News and information from FAAWO members

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  • 13 Mar 2020 8:16 AM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    Florida Animal Friend (FAF) awards annual grants to municipal and non-profit agencies in the state of Florida who perform spay and neutering services to cats and dogs.

    Grant Applications are available each January 1st and the deadline for submission is May 1st. In August, we announce the grant winners and the grant funds are released on August 15th. Follow-up reports are due September 1st the following year.


  • 6 Mar 2020 2:35 PM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    March 26, 2020


    A number of national animal welfare organizations and industry experts have teamed up to curate and compile the most accurate and timely COVID-19 resources. The Daily Digest publishes Monday through Friday


    March 26, 2020

    Video with Julie Levy, DVM, University of FL and Sandra Newberry, DVM University of Wisconsin

    Shelter Medicine experts Dr. Sandra Newbury and Dr. Julie Levy explain why spay/neuter is considered an elective procedure and the multiple reasons why these surgeries should be suspended during COVID-19 

    March 17, 2020

    From The Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida

    The Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida continues to monitor the developing situation as animal shelters cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Below is our Interim Guidance on Shelter Care of Animals Exposed to SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), as well as additional helpful resources for shelter staff health and safety and obtaining help from your community.

    Interim Guidance on Shelter Care of Animals Exposed to SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) Shelter Kit from Animal Sheltering  

    March 6, 2020

    The following information has been provided by Association for Animal Welfare Advancement (AAWA):

    The following links provides accurate information on Coronavirus and how you can support your community, employees and volunteers in preparation for public inquiries regarding COVID-19

    Information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC)

    Information from Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)

    While COVID-19 is contagious for humans and, as of now, is understood to spread primarily from person to person, the WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association) Global Veterinary Community – an association representing more than 200,000 veterinarians – states that there is no evidence that companion animals can be infected.

    The WSAVA does caution that this is a rapidly evolving situation so people confirmed to have COVID-19 should avoid contact with other people as well as pets. The full advisory document from WSAVA can be found here:  READ MORE

  • 18 Feb 2020 10:02 AM | FAAWO (Administrator)


    The Humane Society of Tampa Bay (HSTB) actively mentors other humane organizations in Florida and across the country in Trap/Neuter/Vaccinate/Return (TNVR) best practices. 

    The Society has seen great success in their own TNVR efforts, sterilizing more than 66,000 free-roaming cats since the program's inception in 2008. In addition, with their close partnership with Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center (the county's municipal shelter), HSTB has helped reduce the area's cat euthanasia rate by 60%.

    Representatives from Alley Cat Allies (ACA), including ACA President Becky Robinson, recently visited HSTB to observe the celebrated program in action. Vero Beach Humane Society and Daytona Animal Services are other animal welfare organizations which have recently visited the Society to observe and learn how effective the program is for the community. During the mentorship sessions they learned the following:

    • How guests drop off their feral cats, how paperwork is processed, and how cats are tagged
    • How each cat is prepped for surgery
    • How each cat's temperature, pulse, and respiration (TPR) are monitored when recovering from surgery
    • How the Society's program for Working Cats is structured and managed, including a tour of the Working Cat Adoption Barn
    • How Society staff and volunteers provide one-on-one, post-surgical recovery instructions to each caretaker when they arrive to pick up their cats

    If your organization is interested in mentoring with the Humane Society of Tampa Bay in this life-saving work, please contact HSTB CEO, Sherry Silk at 813.774.4309 or

  • 18 Feb 2020 6:36 AM | FAAWO (Administrator)


    In the animal welfare field, it’s not uncommon to hear people say that they “feel alone” or that “nobody else cares”. It’s a difficult field to work in – heavily passionate -- and it’s easy to feel isolated, and like there is always so much more work to be done. 

    While this is a common sentiment in our field, I’m here to tell you that you are not alone, and while there is certainly always more work to be done, we have a wonderful and large community of like-minded people and organizations to help!

    The Humane Society of the Treasure Coast in Palm City, Florida faced a difficult few months near the end of 2019, receiving three back-to-back feline hoarding cases of twenty or more cats each. Over the course of these three cases, we received all types of cats from young to old, healthy to unwell, social to feral, and everything in between – and that’s on top of our regular intake!

    We reached out to our local community to help, pushed through adoption promotions and Facebook pleas, even press releases. But ultimately we just had more cats than our community could take on, and way more than was appropriate for our capacity for care. 

    When we realized we needed more help, Frank Valente, our president and CEO, got to work reaching out beyond our local community, and out into the animal sheltering community.

