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

  • 13 Jul 2017 12:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    On June 15th FAAWO held a forty-five minute webinar including Q&A addressing the plight of shelters in managing pet overpopulation.  Guest host Emily Prusnek, Specialist at No More Homeless Pets Network, and Desiree Triste-Aragon, Community Cats Project Supervisor, shared information on the relevant subject matter.

    In all, twenty-nine individuals participated in the webinar consisting of twenty-five organizations and two independents.  The response was wonderful and our feedback validated the need and direction that FAAWO seeks to provide all of our Animal Welfare partners.

    “This morning's webinar was fabulously educational for me.  It made me realize how far ahead Manatee County is on our community cat program. Thanks for letting me know about it!”  Sue

  • 28 Jun 2017 8:16 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Public Release: 23-May-2017

    Declawing linked to aggression and other abnormal behaviors in cats



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    IMAGE: The surgery, which involves removing the distal bone of the toes, is banned in many countries. view more 

    Credit: Nicole Martell-Moran

    Declaw surgery (onychectomy) is illegal in many countries but is still a surprisingly common practice in some. It is performed electively to stop cats from damaging furniture, or as a means of avoiding scratches. Previous research has focused on short-term issues following surgery, such as lameness, chewing of toes and infection, but the long-term health effects of this procedure have not to date been investigated.

    According to research published today in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery*, declawing increases the risk of long-term or persistent pain, manifesting as unwanted behaviors such as inappropriate elimination (soiling/urinating outside of the litter box) and aggression/biting. This is not only detrimental to the cat (pain is a major welfare issue and these behaviors are common reasons for relinquishment of cats to shelters), but also has health implications for their human companions, as cat bites can be serious.

    For the study, the author group, based in North America, investigated a total of 137 non-declawed cats and 137 declawed cats, of which 33 were declawed on all four feet. All 274 cats were physically examined for signs of pain and barbering (excessive licking or chewing of fur) and their medical history was reviewed for unwanted behaviors. They found that inappropriate toileting, biting, aggression and overgrooming occurred significantly more often in the declawed cats than the non-declawed cats (roughly 7, 4, 3 and 3 times more often, respectively, based on the calculated odds ratio). A declawed cat was also almost 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with back pain than a non-declawed cat (potentially due to shortening of the declawed limb and altered gait, and/or chronic pain at the site of the surgery causing compensatory weight shift to the pelvic limbs).

    The surgical guideline for performing declawing, as recommended by Diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, is to remove the entire third phalanx (P3), which is the most distal bone of the toe. Despite this, P3 fragments were found in 63% of the declawed cats in this study, reflecting poor or inappropriate surgical technique. While the occurrence of back pain and abnormal behaviors was increased in these cats, the authors emphasize that even optimal surgical technique does not eliminate the risks. They explain that removal of the distal phalanges forces the cat to bear weight on the soft cartilaginous ends of the middle phalanges (P2) that were previously shielded within joint spaces. Pain in these declawed phalanges prompts cats to choose a soft surface, such as carpet, in preference to the gravel-type substrate in the litter box; additionally, a painful declawed cat may react to being touched by resorting to biting as it has few or no claws left to defend itself with.

    Lead author of the paper Nicole Martell-Moran, a veterinary practitioner in a cat-only clinic in Houston, Texas, USA, comments: 'The result of this research reinforces my opinion that declawed cats with unwanted behaviors may not be "bad cats", they may simply need pain management. We now have scientific evidence that declawing is more detrimental to our feline patients than we originally thought and I hope this study becomes one of many that will lead veterinarians to reconsider declawing cats.'


    *Martell-Moran NK, Solano M and Townsend HGG. Pain and adverse behavior in declawed cats. J Feline Med Surg. Epub ahead of print 23 May 2017. DOI: 10.1177/1098612X17705044.

    The article is currently free to read here.


  • 15 Jun 2017 9:25 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Important information about the Canine Influenza Outbreak:

     With the announcement by the Florida State Veterinarian of the first confirmed outbreak of canine influenza H3N2 (CIV H3N2) in the state, other confirmed cases this March in California, and last year's outbreaks in Chicago and a number of other states, this highly contagious disease needs to be on the radar of all shelters and foster-based rescue groups that handle dogs.

    "This is a virus that is highly contagious and easily transmitted within a population of dogs such as those housed in shelters," said Dr. Cynda Crawford of the Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida. "Most dogs have no immunity to it. Coughing dogs produce virus-containing mists that can travel 20 feet or more in the air, so the disease can spread in epidemic proportions. Most infected dogs have some symptoms, and some will go on to develop life-threatening pneumonia."

