News and information from FAAWO members

  • 23 Aug 2019 11:31 AM | Nash McCutchen (Administrator)

    The FAAWO Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Joan Carlson-Radabaugh has accepted its offer to become the organization’s first administrative director.

    “We are so pleased Joan is willing to share her vast experience and wisdom in this essential role on our leadership team,” said FAAWO Board President Martha Boden. “Joan has earned the respect of her peers throughout the country. She stood out among all the candidates as the ideal professional to help the Board define and expand FAAWO’s future.” 

    For more than three decades, Joan has effectively promoted innovative animal welfare by raising community awareness and standards for animals, and collaborating with governmental agencies, non-profit community agencies, donors, and grass roots advocates. Her dedication to the welfare of companion animals and wildlife in her leadership of two animal shelters in Florida and three shelter capital campaigns, multiple animal investigation and legislative appointments, and facilitation of Hurricane Katrina disaster relief efforts. 

    In this role for FAAWO, Joan will oversee member and sponsor cultivation, guide the work of the Board and its committees, and establish the foundation essential to growing FAAWO’s ability to support collaborative animal welfare throughout Florida. She started in the role August 19th. Watch for more information from Joan as she introduces herself to FAAWO members and shares her plans for the months ahead.  

    If you would like to contact Joan please email her at

  • 19 Jul 2019 12:49 PM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    To help Polk County Animal Control increase their live release rate, and build bridges within our community, SPCA Florida decided to organize a Mega Adopt-a-Thon.  Our goals were to save more lives, and develop a positive relationship with our local veterinarians, Humane Society and Animal Control.

    The biggest challenge was how to spay and neuter 300 dogs and cats to take to the event. 

    Seventeen local veterinary clinics each agreed to spay or neuter 10 kittens.  Many kept the kittens, brought them to the event, and represented their clinic.  Others simply sterilized the kittens and gave them back.  All were surprised by the young age of the kittens (8 weeks, 2 lbs.) and a few clinics requested only male kittens or backed out due to the young age. (Note: We discovered that all seventeen clinics spayed and neutered pets at 5-6 months.)  SPCA Florida also had one of our veterinarians work at Polk County Animal Control to help with spay and neuters and they graciously paid her as a relief vet.

    A sponsor stepped in to cover our reduced adoption fees of $20 for puppies, dogs, kittens and cats.   The event was promoted throughout the community using everything from posters to social media and other advertisement.

    The day of the event arrived and over 1,000 people lined up to adopt!  294 animals found new loving homes in less than eight hours! It was a great event that SPCA Florida and Polk County hope to turn it into an annual event!

    The Mega Adopt-a-Thon was a new event for SPCA Florida and Polk County and the organizers would like to thank Best Friends Animal Society and Denise Deisler, ED at Jacksonville Humane Society for their great tips!  The end results show that with some organization and creativity, Mega Adoptions work!

  • 18 Jul 2019 10:18 AM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    SPCA Tampa Bay is excited to announce the opening of its Animal Resource Center (ARC) in Palm Harbor. The ARC will offer another location to provide supportive animal welfare services, including animal intake, to our neighbors in North Pinellas. The ARC will also house an animal food bank and host community events.

    The ARC Grand Opening Week kicked off with a ribbon-cutting on Friday, July 12th and will host events through Thursday, July 16th. Activities include tours of the facility, animal behavior and veterinary Q&A sessions, and chance drawings for fun prizes. The ARC is located at 34088 US Hwy 19 N in Palm Harbor.

  • 16 Jul 2019 9:40 AM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    Peggy Adams Animal Rescue is pleased to announce that following a thorough evaluation by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), it has achieved the highest level of veterinary excellence.  Peggy Adams earned the AAHA accreditation after a rigorous review of the non-profit animal hospital’s practice protocols, medical equipment, facility and client services. 

    Unlike human hospitals, not all animal hospitals are required to be accredited.  Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League is the first animal shelter in South Florida, just the second in the entire state of Florida and one of only twenty-five shelters across the United States to be AAHA accredited

    For more information on this major achievement please click on this link:

  • 20 Jun 2019 9:36 AM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    Training opportunities for shelters seeking to move towards No-Kill status are being offered by Jacksonville Humane Society (JHS). Training is free and funds may be available to assist with travel costs. Trainings takes place at  JHS or can be scheduled onsite for requesting agencies as available. There are no specific dates set, trainings will be scheduled upon request.

