News and information from FAAWO members

  • 24 Apr 2019 9:28 AM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    Are you ready to elevate your shelter to the next level of lifesaving but are not sure where to begin or how to come up with the funds? THEN WE HAVE GOOD NEWS! Thanks to a generous grant from Maddie’s Fund, the Million Cat Challenge team and the Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida have teamed up to offer shelters a full, on-site assessment (a $30,000 value) completely FREE OF CHARGE.

    The assessment team will provide expertise and make recommendations in the following areas:

    • Animal Sheltering Best Practices
    • Community Cat Population Management
    • Public Policy and Enforcement
    • Fiscal Responsibility and Budgeting
    • Management of Human Resources
    • Sustainable Community Resolutions
    • Targeted Spay/Neuter Programs
    • Canine Programs . . . and so much more!

    Learn more and sign up today

    While pro-bono spaces for full consultations are limited and based on greatest need, we won’t leave anyone out. Applicants not selected for full on-site consultations will receive a private targeted consultation via web conference.  The Million Cat Challenge is a partnership of Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida, the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program, and Maddie’s Fund.

  • 24 Apr 2019 9:09 AM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    FAAWO encourages all of our member organizations to participate in this nationwide effort designed to gather data to help all of us do our best to provide humane care for the communities and animals we serve. DEADLINE: 4/30/19


  • 24 Apr 2019 8:44 AM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    From left: Dianne Suave, county commissioner Mary Lou Berger and Rich Anderson at a Countdown 2 Zero event. Photo courtesy of Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League

    FAAWO Partner Shelter, Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League was recently featured in HSUS's Animal Sheltering magazine for their EXPO presentation with the municipal shelter in Palm Beach County.

    Can't we all just get along?

    WHEN DIANNE SUAVE, director of Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control, and Rich Anderson, executive director of Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League inPalm Beach County, Florida, presented together at Animal Care Expo 2017, some attendees were skeptical.

    The two leaders—one of an open-admission municipal shelter serving 2,383 square miles and 39 municipalities, and one of a large private shelter serving the same area—shared their presentation like talk show hosts, bantering and teasing one another—almost as if they were (gasp) friends ...


  • 24 Apr 2019 8:39 AM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    PALM CITY, Fla. — It started in 2009 with a simple goal to save as many lives as possible. Strategic planning and partnerships added progressive programs and services, a new clinic and isolation ward, and a continued commitment to sound fiscal management. This simple goal became more than a goal. It changed the culture of the organization and the future for the animals at the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast (HSTC).

    The HSTC is now the only open access, no-kill animal welfare organization operating in Martin County. With 3,000 animals being rehomed annually through aggressive adoption programs and other services, the HSTC has joined leading shelters around the state and country as a model organization for lifesaving culture change in its community.

    “We maintained our commitment to never turn away any Martin County animal for any reason while reaching a live release rate of 90 percent for the animals in our care,” said HSTC President and CEO Frank Valente. “This is considered the benchmark goal for a no-kill community. We have sustained this level of care for more than a year and we are thrilled to celebrate this milestone and our commitment to ensuring that Martin County become a no-kill county.”

    The next phase of the HSTC’s commitment to saving lives will include two major initiatives.  The adoption campus in Palm City will be growing with the addition of the Mildred and Frank Savastano Dog Play Areas, The Jane and Shirley Wurz Obedience Training Center, and the renovation of the dog, cat and small animal adoption center.

    At the same time, the HSTC will expand some of the most progressive programs in the area, including the TNVR Community Cat and Return to Field program, Intake Prevention and Pet Retention Outreach and its discount spay-neuter vaccinate programs with its partnering animal rescue groups.

    The HSTC will continue to collaborate with the Best Friends Network and the Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University Of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. These relationships have been a cornerstone of the culture change over many years.

    “Best Friends made the bold pledge to reach no-kill in this country by 2025 and is committed to saving the lives of homeless pets through collaboration,” said Emily Park, Southeast Regional Specialist for Best Friends Animal Society. “The Humane Society of the Treasure Coast is a shining example of true partnership due to their willingness to try new things, strong partnerships, and exemplary leadership. We look forward to seeing the HSTC continue to impact their community while also inspiring and helping those around them save even more lives.”