    Enter Karen Slomba of the Animal Welfare League of Charlotte County. When Karen heard that we were in need, she reached out and got right to work coordinating a multi-organization transport of cats from HSTC in Palm City, to partner shelters along the west coast of Florida. She coordinated placement for thirty-one of our cats to be sent to four wonderful partner shelters – Humane Society Naples, Gulf Coast Humane Society, Animal Welfare League of Charlotte County, and Humane Society of Sarasota County. 

    To say that we were overwhelmed by the coming together of so many people to help us out is an understatement. We were overjoyed by the thought of getting that number of cats placed with such great organizations and to know that so many people were going to help us – just one small shelter -- get back to an appropriate capacity to care for the pets that depend on us.

    Less than a week after Karen reached out to help us, on a rainy January morning, we found ourselves loading up our transport van with thirty-one cats (and lots of Feliway!), ready to take the next step on their journey in finding forever homes. I spent the day traveling across the state and up the west coast, delivering our precious kitties to each shelter, one by one. I was able to meet some lovely and dedicated intake and animal care staff along the way, and was fortunate to have the opportunity to tour four amazing facilities. 

    That same day, Love Me True Rescue, Inc in Ponte Vedra Beach, took in Serena, a long-time resident cat from HSTC whose behavior struggled from being confined in a shelter. Their dedicated staff and specialized accommodations gave Serena a second chance, and she has since already been adopted. 

    The following week we had an offer from Leon County Humane Society to take in some of our special kitties, when they heard we were in need and they had some extra room available following a hugely successful adoption event. While we weren’t able to make this transport work out this time, we are still incredibly grateful to them for extending their offer.

    We absolutely cannot thank all of these spectacular people and organizations enough for the help they have provided us. Not only that, we can’t express how great it feels to see the animal welfare community come together, work together, and save as many cats as possible. We are refreshed and rejuvenated, and we hope that this partnership helps each and every person reading about it to feel that you are not alone, and that you don’t have to do this on your own. It may be cliché, but it truly takes a village, and we have such a powerful village when it comes together!  

    - Reagan Johnson, TNVR Coordinator, Humane Society of the Treasure Coast.

  • 4 Feb 2020 2:30 PM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    Florida H.B. 1237/S.B. 1698 contains harmful language that would invalidate existing local laws and strip all Florida cities and towns of their authority to enact similar laws, leaving more dogs to suffer in squalid conditions.



    As you may know, most puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills. These commercial breeding facilities prioritize profit over the health and welfare of animals, and dogs owned by these operations are often kept in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions without adequate veterinary care, food, water or socialization.

    That’s why nearly 300 localities across the nation—including almost 70 in Florida—have enacted their own local laws to keep cruelly bred puppies out of their pet stores. In response, pet store lobbyists are pressuring state legislatures to pass “preemption” laws blocking cities and counties from adopting ordinances addressing the retail sale of puppies.

    Contact your Florida State Representative and Florida state Senator today.  Let them know you oppose H.B. 1237/S.B. 1698.

    See our positions on other pending legislation
  • 30 Jan 2020 11:18 AM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    The Humane Society of Tampa Bay (HSTB) actively mentors other humane organizations in Florida and across the country in TNVR best practices. 

    The Society has seen great success in their own TNVR program, sterilizing more than 66,000 free-roaming cats since it's inception in 2007. In addition, their close partnership with Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center, the county's municipal shelter, HSTB has helped reduce the areas cat euthanasia rate by 60%.

    Representatives from Alley Cat Allies, including President Becky Robinson, recently visited HSTB to observe the celebrated program in action. Vero Beach Humane Society and Daytona Animal Services are other animal welfare organizations who have recently received TNVR mentoring from HSTB.

    If your organization is interested in mentoring with the Humane Society of Tampa Bay in this life-saving work, please contact HSTB CEO, Sherry Silk at 813.774.4309 or


  • 30 Jan 2020 7:47 AM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    Florida law enforcement officers are lending their support for legislation to include pets in domestic violence temporary restraining orders (SB 1082/HB241). In a video posted on the ASPCA's Facebook page, Florida law enforcement officers and State Representative Sam Killebrew urge Floridians to join them in supporting the bill.

    The legislation has already passed the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee and the Senate Agriculture Committee. It still must be reviewed by the House Judiciary Committee and the Senate Judiciary and Rules committees. 

    Click on the links below to watch the ASPCA video, a PSA from Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey, read a Fact Sheet about the bill, and take action to show your support for this important piece of legislation!





