Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

SPCA Tampa Bay plans to do more to combat pet homelessness

LARGO — Tens of thousands of animals become lost or homeless every year in Pinellas County, and in many cases there is no happy ending.

SPCA Tampa Bay wants to change that.

The agency announced a comprehensive plan Friday aimed at keeping pets with their families and returning lost ones to their homes.

"There's got to be a better way than we do it now," said Martha Boden, the agency's chief executive officer.

The plan has four main components:

• Opening a general practice veterinary clinic by year's end with payment plans and subsidized options so people won't have to give up pets because they can't afford health care. Also included: a high volume spay-neuter clinic that would be open to all regardless of ability to pay. The goal, Boden said, would be to perform at least 30 surgeries each day. The clinic would help reduce the animal population and reduce shelter stays because animals won't have to wait for surgery.

• Changing the system by which people give up their animals. Currently, pet owners who give up their animals just show up and drop them off. The SPCA wants those people to make appointments so a pet counselor can meet with them and find out why the owner is giving up the animal and provide advice or resources that could avoid the animal's surrender. The new system is scheduled to begin in April. The SPCA will still accept drop-offs.

• Creating a task force to study ways to more quickly and efficiently find and return lost animals to their homes.

• Holding three summits to discuss the problems faced when animals other than cats or dogs need help or homes. One summit will deal with farm animals, such as chickens, horses and pigs. A second with wildlife, such as birds. The third, with exotic species, such as snakes.

Boden said the initiatives are designed to have full collaboration from other rescue groups, such as Pinellas County Animal Services and the Pinellas Humane Society, as well as those who are interested in helping animals.

"This comprehensive, coordinated approach will improve the quality of life and outlook for all animals in the Tampa Bay community, and especially the tens of thousands of pets facing homelessness each year," Boden said.

The SPCA, Animal Services, the Humane Society and Pet Pal Animal Shelter agreed last year to trade data on the number of animals that came through their facilities.

That's the first time, Boden said, Pinellas animal activists have been able to get a handle on the scope of pet homelessness.

Roughly 27,360 animals passed through those four agencies in the 2012 calendar year — about 80 animals a day, she said.

The announcement comes weeks after the SPCA's resources were strained by two separate incidents.

In one case, the SPCA and Animal Services took possession of chickens, ducks, pheasants and pig from a Clearwater couple who were accused of misdemeanor animal abuse charges.

Days before that the SPCA had taken in nearly 300 animals that included hedgehogs, snakes, lizards, gerbils, finches and several dozen rats from an Oldsmar couple accused of animal abuse.

Not only did the seizures strain resources, the SPCA did not have the proper facilities to house the animals.

The pig — and six other stray pigs the agency got last fall — stayed in dog runs for weeks because there was no place for them, Boden said.

The SPCA is not alone. None of the animal rescue agencies in the county have the complete facilities to house and care for some of the animals that get into the system.

The long-term goal is to have a more cohesive system to make sure all animals can get care.

Anne Lindberg can be reached at alindberg@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8450.

SPCA Tampa Bay plans to do more to combat pet homelessness 03/01/13 [Last modified: Friday, March 1, 2013 10:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Hurricane evacuations halted for lack of ambulances at VA's Young center

    Veterans

    As many as 30 patients who should have been evacuated from the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center were left behind during Hurricane Irma because the hospital and the county couldn't agree on where they should go.

    Lorraine Johnson-Mitchell, back home in St. Petersburg on Monday, said she watched in disbelief as hospital staff seemed to scramble without a plan to evacuate patients like her from the VA medical center in St. Petersburg before Hurricane Irma. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  2. South Florida poaches debris pickup trucks once slotted for Tampa, officials say

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — A week into the job of picking up an estimated 300,000 cubic yards of Hurricane Irma debris from its streets, Tampa City Hall is finding to its dismay that the challenge is more competitive than expected.

    A city of Tampa truck loaded with debris from Hurricane Irma pulls into a temporary storage yard on N Rome Avenue Friday morning. There, workers from Tetra Tech, the city's debris monitoring contractor, photograph and check the load from an elevated platform to create a record that the city can use later to seek reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
  3. Wisniewska: I protected our students and USFSP campus

    Columns

    Throughout my tenure in academia, my focus has always been on putting students first.

    The USF St. Petersburg Campus, Thursday, June 19, 2014.
  4. Bucs defensive end Chris Baker (90) is seen during training camp last month at One Buc Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Bucs' defensive attributes in opener included flexibility

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It's a blink-and-you-miss-it nuance, but in Sunday's opener against Chicago, on their very first defensive snap, the Bucs lined up in a 3-4 defense.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter shakes hands with cornerback Brent Grimes (24) before an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times