    To schedule your training, contact Denise Deisler, CEO Jacksonville Humane Society at 904.493.4613 or


    Topics- Managing Animals In

    Community Cats
    Explore the options of “Trap Neuter Return” and “Return to Field”. Learn how and why these humane solutions can create live outcomes for cats in your community.

    Spay and Neuter
    Find new ways to increase the rate of altered pets in your community by providing accessible options and using a targeted approach. 

    Managed Admissions
    Discover new methods to lower your intake of animals, improve staff moral and serve your community with a managed admission process.

    Pet Retention
    Learn how to keep pets healthy and in their homes with a pet retention program, by examining alternatives to surrender in the field and at the shelter to achieve your no kill goal.

    Understand the different options for transfers via a public-private relationship, working with rescues and sending animals out of state.

    Topics- Managing Animals Out*

    Open Adoptions
    Explore the many facets of an open adoption program and learn how removing barriers and embracing the community will increase your adoptions and save lives. Learn how to make changes to your existing program, train staff, offer more to the public and find homes for harder-to-place animals.

    Understand the necessary elements for a successful adoption event at your shelter or at an off-site location. Learn the ins and outs of everything from one-day events to mega adoption events.

    Take your messaging to the next level by setting strategic goals to use transparency and data to engage the public with creative content. Learn how each social media channel can increase your lifesaving and why having a digital strategy is necessary for all shelters.

    Behavior and Enrichments
    Discover new ways to provide in-and-out of kennel enrichment for dogs and cats in your shelter that are cost effective and life changing. Evaluate your current behavior protocols and learn new methods for lifesaving.

    Learn the many ways that increasing opportunities for volunteers can benefit your organization and help you achieve the no kill goal. Discover new ways to recruit qualified individuals, work with groups, and increase your volunteer retention rate.

    Explore how changes to your foster program can increase live outcomes for the most at-risk animals in your shelter. Learn new ways to recruit, train, support and retain foster parents, particularly when approaching kitten season.

    *Managing Animals Out lessons also include a self-assessment to help participants evaluate their programs and help shape their shadowing experience at JHS.

    All lessons include discussion on how to create buy-in with your stakeholders, staff, volunteers, and community by using an easy-to-follow method of rhetorical devices.

    All lessons include a list of online resources for each topic, comprised of academic studies, how-to guides, blogs and additional reading from the leading organizations in animal welfare.



    Model Ordinances
    Get the proper guidance to working with local government to establish ordinances that will increase live outcomes in your community.

    Board vs. Staff
    Learn the different roles that a board and staff should play within your organization, from building your board to writing bylaws and setting financial policies

    Discover the best use of resources for your department and staffing to aid your no kill mission.

    Learn ways to increase monetary donations, in-kind gifts, grants and bequests with your new no kill goal in mind.

    Community Engagement
    Uncover new ways to celebrate your community’s unique traits with creative messaging and calls to action.

    Partnerships and Collaborations
    Evaluate your capacity to save more lives with increased partnerships and collaborations.

    Preparing for Disasters
    Learn the do’s and don’ts of hurricane response, and understand how JHS’ procedure can make you a lifesaver before, during and after storms.

    Best Practices and Standards
    Update your protocols and procedures with guidance from JHS on animal welfare’s best practices in behavior, cleaning, medical and more.

  • 13 Jun 2019 2:01 PM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    Humane Society Naples is excited to announce the launch of their new field trip program, Rescue Recess! Rescue Recess pairs visitors with adoptable dogs for an unforgettable day outside of the shelter. These outings will help the dogs manage kennel stress, burn off energy and get more exposure in the community.

    Thanks to Maddie's Fund, HSN is able to provide visitors with a backpack full of essential field trip items including an adopt me vest, leash collar, first aid kit, bottled water, list of suggested local places to visit and other supplies. Rescue Recess requires minimal training for participants that will be offered by HSN's Animal Care Team. The goal is to encourage members of the public, who normally wouldn’t have time to volunteer, to engage with the no-kill shelter and advocate for the animals up for adoption.