    “We would like to thank all of our community partners, including the Martin County commissioners and administration, Martin County Animal Services, the Martin County sheriff, our community nonprofit partners and the more than 40 animal rescue groups we work with to save lives,” said Valente. “Most importantly, our dedicated and compassionate staff, volunteers, supporters and donors and our board of directors have worked tirelessly to achieve this goal. The animals were the inspiration but the commitment from the HSTC community was the key to this lifesaving success story.”

    The Humane Society of the Treasure Coast (HSTC) is a no-kill animal welfare organization located at 4100 SW Leighton Farm Ave. in Palm City, FL. Since 1955, it has been the leading advocate for animal protection and well-being in the Martin County area. A 501(c) 3 private, nonprofit organization, the HSTC is independent and locally operated and relies on donations to support its programs and services. Follow the HSTC on Facebook at and Twitter at

    For more information, visit or call (772) 223-8822.

  • 22 Apr 2019 12:48 PM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    The first FAAWO Education Seminar of 2019, MONEY, MONEY, MONEY: Major Gift Development for Any Size Organization took place on April 4 at FAAWO Member SPCA Florida-Lakeland’s shelter in Lakeland. Over 30 people from 17 FAAWO member organizations attended to learn more about how to maximize their fundraising efforts

    Presentations from Rand E. Chase, CFRE, VP & Executive Counsel, Pursuant Ketchum and Ornella Varchi, MBA, Chief Development Officer, Humane Society of Tampa Bay were well received by the attendees.

    Special thanks to FAAWO partner shelter, SPCA Florida, for hosting the event.


  • 13 Mar 2019 1:29 PM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    Animal Welfare

    HB 379 by Representative Killebrew and SB 774 by Senator Gruters do the following:

    • Clarify that veterinarians may report animal cruelty without facing disciplinary action under their practice act;
    • Clarify that judges may issue protective orders in domestic violence cases;
    • Clarify that all animals being imported into the state must have a health certificate;
    • Prohibit pet leasing; and
    • Require shelter euthanasia technicians to receive 4 hour of continuing education every 2 years to maintain certification.

    Pet Leasing

    Besides HB 379/SB 774, pet leasing prohibitions can also be found in SB 316 by Senator Taddeo and SB 1236 by Senator Farmer.  (this is in the A’s bill package above)


    HB 3 by Representative M. Grant and  SB 1748 Senator Perry does the following:

    • Prohibits local governments from adopting new business regulations.
    • Requires local governments to readopt existing business regulations every two years after meeting a series of requirements, including a fiscal analysis and a supermajority vote to approve.
    • Preempts local regulations of professions and occupations.

    This bill would remove pet retail sales ban ordinances that are currently in place and prevent the adoption of future ordinances. (ordinances that meet certain criteria would have to be reevaluated/ adopted every 2 years) To date 65 Florida municipalities have said ‘No’ to puppy mills by adopting an ordinance prohibiting pet retail sales and this bill would take that authority away from local governments. 

    Cross Reporting Child and Animal Abuse

    SB 1214 by Senator Book

    • Requires child welfare investigators with reasonable cause to suspect abuse, abandonment or neglect of an animal to report to the local animal control authorities within 24 hours;
    • Requires the report of animal abuse to contain specified elements;
    • Requires DCF to include certain training on identifying cruelty to animals and the link between human and animal abuse in the agency’s investigator training program;
    • Provides 2nd degree misdemeanor penalties for a person who is required to report known or suspected abuse of animal and who knowingly or willingly fails to report suspected animal abuse;
    • Requires basic training for animal control officers on detecting child abuse, neglect, and abandonment;
    • Several FL counties are already doing this.  This bill expressly points out the LINK between violence to animals and violence to people. This was attempted over a decade ago and is back for consideration.
    Several FL counties are already doing this.  This bill expressly points out the LINK between violence to animals and violence to people. This was attempted over a decade ago and is back for consideration.

    Law Enforcement Dogs

    HB 67 by Representative Byrd and SB 96 by Senator Bean increase the penalty for offenses committed against police, fire, and search and rescue canines.  Police horses were added. The group Canines United of Jacksonville spearheaded this bill.

     HB 841 by Rep. Hogan Johnson and SB 976 by Senator Powell create the Care for Retired Law Enforcement Dogs program within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.  Provides funding for continued veterinary care for retired K9 officers/ law enforcement dogs. Solid bill that has been introduced, but not passed, for many years.


