stray dogs and cats with any reports of lost pets received by the shelter from owners.  

    3. Public notice of lost or stray dogs and cats received, provided at the shelter or on the Internet, as appropriate, within 48 hours of the animal’s admission.  

    4. Reasonable efforts to notify identified owners of lost or stray dogs and cats within 48 hours of identification.  

    5. Notice to the public of the shelter’s location, hours, fees, and the return-to-owner process posted on the Internet, with the shelter’s business hours posted outside the shelter facility and recorded on the shelter’s telephone answering system message.  

    6. Access for owners to retrieve dogs and cats at least 1 weekend day per week and after 5:00 p.m.  

    7. Direct return-to-owner protocols that allow animal control officers in the field to directly return lost or stray dogs and cats to their owners.  

    8. Procedural safeguards to minimize the euthanasia of owned dogs and cats.

    9. Temporary extension of local minimum stray hold periods


  • 5 Apr 2018 12:50 PM | Anonymous

    Message by Renee Rivard and reposted with her permission

    As you may know, the Florida Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) is currently reviewing whether or not to add a proposal to our Florida ballot in November that would phase out greyhound racing.  The CRC needs to give a final answer by May 10th.  We had a great showing of animal advocates to all of the meetings that the CRC held around Florida. There was also a big showing of greyhound breeders who do not want this proposal to go to the ballot. The CRC voted 18 to 14 to send the proposal to the "Style and Drafting" Committee.  Now we wait for a final vote to decide it the proposal will make it to our ballot in November for Florida residents to vote on. In the meantime, the only thing we can do is send e-mails and make phone calls to the commissioners to persuade them to vote for our proposal.

    Florida tracks have roughly 8,000 racing greyhounds.  Greyhound breeders argue that all of these dogs will have to be euthanized if greyhound racing is phased out by 2020.   The Executive Director of The Humane Society Tampa Bay stated at the St. Pete meeting that her shelter and many other organizations are willing to help take the greyhounds that will be retired. To put the CRC commissioners at ease about this, I am encouraging shelters and rescues to contact the CRC commissioners and let them know that your organization would be willing to help place greyhounds into adoptive homes should greyhound racing be phased out.  

    Please take the time to contact the commissioners (e-mail addresses below) if your organization is willing to do so. Please do so right away as a final vote will be coming up soon. 

    Thank You!!

    Commissioner E-mail Addresses:

    Carlos.Beruff@flcrc.gov

    Pam.Bondi@flcrc.gov

    Lisa.Carlton@flcrc.gov

    Timothy.Cerio@flcrc.gov

    Hank.Coxe@flcrc.gov

    Jose.Diaz@flcrc.gov

    Erika.Donalds@flcrc.gov

    Don.Gaetz@flcrc.gov

    Emery.Gainey@flcrc.gov

    Anna.Gamez@flcrc.gov

    Tom.Grady@flcrc.gov

    Brecht.Heuchan@flcrc.gov

    Marva.Johnson@flcrc.gov

    Darlene.Jordan@flcrc.gov

    Arthenia.Joyner@flcrc.gov

    Fred.Karlinsky@flcrc.gov

    Belinda.Keiser@flcrc.gov

    Frank.Krupperbacher@flcrc.gov

    Tom.Lee@flcrc.gov

    Gary.Lester@flcrc.gov

    Patricia.Levesque@flcrc.gov

    Roberto.Martinez@flcrc.gov

    Rich.Newsome@flcrc.gov

    Chris.Nocco@flcrc.gov

    Jeanette.Nunez@flcrc.gov

    Sherry.Plymale@flcrc.gov

    Darryl.Rouson@flcrc.gov

    William.Schifino@flcrc.gov

    Chris.Smith@flcrc.gov

    Bob.Solari@flcrc.gov

    Chris.Sprowls@flcrc.gov

    John.Stargel@flcrc.gov

    John.Stemberger@flcrc.gov

    Pam.Steward@flcrc.gov

    Jacqui.Lippisch@flcrc.gov

    Carolyn.Timmann@flcrc.gov

    Nicole.Washington@flcrc.gov



  • 21 Mar 2018 12:47 PM | Anonymous

    Great news for greyhounds! Proposal 67 passed the first floor vote last night, 18-14, and is now on the way to the Style and Drafting Committee.

    This is a HUGE win for the dogs and much credit should be given to the many animal welfare organizations, and individual supporters who made calls and sat through hours of public hearings to be their voice. 

    We will keep you updated on the next steps to victory for greyhounds. 



  • 8 Mar 2018 3:07 PM | Anonymous

    Message and photo courtesy of HSUS and reprinted with their permission

    The CRC is considering a proposal that would phase out greyhound racing and ultimately prohibit it in Florida.  The CRC commissioners are taking public comments at their final public hearing this Tuesday in St. Pete and it is essential that we have an enormous attendance.  Please join us, HSUS, GREY2K, ASPCA, and many others to speak in support of proposal 67 for the dogs.  Members of the public may speak for up to 2 minutes and even a short comment will be very helpful. Don't know what to say? Here are some examples:

    • “Please support proposal 67 for the greyhounds!”
    • “I urge you to support proposal 67 to phase out greyhound racing in our great state. These gentle dogs deserve better”  

    CRC PULIC HEARING INFORMATION

    Tuesday, March 13, 2018 
    1:00-7:00 PM EST 
    University of South Florida - St. Petersburg
    University Student Center
    200 6th Ave S
    St. Petersburg, FL 33701

    What time is the meeting?

    You can come at any time between 1:00 and 7:00 and speakers are called up in the order their appearance card was submitted. The purpose of the hearing is for the Commission to hear from members of the public. People who sign up to speak will be given two minutes to offer feedback on any CRC proposal they want to talk about.

    How long should I plan to be there?

    There is no way to know exactly but at previous hearings advocates/ speakers typically waited for an hour or 2 + for their turn to speak.  You may want to arrive before noon- CRC staff will begin accepting speaker registration cards at 12:00pm. 

    RESOURCES AND INFORMATION

    Proposal 67 Fact Sheet

    CRC Website

    End Greyhound Cruelty Website

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