(August 31, 2016) While the Tampa Bay area has made great strides in controlling dog overpopulation through aggressive spay/neuter programs, the number of unwanted cats remains a challenge in the community. In response, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay is partnering with Florida Animal Friend, Inc. to offer free sterilization of outdoor cats for the next ten months. Feral*, stray, and community cats, as well as owned cats who live outdoors, qualify for the free services which include surgery, vaccinations, pain medications, and e-collars (for post-surgical recovery).
Trap/Neuter/Vaccinate/Return (TNVR) services take place every Monday at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay and normally cost $20 per cat. The process involves humanely trapping, sterilizing, and vaccinating the cats then releasing them back into their neighborhoods where they are free to live out their lives but will no longer reproduce. Since beginning this initiative in 2008, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay has spayed/neutered and vaccinated more than 45,000 cats.
“Spaying and neutering is the only proven method for reducing populations of stray, feral, and community cats,” said HSTB CEO Sherry Silk. “Now that we can offer it to the community for free we will be able to broaden our reach to include all outdoor cats which will make a more significant impact. We are grateful to Florida Animal Friend for making this important work possible.”
Space is limited and appointments are required. Citizens should call 813.870.3304 or email email@example.com to schedule their service.
*Ear-tipping is mandatory for feral, and un-owned outdoor cats but can be waived for owned cats that live outdoors.
About Florida Animal Friend, Inc. It is the mission of FAF to help save the lives of countless unwanted cats and dogs by supporting organizations that offer free or low-cost spay and neuter services across the state of Florida. More information can be found at www.floridaanimalfriend.org
SEPTEMBER 16, 2016 Recently, our animal intake numbers were reported incorrectly by media and we would like to set the record straight. Below is a graph that shows our activity over the past few years. The graph and our 2015 Shelter Animal Count can also be found under Shelter Statistics in the footer of our homepage.
THREE YEAR TOTALS In the past 3 years (2013, 2014, 2015) HSTB has taken in 21,148 pets. Of that 21,148, 73% were from the Tampa Bay area and 3% were from other Florida shelters. The remaining 24% were from rural/at-risk facilities and/or facilities facing overcrowding due to natural disaster or large-scale cruelty case impoundments.
LOCAL INTAKE TOTALS In the past 3 years (2013, 2014, 2015) HSTB has taken in 16,187 local pets of which 52% came from owner surrenders, 22% were strays, and 26% were transferred to us from local agencies (see blue, red, and green lines on graph).
OUT-OF-STATE INTAKE TOTALS In the past 3 years (2013, 2014, 2015) HSTB has taken in only 4,961 pets from out-of-state rural/at-risk facilities and/or facilities facing overcrowding due to natural disaster or large-scale cruelty case impoundments (see yellow line on graph).
LOCAL PERCENTAGES- 2016 HSTB shared with a local reporter that from January 1, 2016 to June 30, 2016 85% of it’s animals came from local sources; not from 2013-2015 as was later reported.
RETENTION INFORMATION When an animal adopted from our shelter ends up at another facility and their microchip is traced back to us we receive a call from 24PetWatch (the microchip manufacturer). We then make arrangements with the facility to transfer our animal to our shelter. (This happens approximately 15 times a year which does not qualify as overpopulation, as was reported.)
SEPTEMBER 2, 2016
CLAIM: The Humane Society of Tampa Bay is a Rescue Group.
While the Humane Society of Tampa Bay does take animals in need of rescue- stray, abandoned, neglected, and abused pets- it is a “bricks and mortar” shelter, not a rescue group. Both shelters and rescue groups are vitally important to helping pets in need but there are differences in how they are run and what services they offer.
HOUSING Shelters are “brick and mortar” facilities that are either municipal entities, privately funded, or 501c3 organizations that rely on donations. Shelters may use a network of foster homes to care for injured, ill, or underage animals, but most of their adoptable pets are housed within the organizations structure. (The Humane Society of Tampa Bay is a 501c3 organization)
Rescue Groups are typically run from private homes, through a network of foster homes, or through renting space in boarding facilities/veterinary practices. Rescue groups are either privately funded or 501c3 organizations that relay on donations.