    For more information on Rescue Recess, email Anne Butler at   

  • 13 Jun 2019 1:11 PM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    Calling all animal advocates!  Please join us at a grassroots meeting occurring around the state about puppy mills, what’s being done on the legislative front and find out how you can help!

    There will be several speakers on puppy mills, preemption, local ordinances and an overall legislative update. Please join us to learn more about the important role Florida plays in our campaign to fight the cruelty of puppy mills.

    Speakers will be Kate MacFall & Jenna Jenson from the Humane Society of the United States and Mindi Callison from Bailing Out Benji.

    Panhandle/North Florida

    • When:  Tuesday, June 18, 2019  4 PM – 7 PM CDT
    • Where:  400 Paws, 1147 Creighton Road, Pensacola, Florida

    Osceola County/Central Florida

    • When:  Wednesday, June 19, 2019  4 PM – 7 PM
    • Where:  Kissimmee Civic Centre, 201 East Dakin Avenue, Kissimmee, Florida

    Manatee County/West Florida

    • When:  Thursday, June 20, 2019  4 PM – 7 PM
    • Where:  Manatee County Public Safety Center, 2101 47th Terrace East, Bradenton, Florida

  • 7 Jun 2019 10:47 AM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    On May 1, 2019, Humane Society of Tampa Bay (HSTB) supporters, board members, advisory council members, staff, volunteers and furry friends gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking for the DeBartolo Family Animal Shelter.

    The new multi-story facility will be built on the Society's current property, replacing the standing 50+ year-old shelter and significantly increasing the organization’s adoption capacity. Some of the new facility’s highlights include:

    • puppy and kitten nurseries for underage litters
    • an isolation area for sick animals to reduce spread of disease
    • expanded medical and surgical suites
    • climate control in all areas

    Lisa DeBartolo spoke on behalf of the DeBartolo family who donated $3,000,000 for naming rights to the multi-story building that will allow the Society to save an additional 2,000 lives a year. 

    Tampa Bay Community leaders including Mayor Jane Castor (who gave remarks), Councilman Guido Maniscalco (who gave remarks), Councilman Charlie MirandaCommissioner Ken Hagan, Commissioner Sandra Murman, and Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister also attended to lend their support for the construction project.

    Sherry Silk, HSTB CEO is urging citizens to support their "community shelter" by helping raise the additional $985,000 needed to open the doors once construction is complete in mid to late 2020. 

    "While we celebrate the growth of our vibrant community we cannot ignore its voiceless citizens whose needs have kept pace with expansion," said Silk. "As a community, it is our job to Shelter Them. They won’t survive without us."

    "Although construction is already under way, there are still many naming opportunities for people who want to leave a legacy for animals," said Ornella Varchi, HSTB Chief Development Officer. "We even have ways for children to be involved through purchased tiles that they will decorate at a family painting party at the shelter. The tiles will be hung in the Humane Education Center allowing young people to have a role in this important community project."

    To find out more about naming opportunities, tiles or other ways to donate to the DeBartolo Family Animal Shelter, visit


  • 25 Apr 2019 4:17 PM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    Photo courtesy of @jsokk9unit

    When Jacksonville Sheriff’s K9 Officer "Fang", a three year old German Shepherd was shot and killed in Sept 2018 in the line of duty, his death would become the genesis of legislation to protect search & rescue, police and fire dogs as well as horses used in public safety functions.  According to Jacksonville's Chief Mat Nemeth more than 100 police K-9s were killed across the country last year,.  "That means it's upwards of 100 police officers that could have and may have been killed were it not for that police K-9.  It's a critical partnership."  said Nemeth.

    Republican Senator Aaron Bean and Republican Representative Josie Tomkow sponsored the bills that will stiffen penalties for anyone convicted of intentionally causing great harm or death to a dog or horse working in public safety.  

    FL laws have protected police dogs since 2000, but now the protection will be changed from a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison to a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.  

    The bill passed unanimously in both the House and Senate and is on its way to be signed by Governor Rick DeSantis.  The bill will take effect October 1, 2019.   Please thank your legislators for voting to protect the voiceless members of our law enforcement agencies.  For these four legged officers are often credited with saving the lives of our two legged law enforcement officers. 

  • 25 Apr 2019 1:44 PM | FAAWO (Administrator)

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