Starting July 1, Pinellas County Animal Services is primary resource for stray animals
Pinellas County Animal Services and SPCA Tampa Bay are working together to reunite more lost pets with their owners. The two organizations are making changes to create a central housing system for stray dogs and cats in Pinellas County and standardizing information stored about lost or found pets.
Starting July 1, people who find stray dogs and cats should transport the animal to Pinellas County Animal Services at 12450 Ulmerton Road in Largo.
Previously, stray dogs or cats could be transported to a number of animal welfare agencies in Pinellas County, making it difficult for an owner to locate a lost pet. In 2013, a Return to Owner Task Force was formed to analyze the processes that address lost and stray pets.
The number of stray animals taken to the county’s four largest animal welfare agencies has decreased by 21 percent over the past four years, however, the percentage of animals returned to their owners has only increased by three percentage points during the same time frame. The Task Force recommended changing to a centralized housing system and standardizing the information stored about lost pets to be more complete and accurate.
“The Return to Owner Task Force found that the previous process for stray animals was inefficient and confusing for people who were looking for their lost pet,” said Doug Brightwell, Animal Services bureau director. “Having one place to look for a lost pet will greatly reduce the stress pet owners experience when looking for their missing pet, and we expect it to have a positive impact on the number of animals who are reunited with their owners.”
People who find a stray dog or cat and have the ability to care for it are asked to notify Animal Services so it can place the pet’s information in its system for owners who are looking for their pet. Any stray dogs or cats found after Animal Services’ operating hours can be taken to one of its emergency clinic partners, which will accept and care for the animal until Animal Services can transport the animal to its facility.
People who find injured stray pets that are not cats or dogs, such as pigs, rabbits or ferrets, and injured wildlife, such as squirrels, owls and raccoons, should continue to take the animal to SPCA Tampa Bay for care. SPCA Tampa Bay’s animal transport services for injured wildlife and pets will also continue.
As Animal Services becomes the primary point for lost pets, owners needing to surrender their pets have several options to include: SPCA Tampa Bay, The Humane Society of Pinellas and other rescue groups. Starting July 1, any pet owner in Pinellas County that needs to surrender their pet should make an appointment with SPCA Tampa Bay by calling (727) 586-3591 or The Humane Society of Pinellas by calling (727) 797-7722.
“In making changes, we wanted to support both owners who need to be reunited with their missing pet and owners who may no longer be able to care for their pet,” said Martha Boden, CEO of SPCA Tampa Bay. “These changes should have a positive impact on the animals in Pinellas County and their owners.”
Pinellas County Animal Services, SPCA Tampa Bay, The Humane Society of Pinellas and Pet Pal Animal Shelter uniformly track information about the pets and wildlife in their care and work collaboratively to identify ways to make a positive impact on Pinellas County’s lost, homeless and unwanted pets. The 2016 Pinellas County Animal Report released on June 8 showed a countywide decrease in shelter intake, a drop in shelter euthanasia and an increase in adoptions.
For more information, visit Animal Services’ website at pinellascounty.org/animalservices, SPCA Tampa Bay’s website at www.spcatampabay.org or The Humane Society of Pinellas at www.HumaneSocietyofPinellas.org
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. The organization cares for more than 12,000 animals that are admitted each year. The shelter runs spay and neuter programs, and provide rabies control and vaccination of dogs and cats. As the administrator of county pet licenses and tracking system, Animal Services helps reunite pets and owners. Animal Services provides code enforcement and assistance to residents with animal-related issues. It encourages responsible pet ownership and provides many opportunities for the community to adopt, donate and volunteer. www.pinellascounty.org/animalservices
The Humane Society of Pinellas, Inc. is Pinellas County’s largest no-kill animal shelter, rescuing approximately 3,000 animals each year. Located in Clearwater, the Humane Society of Pinellas is a 501(c)3 organization that has been caring for the community’s homeless pets for 65 years. The Humane Society of Pinellas Inc. is committed to helping keep pets and people together through a variety of programs, including: affordable wellness and spay/neuter clinic, mobile spay/neuter clinic targeting at-risk zip codes, behavioral training, humane education, and a Pet Food Pantry, including a mobile food pantry that delivers food to needy seniors and disabled individuals. When pet surrender is the only option, the No Time Limit policy offers an opportunity for every adoptable pet to have a second chance success story. One hundred percent of contributions are retained by the organization. humanesocietyofpinellas.org
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. Under the direction of executive director Scott Daly, Pet Pal has stayed true to its mission and the number of animals that are saved increases each year. The organization educates the public about the importance of spaying and neutering pets and responsible pet ownership. petpalanimalshelter.com
SPCA Tampa Bay accepts all pets surrendered by their owners and injured wildlife. The organization cares for more than 7,500 animals that are admitted each year. SPCA Tampa Bay’s mission is to “improve the community by promoting humane care, preventing animal cruelty and reducing pet overpopulation.” Community services include: animal cruelty investigation, accessible wellness care, lost/found pet assistance, animal admission and animal transport. 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 located on 10 acres in Largo with a planned full-service veterinary hospital expected to open in St. Petersburg later this year. SPCATampaBay.org.
Pinellas County Animal Services is located at 12450 Ulmerton Road in Largo. Regular hours of operation are Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., with the adoption center closing at 5:30 p.m. Saturday hours are 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and services include adoptions. Rabies vaccinations are administered on Thursdays from 1 – 4 p.m. The facility is closed on all Pinellas County government holidays.
For information on how to adopt, donate or volunteer, join Pinellas County Animal Services on Facebook. To learn more about the shelter, visit www.pinellascounty.org/animalservices or call (727) 582-2600.
The Pinellas County “Doing Things for You” app is available for residents to report issues and access useful resources. Pinellas County can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. More information is available on the county website, www.pinellascounty.org, which features LiveChat for assistance. Pinellas County complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.