    While the Florida outbreak is associated with dogs who attended a regional dog show, Crawford pointed out that if the outbreak makes its way into shelters, it would severely impact lifesaving capacity. "Because dogs are contagious for up to four weeks, shelters would have to develop extended isolation procedures to prevent spreading the disease back out into the community," she said. "It's very hard for a shelter to house dogs in an isolation capacity for an entire month before they can move to a home or pet placement partner."

    That may sound daunting, but there's good news, too. "Fortunately, CIV is a highly treatable infection that most dogs can recover from without complication," said Crawford. "While the virus can survive in the environment - things like kennel surfaces, crates, food/water bowls, collars/ leashes, toys, beds, vehicles - or on people's clothing and hands for up to 24 hours before it dies, it's easily killed by most disinfectants, handwashing with soap and water, normal laundering of clothing and bedding, and washing food and water bowls and toys with soap and water.

    "It is not a public health threat, or some very lethal disease that would trigger consideration of depopulation. There are strategies to manage CIV transmission within a shelter population with outcomes that save the dogs' lives and get them placed into homes safely, without spreading disease in the community. We've used these strategies for years in shelters, and there is expertise available to help shelters formulate such strategies.

    "Doing that will involve effective communication both internally and with the community at large, including veterinarians. Fortunately, this this type of communication and transparency usually engenders public support and understanding."

    Shelters can also take steps to stop a CIV outbreak before it starts. "Heightened awareness of the presence of CIV in your community or areas you acquire dogs from is key," said Crawford. Her recommendations:

    • If possible, don't admit coughing dogs
    • If you have to admit coughing dogs, isolate them immediately and test for CIV so you'll know how to proceed
    • As people surrendering dogs if they have been coughing, or around other dogs who were coughing or ill, in the last two weeks. If so, ask them it's possible for them to schedule a surrender appointment for two weeks later instead of immediately.

    Crawford also urged foster-based rescue groups to be prepared to respond to CIV H3N2, as they could inadvertently bring an infected dog into their home and expose other dogs in the home to the virus. "But foster homes without other dogs can be a great resource for a sick dog, who will do better in a homelike environment as opposed to an institutional setting. Foster groups can play a major role in helping manage CIV in shelters, but they have to be aware of how to deal with the situation."

    Shelters and foster-based rescue groups who observe a greater-than-normal number of coughing dogs in their care can consult this document for more information, including how to contact the Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at UF and other experts for assistance and advice.


    Additional information can be found at the links below:

    Canine Influenza H3N2: Frequently Asked Questions 

    Management of Disease Outbreaks in Shelters 

    Collection of Swabs for Diagnosis of Respiratory Pathogens by PCR  

    Video: Collection of Swabs from Dogs and Cats for Respiratory Pathogen PCR Testing 

    FAQ for Veterinarians on Canine Influenza 

    Info for Pet Owners on Canine Influenza 

  • 2 Jun 2017 11:47 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    2017-18 FAAWO Calendar of Events


    Florida Legislative Webinar
    Advocating for Humane Legislation

    Humane Society of the United States

    August 17, 2017, Noon – 1:00



    Maddie’s Shelter Medicine - Session #1

    From Cats to Caregivers: A Holistic Approach to Caring for Shelter Cats, Staff and Volunteers

    September 14, 2017
    Cat Depot, Sarasota

    9:30 AM to 2:30 PM
    Lunch Included

    Session titles
    • The Million Cat Challenge: Florida’s Urgent Roadmap to Save More Cats
    • Not Another Blue Dot: Advances in FeLV and FIV Management for Shelter Cats
    • Healing Together: Welfare and Wellness for Animal Caregivers


    • Dr. Julie Levy, Maddie’s Professor of Shelter Medicine
    • Dr. Ron Del Moro, Licensed Mental Health Counselor


    • Nonprofits, Shelter Staff, Rescue Volunteers
    • Municipal Organizations
    • Rescue Organization
    • Veterinary Clinics, veterinary technicians, veterinarians


    Teleconference Legislative Lunch

    with Jen Hobgood, Ph.D. Director, State Legislation Southeast Region ASPCA, FAAWO Advisory Board Member
    Details TBD

    Maddie’s Shelter Medicine - Session #2

    “From Cats to Caregivers: A Holistic Approach to Caring for Shelter Cats, Staff and Volunteers”

    October 11, 2017
    Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River, Vero Beach

    9:30 AM to 2:30 PM
    Lunch Included

    Session titles
    • The Million Cat Challenge: Florida’s Urgent Roadmap to Save More Cats
    • Not Another Blue Dot: Advances in FeLV and FIV Management for Shelter Cats
    • Healing Together: Welfare and Wellness for Animal Caregivers