  • 30 Jan 2020 6:43 AM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    Posted by Kate MacFall, HSUS Florida Director and FAAWO Advisory Board Member: 

    "[It was a] great day on Florida’s Capitol Hill ... learning about and raising awareness on issues pertaining to animals. What was so striking this year is that there are over a dozen animal welfare bills being considered. My take away from this is that whatever we can envision for the world is absolutely achievable with kind, compassionate awareness raising. [I am] very grateful to the organizers of this event and to all those who were able to take time away from their busy lives to be here."

  • 13 Dec 2019 11:27 AM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    New legislation seeks to protect consumers and pets from predatory financing arrangements

    Today, Sen. Annette Taddeo (D-Miami) and Rep. Sam Killebrew (R-Winter Haven) announced new legislation – S.B. 186/H.B. 363 – to end deceptive rent-to-own “pet leasing” arrangements that are being offered at Florida pet stores and leave consumers and pets at great risk. They were joined by representatives from the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) and the Florida Association of Animal Welfare Organizations(FAAWO), as well as supporters from the Leon County Humane Society, Animal Welfare League of Charlotte County, Flagler Humane Society, Pensacola Humane Society and SPCA Tampa Bay.

    Puppies sold in pet stores are often accompanied by soaring sticker prices. To make the puppies appear more affordable, pet sellers partner with private lending companies that offer leasing plans. These agreements are not only saddled with hidden fees and high buyout payments, they are actually leases, meaning the new family does not legally own the dog. Instead, the dog is the property of the leasing company for the entire length of the lease, which might last several years. Besides taking advantage of unknowing consumers, having a third party retain ownership of a pet raises serious ethical questions about who is permitted to make important medical decisions on behalf of the animal.

    “This deceptive and predatory practice is heart-wrenching, it not only affects costumers it has harmful effects on our pets,” said Sen. Taddeo. “To many of us, our pets are part of our family. Once they are home with us, I can’t fathom being forced to choose between making a monthly lease payment or having the pet repossessed.”

    “As a volunteer with Lucky Star Cavalier Rescue, I have seen firsthand the impact cruel breeding can have on dogs raised in commercial breeding facilities where they are often kept in dark, cramped and dirty conditions and they never get to experience love and kindness,” said Rep. Killebrew. “Dogs are not like cars and they should not be used as collateral by the pet industry that places profit over the welfare of animals. This bipartisan bill will help protect consumers from financial loss and prevent financing companies from threatening to repossess beloved family pets.”

    “The ASPCA has long warned consumers to be skeptical of the pet stores and online sellers who may try to deceive them about the sources and health of the dogs they sell, and pet leasing is just one more example of the disregard many pet stores have for the well-being of their animals,” said Jennifer Hobgood, senior director of state legislation for the ASPCA, Southeast region. “These deceptive, predatory financing arrangements benefit only the lending company and the pet seller—not the consumer, and certainly not the animal involved. We thank Senator Taddeo and Representative Killebrew for introducing this critical bill to protect consumers and pets from these deceptive financing schemes, and we hope Florida will join the growing number of states that have enacted laws to prohibit pet leasing.”

    “Pet leasing schemes result in a predatory financial transaction. New pet owners need support and guidance, especially if it turns out the pet isn’t a good fit,” said Martha Boden (left), president of the Florida Association of Animal Welfare Organizations, Tampa Bay SPCA, CEO. “Leasing exploits the human/animal bond at the expense of animals and the people who love them. The Florida Association of Animal Welfare Organizations supports this bill and looks forward to the end of this callous practice.

    In 2019, Miami-Dade County implemented a local ban to prohibit pet leasing, and several states have passed laws in recent years to end the deceptive practice of pet leasing, including: California, Connecticut, Indiana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Washington State. A similar bill is currently being considered by lawmakers in Michigan.

  • 21 Nov 2019 10:41 AM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    The ASPCA’s Government Relations Division brought together 35 shelter leaders from the Florida Animal Control Association (FACA) and FAAWO’s bricks and mortar shelters for a day of high-level discussion on the status of animal welfare in Florida.

    Participants shared in the exchange of ideas, discussed how to strengthen collaboration between FAAWO and FACA, and helped frame the future of animal welfare in the sunshine state. 

    The event was sponsored by the ASPCA and hosted by FAAWO.

    Kate MacFall, HSUS, State Director, Jen Hobgood, ASPCA, Senior Director, State Legislation, Southeast Region, and Diana Ferguson,  Esq., Rutledge Ecenia, FACA Lobbyist, presented on 2020 FL State Legislation.  Florida Representative Sam H. Killebrew, District 41, an advocate for animal welfare legislation, attended to learn about the animal welfare challenges in the sunshine state.

    Shannon Poindexter, ASPCA Legal Advocacy Counsel, presented on Effective Policy Approaches to Animal Cruelty and Neglect

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