    Shark Fins and Ray Parts - HB 99 by Representative Jacobs and SB 352 by Senator Gruters prohibit the sale of shark fins and ray parts. The purpose of the bill is to stop the flow of fins coming to FL’s points of entry and avoid supporting the global trade of fins. No shark fin sales =  no purpose for finning.  

     Shark finning is already banned in Florida, but as other states ban the sale of shark fins, more fins are being imported into Florida.

    Emotional Support Animals

    HB 721 by Representative Killebrew and SB 1128 by Senator Diaz authorize housing accommodations to request written documentation verifying an individual's disability or disability-related need for an emotional support animal under certain circumstances and specify that an individual is liable for certain damage done by emotional support animal.  The bills also prohibit falsification of written documentation or other misrepresentation and provide penalties.

    Commercial Dog Breeders

    HB 1409 Representative Avila provides minimum requirements for commercial dog breeders in FL. It requires minimum standards like adequate veterinary care, solid flooring in dog kennels, number of litters permitted per year and per lifetime of female dogs. It also specifies staffing requirements, shelter, feeding frequency, recordkeeping, lighting, indoor enclosure dimensions, retirement and more.

    CAPA: Companion Animal Public-Private Partnership Act

    SB 1202 by Senator Rader and HB 1095 prohibit animal shelters from euthanizing animals under certain conditions and requires animal shelters to release animals to rescue organizations under certain conditions.

    This legislation would have significant unintended consequences and is contrary to sheltering best practices.

    This bill gets introduced every year and never gets traction, but we always keep an eye on it.  Unlikely it will get much support again this year.

    Veterinary Medicine

    HB 835 by DiCeglie and SB 666 by Senator Hooper define and redefine terms related to the practice of veterinary medicine.

  • 13 Mar 2019 12:58 PM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    This year, pull from Polk!

    Polk County, one of our largest counties in Florida, has the highest euthanasia rate in the state.

    In a massive effort to change the odds for homeless animals, SPCA Florida, a 501(c)3 rescue and adoption center located in Lakeland, Florida has committed to generating a minimum 16% increase in animals saved this year.

    To accomplish that goal, we need to pull an additional 4,000 animals from Polk County Animal Control (PCAC).

    Four initiatives are in place.

    • Save the kittens (most at risk)
      • Transporting 400 to the northern states 
      • Working with local veterinary clinics to help s/n
      • Redirecting kittens up to 12 weeks from PCAC to SPCA Florida
    • Save the Bully breeds (at risk for euthanasia)
      • Volunteer committee formed to transport bully’s (includes Rottweilers, Chows, Dobermans) to approved shelters where the stigma of the bully breeds is less.
      • First bully breed dog moved to Ontario, Canada has been adopted
    • Save the heartworm positive dogs (at risk for euthanasia)
      • Doubled budget to pull/treat 288  heartworm positive dogs
    • Mega Adopt-a-Thon to find homes for 500 animals at reduced rates

    The fifth initiative is YOU. We are asking all Florida nonprofit rescue organizations to Pull From Polk this year.  Instead of pulling from other states, please consider Polk County Animal Control or SPCA Florida. We will deliver!

    There has never been a better time to help the animals in our state.  Please consider us for your small and large dog, cat and kitten needs. Thank you for your lifesaving support. 

    Call Randa Richter at 863.577.4608 or email


  • 13 Mar 2019 11:04 AM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    Humane Society Naples Executive Director Sarah Baeckler Davis announced a $400,000 gift from Jennifer Conery to purchase, outfit and staff Collier County’s first mobile veterinary clinic. HSN plans to launch the clinic in 2019 with the goal of providing 10,000 surgeries, vaccinations and wellness appointments annually in low-income areas of the county.

    Baeckler Davis said the new mobile clinic will allow HSN to work with community partners to help reduce feral cat populations by hosting trap-neuter-release events. In conjunction with the launch of the mobile clinic, HSN will begin providing low-cost or free preventative care services in some areas of the county.

    “The best way to make sure an animal doesn’t need our shelter services is to keep her in a loving home,” Baeckler Davis said. “By providing preventative medicines and vaccines along with spay-neuter services, we can help keep animals healthy which will keep them at home with their families.”

    Conery made the donation in memory of her beloved boxer, Paige, who was her constant companion for 13 years. She said she hopes her donation will provide the care needed to keep animals in their homes. Once it is completed, the clinic will allow for a dramatic increase in the number of animals HSN can treat each year to reach areas that don’t always have access to high-quality, affordable veterinary care.