    • Dr. Julie Levy, Maddie’s Professor of Shelter Medicine
    • Dr. Ron Del Moro, Licensed Mental Health Counselor


    • Nonprofits, Shelter Staff, Rescue Volunteers
    • Municipal Organizations
    • Rescue Organization
    • Veterinary Clinics, veterinary technicians, veterinarians


    Best Friends Animal Society Seminar
    Details TBD



    FAAWO Webinar: Community Cat Programs (For more information go here)

    Best Friends Animal Society
    Thu, Jun 15, 2017 12:00PM - 1:00PM EST


    Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone. 
    You can also dial in using your phone (but there will be a visual presentation). 
    United States (Toll Free): 1 866 899 4679 
    United States: +1 (571) 317-3117

    Access Code: 863-196-165 

    It’s estimated that nearly three-quarters of cats who enter our nation’s animal shelters each year don’t make it out alive. Most are free-roaming “community cats,” many of whom are not suitable for adoption into homes. This ineffective, costly and inhumane approach to managing community cats is steadily being replaced with progressive community cat programs (CCPs). These shelter-based programs are effective at reducing the numbers of these cats, reducing shelter admissions and shelter deaths, saving taxpayers money and providing a public health benefit to the community. Join Desiree and Emily of Best Friends Animal Society to learn more about these programs and how you can be involved in your own community!

    Emily Prusnek, No More Homeless Pets Network Specialist
    Desiree Triste-Aragon, Community Cats Project Supervisor

    The presentation is roughly 45 minutes with 15+ minutes for questions.
  • 2 Jun 2017 11:06 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Current state Statute requires disclosure of certain shelter data upon request on a monthly basis however not everyone compiles in providing this data.  Further complication of obtaining meaningful data results from no master list of shelters, sanctuaries, and rescue groups in Florida being available. This prevents the development of statewide animal sheltering trends and puts the onus on individuals to collect data.  Some shelters refuse to comply, even though the statute is more than 3 year old. 

    Florida animal shelters are invited to join a statewide initiative to develop a reliable snapshot of the state’s shelter animal census.  Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida is responding to a request for information that we frequently receive from Florida shelter managers:  How many cats and dogs are admitted to shelters each year and what happens to them?

    This is the question that the Second Triennial Florida Shelter Animal Census is meant to answer and a new census is being conducted right now! Your shelter can participate by submitting shelter data for calendar year 2016 (January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016).  We’re asking all Florida animal shelters to fill out a brief survey with your shelter data and information.  Click the button below to launch the official census survey and submit your shelter data and information. 


  • 2 Jun 2017 9:54 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Florida Legislative Session 2017

    HB 515 (Watson) / SB 1162 (Rader) Companion Animal Protection Act             

    Directs animal shelters to take certain measures relating to the holding, treatment, & euthanasia of animals; provides exceptions; provides for declaratory or injunctive relief actions.

    Status: No hearing, died in committee.

    HB 17 (Fine) & SB 1158 (Passidomo) (Not Companion Bills) Local Regulation Preemption         

    Local Regulation Preemption; Prohibits certain local governments from imposing or adopting certain regulations on businesses, professions, & occupations after certain date; preempts to state regulations concerning businesses, professions, & occupations; provides exceptions to preemption.

    Status: Passed 1 House committee; died.

    HB 743 (Smith) / SB 515 (Young) Steroids in Greyhound Racing                             

    Provides that positive test result for anabolic steroids in greyhound results in violation.

    Status: Passed House, passed 2 Senate Committees, died in Senate.

    HB 7037 (La Rosa) / SB 8 (Galvano) Gaming                                                                                       

    SB 8 included a measure to decouple greyhound racing from other forms of gaming and require injury reporting by greyhound tracks. HB 7037, however, prohibited decoupling for 20 years.

    Status: Passed Senate/House, withdrawn from Conference Committee on Gaming; died.

    HB 871 (Ingoglia) / SB 1628 (Young) Animal Abuser Registry                                                      

    Requires FDLE to post publicly accessible list on its website of persons convicted of specified animal abuse offenses; requires each clerk of court to forward notice of animal abuse conviction to FDLE within specified time; provides requirements for list; specifies period for listing; provides for removal of listing if conviction is expunged or sealed; requires FDLE to send annual notice to specified entities; authorizes probation conditions to prohibition certain persons from having certain responsibilities for or association with animals.

    Status: Passed 1 House committee; died.