MANAGEMENT Because of the magnitude of work and upkeep that goes in to running a facility, Shelters have paid staff to manage daily functions and many have staff veterinarians. Shelters also rely on a corps of volunteers to assist staff in a variety of areas to keep the number of employees needed as low as possible. (Between their animal hospital and shelter, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay employs more than 100 individuals, and is blessed with approximately 300 active volunteers)
Rescue Groups rely on volunteers to carry out the functions of their organizations.
VOLUME Shelter facilities allow for the housing of hundreds of animals at one time. Shelters may care for thousands of animals in a year. (The Humane Society of Tampa Bay cares for more than 7,000 animals/year)
Rescue Groups house animals in private homes or boarding facilities and, therefore, take on a lower volume of animals than a shelter.
ANIMALS Most Shelters have the ability to house many kinds of animals. The Humane Society of Tampa Bay cares for dogs, cats, rabbits, and pocket pets (gerbils, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, ferrets, etc.)
While certainly not the case for all of them, many Rescue Groups concentrate their efforts on one specific species (dogs, cats, horses, etc) and/or breed.
SERVICES Many Shelters have the ability and resources to offer community services beyond adoptions. (The Humane Society of Tampa Bay offers humane education through community outreach events, children’s programs, and special events. The Society also offers dog obedience training, trap/neuter/vaccinate/return for feral and community cats, affordable veterinary care for owned pets, low-cost spay/neuter for owned pets, free vaccinations and microchips for pets in disadvantaged neighborhoods, free pet food assistance to struggling families and homebound citizens, and more)
While certainly not the case for all of them, many Rescue Groups concentrate their efforts on humane education, rescue, and adoption.
OVERHEAD In addition to the basics such as food, water, medicine, bedding, and toys for the animals, Shelters are responsible for the cost of owning and maintaining their facilities, utilities, advertising, staff compensation, equipment purchase and repair, etc.
Rescue Groups incur the cost of caring for and promoting their animals including but not limited to food, water, medicine/medical care, bedding, toys, boarding fees, advertising, etc.
IN CONCLUSION The above claim is false. The Humane Society of Tampa Bay is a shelter. Shelters and Rescue Groups both play an important role in the community but, because of the vast operational differences between the two entities, neither one should be expected to function like the other.
AUGUST 30, 2016
CLAIM: The Humane Society of Tampa Bay discriminates against pit bulls (American Staffordshire Terriers)
FACT: The Humane Society of Tampa Bay always has pit bulls in our adoption program which can be verified by looking at our adoptables online or by walking through our kennels at any given time.
FACT: The Humane Society of Tampa Bay is working to change the public perception of this wonderful breed through outreach and education. A few examples include: •a pro-pit bull PSA with the TB Lightning (see video below) •the presence of pit bull ambassadors at our Critter Camp, children’s birthday parties, community outreach events, and special events •promotional videos crafted to spotlight pit bulls at our events (see videos below) •feature stories about pit bulls on our blog, social media and in our quarterly newsletter that are aimed at advocacy and education
FACT: The Humane Society of Tampa Bay cannot save every pit bull in the Tampa Bay area or beyond.
FACT: The Humane Society of Tampa Bay will transfer pit bulls (as well as other breeds) to Hillsborough County Resource Pet Center when there are no large kennels available to accommodate them or when they have behavioral and/or medical issues requiring services beyond the scope of what we can offer.
FACT: Because of misconceptions propagated by the media and misguided individuals, the majority of the general public does not want to adopt adult pit bulls. Furthermore, many of those who do want them can’t have them due to housing facility bans on the breed. Until the public perception changes, we, along with all shelters and rescues, will face challenges in finding homes for every pit bull in need.