    “It’s just so exciting that they Humane Society is going to have this mobile clinic now,” Conery said.

    Humane Society Naples was founded in 1960 to address a growing homeless animal population in Collier County. Its mission remains to shelter animals in times of need, to locate life-long homes and to promote responsible pet ownership through education, legislation and sterilization.

    The organization has found homes for more than 100,000 animals. Each year the organization serves thousands of displaced dogs, cats and small mammals, by providing shelter and working with partner organizations to provide a strong safety net for Collier County’s animal community. Additionally, it serves thousands of client animals through the Humane Society Naples Veterinary Clinic.

    For more information visit

  • 1 Mar 2019 3:44 PM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    SPCA Tampa Bay is the only non-profit, animal welfare agency that runs an open-admission animal shelter, pet training facility and public veterinary center in Pinellas County. Our shelter in Largo cares for more than 8,000 animals annually that have been surrendered by their owners, along with injured wildlife.

    SPCA Tampa Bay has cared for Pinellas County’s homeless pets for more than 75 years. It was founded in St. Petersburg in 1940, and it moved to its 10-acre campus in Largo in 1962. SPCA Tampa Bay returned to St. Petersburg when it opened a second location – the SPCA Tampa Bay Veterinary Center – in 2016. It further expanded its programmatic reach in 2017 with the addition of New Dawn Animal Behavior Center at a third location in Clearwater.

    SPCA Tampa Bay's CEO, Martha Boden, currently serves as President on FAAWO's Board of Directors.

  • 1 Mar 2019 3:24 PM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    How to Help Your Pet Get The Most Sleep

    Everyone needs sleep -- even pets. You might think your pet's sleep needs are similar to yours (as they may do most of their sleeping when you do), but the fact is animals have unique sleep needs and sometimes need help getting all of the rest they need.

    The good news is animals are often flexible sleepers. They can adjust their schedule to sleep when you're resting, out of the house, or otherwise not likely to engage with them. But even flexible sleepers can struggle to sleep well sometimes, and you can offer help as a pet parent.

    How Much Sleep Pets Need

    While most adult humans need somewhere in the neighborhood of eight hours of sleep each night, you can count on pets such as cats and dogs needing at least 12 hours of sleep. But it doesn't necessarily all happen at night.

    Dogs often have a sleep schedule similar to human toddlers. They need about 12 to 14 hours of sleep each 24 hour period. However, puppies or elderly dogs, extremely active dogs or large breeds may need more than that. They may consolidate most of their sleep at night during your rest period, then make up the rest of their sleep needs with daytime naps.

    Cats are known for their naps, and for a good reason: The average cat sleeps between 12 to 16 hours each day (more for kittens and elderly cats). And with that much sleeping, there's bound to be plenty of daytime napping. Like dogs, cats may adjust their schedule to yours. But generally, you can expect cats to be most active at dawn and dusk.

    How to Help Pets Sleep Well

    Pets may not need your help to sleep well. They may be able to rely on natural instincts and manage their own sleep needs. But if you notice your pet sleeping less than usual or acting tired while not getting the rest they need, you might need to intervene.

    • Offer a healthy diet. Sleep and overall health go hand in hand. Eating junk food or a meal that's too large before bed can make it tough for pets to get to sleep, so feed them an appropriate amount at a time that's early enough to give them a couple hours to digest before they should go to sleep for the night.
    • Make sure they're active. Wearing your pet out during the day can make for a night of more restful sleep. Offer regular physical activity, stimulation, and attention during the day.
    • Give them a healthy place to sleep. Like any member of the family, your pet needs a bed where they can rest and feel comfortable. Consider their needs and offer a bed that will help them sleep well at night.
    • Take care of their needs before you go to sleep. Pets may lie awake at night needing to go out to use the bathroom, hungry for a snack, or just wanting attention. Before you head off to bed, take some time to connect and make sure you've met their needs so they can rest without interruption.

    As flexible sleepers with natural instincts, you shouldn't be overly concerned with your pet's sleep, but too little or too much could indicate a problem that needs addressing. If you're worried about how much your pet is sleeping, talk to your vet about their sleep patterns and offer support for healthy sleep.

    Jackie Kepler is a sleep professional. She enjoys sleeping with cats, but sleeps on a king size bed because she needs her space, too.

Florida Association of Animal Welfare Organizations


Florida Association of Animal Welfare Organizations is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization

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