    HB 1375 (J. Grant) / SB 1374 (Perry) Specialty License Plates                                                      

    Revises presale specialty license plate voucher requirements; prohibits development of new plates except under certain circumstances; provides requirements for issuance of such plates; [. . . .] revises design of, deletes provisions relating to, revises distribution of proceeds from sale of, & directs DHSMV to create certain plates.

    Status: Passed House, died.

    HB 627 (Moskowitz) / SB 320 (Steube) Dogs in Vehicles                                                               

    Requires person transporting a dog in certain areas of certain vehicles or trailers to secure dog; provides penalty; provides exceptions; preempts regulation of transportation of dogs in vehicles to state; declares void certain ordinances/rules adopted by local governments; requires court to declare such ordinances/rules invalid & issue permanent injunction.

    Status: No hearing, died in committee.

    SB 212 Animal Hoarding  (Steube)                                                                                                                          

    Prohibiting animal hoarding; providing penalties and remedies for animal hoarding, etc.

    Status: Died, no House companion.

    HB 151 (Brodeur and Moskowitz) / SB 416 (Montford) Dogs in Court

    Provides that judges may allow use of certain therapy animals or facility dogs in proceedings involving abuse, abandonment, or neglect; allows such animals to be used when taking testimony of certain other persons.

    Status:  Passed. Signed by officers and presented to the Governor (5/4).

    HB 979 (Hardemon) / SB 1466 (Campbell) Pet Dealers

    Requires pet dealers to only sell or offer for sale dogs procured from humane society, animal shelter, or person or entity who has not been adjudicated and issued certain citations for violating federal Animal Welfare Act; prohibits unlicensed commercial dog breeder from selling dog to pet dealer; requires pet dealer to retain certain records for specified period after sale; provides penalties.

    Status: No hearing, died in committee.

  • 6 Dec 2016 9:03 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Help the Psychology Department at the University of South Florida – Sarasota-Manatee with some research! Click the link below to take their survey.

    Download File

  • 22 Feb 2016 9:05 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    SARASOTA, FL — The U.S. Humane Society has released its annual scorecard showing which Congressional leaders stand out on animal rights issues and which ones fall short of the mark.

    Using a 100-point scale, with room for extra credit, the nonprofit organization ranked Senators and Representatives based on issues that arose during 2015. The Senate scorecard, for example, includes points for those who voted against delisting lesser prairie chickens from the Endangered Species Act, those who signed a funding letter and Senators who took leadership roles by sponsoring pro-animal legislation. The House scorecard provided points for those who cosponsored bills to protect animals, among other factors.
    U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Florida, was the only Republican in the House or Senate to earn a score of 100-plus. Buchanan has been outspoken on a number of animal-related issues. Earlier this year, for example, he penned a letter urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider its position on weakening protection for Florida’s manatee population under the Endangered Species Act. He’s also called on the Obama Administration to designate critical habitat for the endangered Florida panther.
    While Buchanan’s score sets him apart from other Republican, he says “stopping animal cruelty and safeguarding threatened wildlife should be a bipartisan issue important to us all.”
    “Congressman Buchanan has been a leading advocate for animal protection in Congress, preventing animal cruelty and protecting endangered species,” Michael Markarian, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, said in a statement.

    Here’s a look at how other Florida representatives scored:
    • Bill Nelson, Democrat – 43
    • Marco Rubio, Republican – 0
    • Gus Bilirakis, Republican – 22
    • Corrine Brown, Democrat – 44
    • Kathy Castor, Democrat – 78
    • Curt Clawson, Republican – 0
    • Ander Crenshaw, Republican – 33
    • Carlos Curbelo, Republican – 78
    • Ron DeSantis, Republican – 11
    • Ted Deutch, Democrat – 100
    • Mario Diaz-Balart, Republican – 33
    • Lois Frankel, Democrat – 100
    • Gwen Graham, Democrat – 44
    • Alan Grayson, Democrat – 100
    • Alcee Hastings, Democrat – 100+
    • David Jolly, Republican – 56
    • John Mica, Republican – 33
    • Jeff Miller, Republican – 0
    • Patrick Murphy, Democrat – 100
    • Richard Nugent, Republican – 22
    • Bill Posey, Republican – 22
    • Tom Rooney, Republican – 22
    • Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Republican – 78
    • Dennis Ross, Republican – 44
    • Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democrat – 100
    • Daniel Webster, Republican – 0
    • Frederica Wilson, Democrat – 100
    • Ted Yoho, Republican – 33
    To see the full Humane Scorecard, visit the U.S. Humane Society online.
    Photo courtesy of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
  • 11 Dec 2015 9:06 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    SB 920 - Cruelty to Animals
    General Bill by Sachs
    Cruelty to Animals: Establishing that property used or attempted to be used as an instrumentality in the commission of felony cruelty to animals is subject to forfeiture; revising the definition of the term “contraband article”, etc.
    Effective Date: 07/01/2016
    Last Event: 11/19/15 S Filed on Thursday, November 19, 2015 2:27 PM

