(Pinellas County, FL ~ April 11, 2013) — Effective April 30th people turning their pets into SPCA Tampa Bay will receive more personalized service via phone ahead of their admission appointment. The change in process is part of the Largo organization’s Community Animal Connections plan announced in early March.
“Giving up a family pet is a very difficult and emotional decision for most people,” stated Martha Boden, SPCA CEO. “Making an appointment gives people a chance to speak with us about the challenges they faced caring for their pets. In some cases we may be able to offer short-term solutions that allow the animals to stay with their owners. Anytime we can do that it’s a win-win for our community.”
Resources available to the public can include our free pet behavior helpline, food and even assistance in finding a new owner. One step that owners can take instead of admitting an animal is to play a more active role in finding their pet a new home. SPCA has expanded its website to offer an owner’s re-homing page. Owners who can care for their pets until an adopter comes forward may list their pet on the website at no cost. The adoption is handled between the two interested parties instead of SPCA staff.
Admission appointments will continue to be available six days a week. Boden estimates that on average an appointment will be scheduled every 15 minutes during normal business hours. There is no fee for surrendering a pet.
“Based on our past intake statistics, owners should have to wait no more than one week to get an appointment,” stated Boden. “Appointments will be scheduled in the order of the calls received — first come, first served. No pet will be refused an appointment for any medical or behavioral reason.”
SPCA also offers a call-back program at admission. Owners can pay a $45 non-refundable fee to learn whether or not their pet will be placed for adoption. If adoption through SPCA is not the right solution for a specific animal, the owner is given the option to take the animal back home to pursue other re-homing suggestions. Visit www.SPCATampaBay.org for more information.
SPCA Tampa Bay’s Community Animal Connections is a unified series of initiatives begun in 2013 and aimed at keeping pets with their families and getting lost pets back to their homes. 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.
There are four key components in the new strategy: opening a general practice veterinary clinic coupled with various payment options and high volume spay/neuter; changing to appointment-based admissions to counsel owners before they arrive at the Largo facility; developing a centralized system for owners seeking lost pets; and, creating better solutions for special segments of the Pinellas County animal community, wildlife, livestock and exotic species.
SPCA has been at the forefront of humane care since its beginnings in 1940. SPCA’s mission is to be the leader in animal advocacy by preventing cruelty, promoting humane care and reducing pet overpopulation. SPCA services for the community include animal cruelty investigation, lost/found pet assistance, animal admission and pet cremation assistance, pet adoption, ambulance transport for sick/injured strays and estate planning with pets in mind. Located on ten acres in Largo, FL, SPCA programs include a free pet behavior helpline service; canine training, cat and critter care workshops through its Sniff University; and, children’s summer camps and birthday parties.