ASPCA Commends Florida House for Passing the PETS Act to Expand Access to Veterinary Telemedicine

Courtesy of ASPCA, click here to read original posting. 

The PETS Act would remove unnecessary regulations blocking Florida veterinarians and pet owners from effectively using telemedicine for animals 

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Developing a Return to Owner Mindset

DPFL 2022 Impact Report

Dogs Playing for Life (DPFL) is redefining the meaning and importance of quality of life for sheltered dogs across North America. Their playgroup and training seminars, Mentorships, and Shadow Program provide shelter staff and volunteers with the knowledge and hands-on experience required to better support the behavioral wellbeing of the dogs in their care. At the Canine Center Florida, DPFL is working to provide quality of life that often results in live outcomes for at-risk sheltered dogs in need of our specialized training expertise. Finally, through their ever-expanding virtual offerings, DFPL has continued remote support to shelters across the country and anticipates that these long-distance resources will continue beyond the pandemic as a way to expand access to their programming. 

The 2022 Impact Report details DFPL's yearly efforts and includes analysis of the shelter survey responses and a discussion of this year’s developments as well as updates from the Canine Center Florida. 

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FAAWO Supports Veterinary Telemedicine

FAAWO supports legislation that would expand telehealth access to veterinary care. Whether in-office care is financially out of reach, transporting a beloved pet provides an insurmountable challenge, or there are simply no veterinarians within easy driving distance, the proposed PETS Act, Medical Treatment of Animals, HB 1117(Buchanan)/SB 1600 (Ingoglia) would increase access to veterinary care for people across the state of Florida. 

Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

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Make Sure You're Ready for Emergency

Florida SARC offers two levels of awareness trainings. Their trainings can help you be prepared in the event of a disaster. Learn more and enroll by clicking here

Legislation Introduced to Shutdown the "Puppy Mill Pipeline"

Individual municipalities within the state of Florida have taken steps to stopping the sale of puppies in the pet stores in their jurisdiction. Now a bills have been filed in both the state house and senate that would effectively end the practice statewide. The ASPCA, who is in support of the legislation, shares additional information below. 

The Battle Over Veterinary Telemedicine

Shelters are facing a crisis. Intakes are up and adoptions are down. Legislation has been filed that experts believe will help keep families together by providing a lower cost option for veterinary care for those that cannot afford traditional care. With prices for staples skyrocketing across the state, the need for this type of legislation has never been greater. Bills have been filed in both the Florida House (HB 1117/Buchanan) and Senate (SB 1600/Ingoglia). FAAWO is working alongside a broad coalition of other organizations to pass this legislation and provide a path for all animals in the state to access the veterinary care they need. 

Despite the need for veterinary telemedicine in Florida, there has also been legislation filed that, if enacted, would prevent the necessary expansion in access to care. The bill –Medical Treatment of Animals, SB 554(Gruters)/No HB– would prevent the vital helpline of remote veterinary care for the one-third of animals in Florida that do not regularly see a veterinarian.  

Bills Filed 2023: "Expand Access to Spay/Neuter Veterinary Care"

The below summary of the proposed legislation was shared by the ASPCA. 


Spay/Neuter surgeries are critical to reducing the population of homeless dogs and cats in Florida and preventing the euthanasia of adoptable pets. Unfortunately, an ongoing critical shortage of veterinarians in the workforce means that there are not enough veterinarians to meet the demand for dog and cat spay/neuter surgeries. Unplanned litters of dogs and cats put pressure on local animal shelters and government resources.

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Help Protect Your Adopters' Private Information!

From our colleagues at the Florida Animal Control Association (FACA): 

FACA is working to support HB 157 by Representative Jeff Holcomb and SB 518 by Senator Nick DiCeglie.  These bills would protect the contact information of citizens who adopt animals from city and county animal shelters.  Today, Florida law requires the release of this information to anyone who asks for it. 

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Florida Animal Friends Grant Applications Open!

The Florida Animal Friend provides grants to non-profits and municipal agencies to fund spay and neuter surgeries to combat pet overpopulation in Florida.  Funding is generated from sales of the FL Animal Friend license plate and eligible groups may receive up to $25,000!  Last year the FAF license plate ranked in the top 20 most popular plates out of 140+ license plates statewide- groups must apply for a spay/ neuter grant before the deadline at 8PM on April 1st 2023.  

Check out the FAF grant application   on the Florida Animal Friend website where you’ll find the required documents for grant applications as well as testimonials, marketing materials and much more.  Additionally see the list of recent grant recipients:  Recent grant recipients.

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We've Got Exciting News!

The Florida Association of Animal Welfare Organizations (FAAWO) is a non-profit organization of dedicated animal advocates working together to positively impact animals throughout the state of Florida.