    SB 732 - Greyhound Racing
    General Bill by Smith
    Greyhound Racing: Creating the "Greyhound Safety Act"; prohibiting the Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation from granting a license or permit to an applicant convicted of animal cruelty, felony aggravated assault or battery, or felony child abuse; requiring the division to immediately revoke a license or permit of a person convicted of animal cruelty; providing that the division may not commence administrative proceedings and must reinstate a suspended license if the division cannot confirm a positive test result; providing certain requirements for maintaining safe racing facilities and racetrack surfaces, etc.
    Effective Date: 07/01/2016
    Last Event: 11/18/15 S Referred to Regulated Industries; Criminal Justice; Appropriations on Wednesday, November 18, 2015 2:22 PM

    SB 412 - Greyhound Racing Injuries
    General Bill by Sobel
    Greyhound Racing Injuries: Citing this act as the "Victoria Q. Gaetz Racing Greyhound Protection Act"; requiring injuries to racing greyhounds to be reported on a form adopted by the Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering in the Department of Business and Professional Regulation within a certain timeframe; specifying the information that must be included in the form, etc.
    Effective Date: 07/01/2016
    Last Event: 10/09/15 S Referred to Regulated Industries; Fiscal Policy on Friday, October 09, 2015 10:50 AM

    CS/CS/SB 308 - Unattended Persons and Animals in Motor Vehicles
    General Bill by Judiciary and Criminal Justice and Benacquisto
    Unattended Persons and Animals in Motor Vehicles: Providing definitions; providing immunity from civil liability for entry into a motor vehicle to remove a person or animal under certain circumstances; providing for applicability, etc.
    Effective Date: Upon becoming a law
    Last Event: 12/03/15 S Pending reference review under Rule 4.7(2) - (Committee Substitute) on Thursday, December 03, 2015 10:40 AM

    SB 200 - Animals Confined in Unattended Motor Vehicles
    General Bill by Hukill
    Last Event: Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - 09/15/15 S Referred to Criminal Justice; Judiciary; Rules

    SB 334 - Severe Injuries Caused by Dogs
    General Bill by Montford
    Severe Injuries Caused by Dogs: Specifying circumstances under which a dog that has caused severe injury to a human may be returned to its owner rather than be destroyed, etc.
    Effective Date: 07/01/2016
    Last Event: 12/01/15 S CS by Judiciary; YEAS 8 NAYS 0 on Tuesday, December 01, 2015 5:44 PM

    CS/SB 440 - Care for Retired Law Enforcement Dogs
    General Bill by Criminal Justice, Abruzzo
    Last Event: Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 11/19/15 S Now in Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice

    SB 680 - Companion Animals
    General Bill by Ring
    Companion Animals: Authorizing the award of damages to an owner for loss of companionship in an action against a veterinarian for the death of his or her companion animal which resulted from the veterinarian’s negligence or recklessness, etc.
    Effective Date: 07/01/2016
    Last Event: 11/18/15 S Referred to Regulated Industries; Judiciary; Rules on Wednesday, November 18, 2015 2:22 PM

    HB 71 - Companion Animals
    General Bill by Watson, B. and Smith (CO-SPONSORS) Berman; Gaetz
    Companion Animals: Directs animal shelters to take certain measures relating to the holding, treatment, & euthanasia of animals; provides exceptions; provides for declaratory or injunctive relief actions.
    Effective Date: July 1, 2016
    Last Event: Now in Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee on Thursday, September 10, 2015 9:59 AM

  • 13 Nov 2015 9:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Click here to call your U.S. senator and ask him or her to support and cosponsor the SAFE Act.

    S. 1214—The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act of 2015

    Sponsors:  Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Susan Collins (R-ME)
    ASPCA Position:  Support
    Action Needed:  Please call your U.S. senator right now and ask him or her to support and cosponsor the SAFE Act.

    From the ASPCA:

    Horse slaughter is a cruel, unnecessary, predatory industry. While there is no domestic market for horse meat, approximately 150,000 American horses each year are trucked to slaughtering facilities in Mexico and Canada to be killed and butchered for human consumption.

    The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (S.1214) would end this cruel practice by prohibiting the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the U.S. and banning their export abroad for that purpose.
    Every horse is just one bad sale away from slaughter. Until a federal ban is in place, no horse is safe.

Florida Association of Animal Welfare Organizations


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