IN CONCLUSION: The above claim is false. The Humane Society of Tampa Bay adopts out and advocates for pit bulls.
AUGUST 26, 2016
A RESPONSE TO THE COMMENTS MADE BY PAM BACKER CONCERNING THE DIFFICULTY OF GENERATING A PUBLIC INTEREST IN PIT BULLS AT THE AUGUST 24, 2016 AAC MEETING
I am 100% guilty of not being clear at Wednesday night’s meeting regarding our appreciation and love for Pit Bulls at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. For that, I apologize a thousand times. Please take a moment to peek at the links I have sent along, perhaps they will do a much better job of illustrating how we feel about the beautiful and misunderstood breed.
Pam Backer Director of Shelter Operations Humane Society of Tampa Bay
AUGUST 25, 2016
CLAIM: The Humane Society of Tampa Bay sends dogs to Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center to make room for out-of-state transfers.
FACT: The Humane Society of Tampa Bay never moves dogs out of our facility to make space for incoming transfers, whether those transfers are from inside or outside the county.
FACT: The Humane Society of Tampa Bay transfers dogs and cats from Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center to our shelter every week.
FACT: The Humane Society of Tampa Bay takes small/medium breeds and puppies from Out-of-State facilities facing crisis, emergency, or over-crowding, when room allows. HSTB has limited (44) kennel/run space. However, we can house 125 small/medium dogs and puppies in our cage systems.
FACT: Our kennels/runs are normally at 100% capacity as we receive large dogs from the following local sources: owner surrender, strays and local county facilities such as Hillsborough County, Pasco County, Highlands County and Manatee County.
FACT: The Humane Society of Tampa Bay does transfer dogs to Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center when their 44 kennels are full.
FACT: Between January 1, 2016 and June 30, 2016 the Humane Society of Tampa Bay took in 1,057 stray dogs in Hillsborough County. Eighty-five of those dogs (8%) were sent to Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center because we did not have an open kennel for them. None of them were sent to make room for an incoming transfer.
IN CONCLUSION: The above claim is false. The dogs we take from out-of-state facilities do not take away kennel space from the animals on local euthanasia lists and we do not move dogs out of kennels to make room for incoming transfers.
Stay tuned for more facts about the amazing work being done at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.
UPDATE 8/18/16, 4:48pm: WE JUST RECEIVED WORD THAT THE SUSPECT HAS BEEN ARRESTED AND IS IN CUSTODY.
UPDATE 8/18/16, 7:15am: IRIS WAS JUST DROPPED OFF AT OUR SHELTER. SHE IS SAFE AND UNHARMED.
UPDATE 8/17/16, 11:12pm: REWARD RAISED TO $1,000
At 4:41pm on Wednesday, August 17, 2-month old Jack Russell Terrier mix, Iris, was stolen from our shelter. The black and white puppy was taken from her kennel and stuffed into a bag. The perpetrator, caught on camera, is a Hispanic male in his late teens to early twenties who has orange hair and dresses in women’s clothing. We are concerned about Iris’ well-being and are offering a $500 reward to anyone with information leading to her return and an arrest. Iris was born at our shelter to her mother who was surrendered to us in late stage pregnancy. She was lovingly fostered with her sibling and mother for 8 weeks before being put up for adoption If you have any information about Iris or the man who took her, please call the Tampa Police Department at 813-276-3200. Watch the video of Iris being taken below.
The Humane Society of Tampa Bay will be taking in 18 dogs from Acadiana Animal Aid shelter in Louisiana so that they can free up space to take in the strays who are currently wandering and struggling to survive in the flood waters. The transfer will be facilitated by Loving Friends Transport and will arrive at our shelter between 7am and 9am Thursday, August 18. MEDIA CONTACT: 813-785-6922 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Humane Society of Tampa Bay and the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center received the ‘Alliance for Animals’ award by Best Friends Animal Society®, the only national animal welfare organization dedicated exclusively to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters.
Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center and the Humane Society of Tampa Bay are active partners in Best Friends Animal Society’s No More Homeless Pets® Network* which offers help and support to animal rescue groups and shelters that save lives in their communities.
“Best Friends has always taken a collaborative approach in everything we’ve done,” said Holly Sizemore, Best Friends Animal Society’s director of national programs, community programs and services. “We believe that by working together — shelters, rescue groups, spay/neuter clinics and more — we can maximize our impact and end the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters for good. And in Tampa, they’re proving exactly that.
“The Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center and the Humane Society of Tampa Bay have worked together for years, but recently the two organizations have focused their efforts on saving the lives of cats.
“In 2015, Best Friends awarded the Humane Society of Tampa Bay a grant of $10,000 for a trap-neuter-return program that would specifically help the Hillsborough County shelter,” Sizemore said. “Through the program, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay was able to increase the number of spay/neuter surgeries from 4,000 a year in 2013 to more than 5,500 in 2015. That helped raise the Hillsborough shelter’s save rate for cats to an amazing 84 percent in 2015, up from 75 percent the year before.
“Because this alliance has been so successful, in 2016, Best Friends awarded the Humane Society of Tampa Bay another grant, this time for $25,000, allowing them to drastically increase the number of cats they pull from the Hillsborough County shelter,” Sizemore added.
“The combined efforts of these two organizations are crucial for helping the shelter to get to no-kill. And that’s why the Humane Society of Tampa Bay and the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center are the winners of this year’s ‘Alliance for Animals’ award,” Sizemore said.
About the Humane Society of Tampa Bay For more than 100 years, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay has been dedicated to ending animal homelessness and providing care and comfort for companion animals in need. Named a Four-Star Charity by Charity Navigator for six years running, and accredited by AAHA, the standard in veterinary excellence, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay is dedicated to the highest standards in animal sheltering and veterinary care. Our adoption programs, Animal Health Center services, community outreach efforts and volunteer opportunities are essential to the health and well being of animals across Tampa Bay. The Humane Society of Tampa Bay is leading the way because every life counts. www.humanesocietytampa.org.
About Best Friends Animal Society® Best Friends Animal Society is the only national animal welfare organization dedicated exclusively to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters. A leader in the no-kill movement, Best Friends runs the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals, adoption centers and spay and neuter facilities in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City as well as lifesaving programs in partnership with more than 1,500 rescue groups and shelters across the country. Since its founding in 1984, Best Friends has helped reduce the number of animals killed in American shelters from 17 million per year to an estimated 4 million. By continuing to build effective initiatives that reduce the number of animals entering shelters and increase the number who find homes, Best Friends and its nationwide network of members and partners are working to Save Them All®.
*About the No More Homeless Pets® Network The No More Homeless Pets® Network is a network of more than 1,500 animal welfare and sheltering organizations around the country that is committed to saving the lives of homeless pets through effective adoption and spay-neuter programs. Together, the group is working to the end the killing of healthy pets in U.S. shelters.
The Animal Health Center at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay remains the first and only non-profit animal hospital in Florida to be accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). In July 2016 AAHA accreditation staff visited our hospital for an on-site evaluation and review of our processes and procedures. We are happy to report that we passed with flying colors and our AAHA accreditation has been renewed.
The Animal Health Center provides affordable, high-quality veterinary care to the public seven days a week. Any proceeds from the Animal Health Center will benefit the mission and programs at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.
Why Accreditation Is Important For Pets
Being accredited by AAHA, you can rest assured that your pet will receive the very best in veterinary care at our facility. Here are just a few reasons why:
To receive and maintain accreditation, animal hospitals must meet approximately 900 rigorous evaluation standards every three years
AAHA standards of excellence do not vary between states or provinces (AAHA accredits hospitals in both the U.S. and Canada)
AAHA accredited animal hospitals are the elite few, with only 3,200 passing accreditation in the U.S. and Canad
AAHA accreditation is recognized as the standard of veterinary excellence