At an April 21 press conference announcing a consistent reporting system that tracks shelter animals countywide are, from left, Sarah Brown, executive director of the Humane Society of Pinellas; Martha Boden, CEO for SPCA Tampa Bay; and Maureen “Moe” Freaney, director of Pinellas County Animal Services.
LARGO - Pinellas County Animal Services, SPCA Tampa Bay, Humane Society of Pinellas and Pet Pal Animal Shelter presented the first community update during a press conference April 21 at Pinellas County Animal Services in Largo.
The update is the result of a collaborative data initiative that started 18 months ago,
The report highlighted trends that have emerged in participating shelters throughout the county such as an overall reduction in owner surrender of pets as well as a decrease in the number of stray animal admissions.
“As we continue to look at ways to improve animal welfare, it is important to let data drive our strategies,” said Maureen “Moe” Freaney, director of Pinellas County Animal Services. “Every dog and cat in Pinellas County should be thrilled with the current animal agency collaboration. We can get more done for more animals and the people who love them if we work together. Of course, the most important partner will always be the community. The best shelter is a caring community.”
The data is being compiled using the same reporting matrix, so information from several shelters is comparative. Combined reporting reveals patterns in homeless animal numbers and more accurately reflects animal welfare conditions throughout the county.
In the past, separate collection systems used by the different shelters made a comprehensive study across the county inaccurate.
“These reports allow the partners to look for trends of pet homelessness in Pinellas County and give direction as agencies create programs to address pet overpopulation, humane care education and animal cruelty intervention, “ said Sara Brown, executive director of Humane Society of Pinellas. “Data collection and analysis within animal shelters are critical to developing effective programs that reduce the number of dogs and cats euthanized each year.”
“Documented patterns in animal welfare allow us to expand our focus beyond the typical cycle of admission and adoption to more lasting solutions like spaying and neutering,” said Martha Boden, SPCA Tampa Bay CEO. “When we understand that animal intake is decreasing throughout our county, we can zero in on areas where animal intake is still high, especially for puppies and kittens. Those areas may need more accessible spay-neuter services along with education as to why pet health can benefit from the surgery.”
The 2012 and 2013 data reported April 21 is the first community update provided by the Pinellas Pet Partners. The group’s intention is to provide annual updates to the community to share findings that are data driven along with new initiatives to decrease Pinellas County pet overpopulation. The data reports are available on the respective agencies’ websites.
While the mission of all four Pinellas agencies is to shelter and care for the county’s unwanted animal population, there are some differences in service capability.
Pinellas County Animal Services is a countywide facility that accepts all dogs and cats, shelters them and seeks to provide good homes to all adoptable shelter animals. In addition to the operation of a very busy adoption center, it provides services to protect public health, safety and welfare.
It is firmly committed to public education that promotes responsible pet ownership. Animal Services runs spay and neuter programs, provides rabies control and vaccination of dogs and cats.
As the administrator of county pet licenses and a tracking system, the county helps to reunite pets and owners by providing a free microchip upon reclaim. It also provides code enforcement and assistance to citizens with animal-related issues. It encourages responsible pet ownership and provides many opportunities for the community to adopt, donate and volunteer. For more information, visit www.pinellascounty.org/animalservices.
SPCA Tampa Bay accepts all pets surrendered by their owners and sick or injured stray animals. Owners are required to make an appointment but no fee is charged for admission, though donations are strongly encouraged.
The organization’s mission is to improve the community by promoting humane care, preventing animal cruelty and reducing pet overpopulation. Community services include animal cruelty investigation, lost/found pet assistance, animal admission and ambulance transport for sick/injured strays.
Located on 10 acres in Largo, SPCA programs include pet adoption, free pet behavior help, Sniff University training for dogs and cats, children’s summer camps and more. Founded in 1940, SPCA Tampa Bay is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. More than 8,500 animals are admitted each year.
The Humane Society of Pinellas Inc. is Pinellas County’s largest no-kill animal shelter, rescuing more than 3,000 animals each year. Located in Clearwater, HSP is a 501(c)3 organization that has been caring for homeless pets in the community for 65 years.
HSP is committed to helping keep pets and people together through a variety of programs including an affordable wellness and spay/neuter clinic, a mobile spay/neuter clinic targeting at-risk zip codes and a Pet Food Pantry, including a mobile food pantry, delivering food to needy seniors and disabled individuals.
When pet surrender is the only option, HSP’s No Time Limit policy offers the opportunity for every adoptable pet to have its own second chance success story. One hundred percent of contributions are retained by the organization.
Pet Pal Animal Shelter, formerly known as Pet Pal Rescue, built a low cost spay/neuter clinic and, in 2009 expanded its services and changed the clinic’s name to Pet Pal Veterinary Clinic. The clinic offers affordable rates.
Under the direction of Executive Director Scott Daly, Pet Pal has stayed true to its mission and the number of animals that it saves increases each year. The shelter continues in its quest to educate the public about the importance of spaying and neutering their pets and to promote responsible pet ownership.