News and information from FAAWO members

  • 21 Jun 2018 3:21 PM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    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 | FAAWO (Administrator)

    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 | FAAWO (Administrator)

    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 | FAAWO (Administrator)

    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 | FAAWO (Administrator)

    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:

  • 21 Mar 2018 12:47 PM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    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 | Nash McCutchen (Administrator)

    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”  


    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. 


    Proposal 67 Fact Sheet

    CRC Website

    End Greyhound Cruelty Website

  • 20 Nov 2017 12:35 PM | Nash McCutchen (Administrator)

    From the Humane Society of Tampa Bay

    TAMPA, FLA (November 20, 2017) – Dr. Karla Bard, Director of Medical Operations at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, led a presentation of landmark research findings at the annual meeting of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP) at their special veterinary session on Saturday, October 7th in Atlanta, GA. This prestigious honor reflects the high esteem in which Dr. Bard and the Humane Society of Tampa Bay (and AAHA-accredited veterinary facility) are held and the respect gained for their unwavering commitment to relevancy and leading in the field.

    The milestone research findings alleviate concerns that a nationwide rise in high volume spay-neuter facilities has been accompanied by a lower quality of care that leads to an increase in post-surgical mortality rates. According to results from the six-year study, however, high-volume spay-neuter surgery is associated with lower mortality rates, approaching that achieved in human surgery.

    “High volume spay–neuter clinics have been established to save lives by reducing the number of animals admitted to and euthanized in animal shelters,” said Dr. Bard. “The results of our study confirm the absolute safety of these clinics and offer further evidence to support aggressive spay-neuter initiatives.”

    The study and subsequently published research was conducted in partnership with Dr. Julie K. Levy, Maddie’s® Professor of Shelter Medicine at the University of Florida Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program, and supported by a Maddie’s Fund® grant.

  • 9 Nov 2017 5:32 PM | Nash McCutchen (Administrator)

    Did you know the Florida Constitution allows the Legislature to start session early in even-numbered years?

    The 2018 Florida legislative session will start January 9 and it looks like it will be a busy session for animal welfare issues.  The Florida Association of Animal Welfare Organizations is currently reviewing several bills that have already been drafted and sponsored in the House of Representatives and the Senate and we expect more to be filed in the coming weeks.  FAAWO will keep you updated on these bills and our position on each as we get closer to the start of the session.  Meantime, below is a list of currently submitted bills and links to each.

    Companion Animal Public-Private Partnership Act: Prohibits animal shelters from euthanizing animals under certain conditions; authorizes animal shelters to assess certain fees; provides exceptions.

    HB 249 has been introduced by Rep. Barbara Watson in the House.

    HB 249

    Animal Importation: Prohibits shelters, organizations, agencies, & individuals from importing animals into this state.

    Bills have been filed in both the Senate and in the House. SB 132 was filed by Sen. Greg Steube; HB 153 by Rep. Elizabeth Porter.

    SB 132

    HB 153

    Animal Hoarding:
    Defining the term “animal hoarding”; prohibiting animal hoarding

    SB 86 has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Dorothy Hukill.

    SB 86

    Animal Cruelty: Prohibiting the malicious or capricious killing of dogs or cats; providing penalties

    SB 200 has been filed by Sen. Greg Steube.

    SB 200

  • 11 Oct 2017 1:22 PM | FAAWO (Administrator)

    Hurricane Irma demonstrated the need for Florida animal welfare organizations to work together in support of existing and newly created homeless animals.  Our collective response illustrated what happens when organizations bring together their focus and resources in addressing the needs of others.  Using our state-wide information and resource network, FAAWO and several other animal welfare organizations helped connect shelters negatively impacted by Irma with those capable of offering assistance and support. 

    FAAWO received offers of assistance from 23 organizations and individuals outside Florida (fourteen varying states as well as support from organizations located in Canada) and 24 offers of assistance from organizations located within Florida. Ready, able and willing to offering support in transporting animals, delivering supplies, and coordinating logistics, the outpouring of support was incredible. Hundreds of animals were saved from dire conditions and many found new homes through the grace and support of other welfare organizations and the communities they serve.

    One of FAAWO’s goals is to unite animal advocates throughout Florida.  Hurricane Irma highlighted ways our network works together to improve our collective response to disasters through the development of a state-wide response team.  Working collaboratively, FAAWO, FACA, state and national agencies along with other animal welfare organizations will continue to learn from Irma and prepare for future events.

Florida Association of Animal Welfare Organizations


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

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