FAAWO recognizes that every shelter and animal municipal agency, collectively referred to as “organizations”, has a responsibility to provide quality and humane care to every animal received and to be diligent in their efforts to find positive outcomes for as many animals as possible.

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3 Resources (plus one bonus) to Help You Fund Your Work

Getting to connect people to their new furry, feathered, or scaled family member, helping previously broken animals foster new confidence and a zest for life, supporting the human animal bond, these are only a few of the many reasons that we choose to work or volunteer with an animal welfare organization. Along with all of the amazing things about this choice, there are an equal number of stressors, one of which is funding. Part of running an animal welfare organization is being nimble, flexible, and innovative with the resources we have while also looking for opportunities to grow those resources. Below are 3 resources (plus one bonus) to help you locate grants to help amplify the work you’re doing to help animals in need. 

  • HumanePro 
HumanePro, an arm of the Humane Society of the United States, offers a list of major funders within the animal protection space as well as a brief description of the kinds of projects they typically fund. Whether you focus on sheltering dogs and cats or run a wildlife sanctuary, there’s likely a grant opportunity for you. 
  • ASPCAPro
When it comes to getting started researching grants, ASPCAPro’s resource is a great launching point with links to some of the biggest players in animal welfare granting who accept applications via their websites. In addition, they also offer links to other resources for continuing your search for funding opportunities.  
  • Candid
Unlike the other resources on this list, Candid is not specific to animal welfare organizations but rather provides a searchable database of funders. Though Candid is a paid subscription it can be accessed for free from a number of different community centers. You can find one close to you here
Bonus! Crowdfunding Resource: Waggle 
Waggle is a crowdfunding resource dedicated to paying veterinary bills that otherwise could seem insurmountable thus saving lives. Waggle provides a platform to raise money and helps amplify reach.

5 Resources for Veterinary Continuing Education

Providing opportunities for medical staff, whether certified or on-the-job trained, to grow their knowledge base and continue to develop in their practice is essential. For certified technicians, a certain number of RACE continuing education hours are needed every two years in order to maintain their certificate. For on-the-job trained technicians and assistants, continuing education training provides the opportunity to explore topics that they find interesting but may not run into very often. Finding these opportunities can be challenging, below are five resources to help you get started. 

  1. Fear Free Shelter Program

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Member Spotlight: SPCA Tampa Bay Raises over $150,000 on Annual Day of Giving

This past week the SPCA Tampa Bay in Largo, Florida raised over $150,000 as part of their Annual Day of Giving. Their efforts were supported by individuals and businesses across the community who believe in and have been impacted by their work. The shelter worked in partnership with several sponsors, including Bank OZK and Hill’s, who matched gifts from community members. “The campaign will help our For-All animal shelter care for nearly 7,000 animals annually,” commented Eric Keaton, Chief Marketing Officer at the SPCA Tampa Bay. 

In addition to the animals that are accepted via surrender, the shelter also provides care for injured or orphaned wildlife and operates a full-service vet clinic. Some community members that are unable to cover the veterinary care of their animal companions will also benefit from the donations from the Annual Day of Giving through the Caldwell Keeping Families Together Fund. 

As for the future, SPCA Tampa Bay will be hosting their annual Pet Walk on April 15, 2023, which for the first time will take place at two locations in Tampa Bay.

New Horizons for FAAWO Board Chair

FAAWO is happy to offer our sincere congratulations to our very own Board Chair, Heather Thomas, who recently started a new position as Vice President of Veterinary Markets with Atlanta Humane’s Remedy program in partnership with St. Francis Pet Care (SFPC). Founded in 2011, SFPC provides veterinary care to the pets of the underserved communities of Alachua County, Florida. Atlanta Humane’s Remedy program seeks to revolutionize veterinary care and increase access within the southeastern United States. Through the partnership, Heather will be helping to grow the capacity of SFPC and expand services, in a high needs area. In the last year alone, the number of pets seen by SFPC increased 260%. 

Heather joins the partnership after twelve years spent as Executive Director of the Humane Society of North Central Florida during which time she tirelessly worked on behalf of both the pets and people in the community.


Five Ways to Improve Your Conversations with Your Employees

This resource is brought to you by our Sponsor, AlphaStaff

Effective conversations go beyond knowing what to say. They also include many verbal and nonverbal factors that make a big difference in how we communicate and present our messages to minimize confusion. In the workplace, poor communication skills can lead to a bundle of crossed wires and misunderstandings that could leave employees feeling disconnected and excluded.

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Member Spotlight: Brevard Humane Society Turns 70!

Brevard Humane Society (BHS) opened their doors in 1952. This year marked 70 years of them serving their community, an accomplishment they celebrated at their recent Tuxes and Tails event. The night was filled with celebratory laughter, smiles, and pride. In 2021, BHS found loving homes for over 1200 dogs and cats that entered their care and reunited 76 lost pets with their families. In addition to their work with lost and homeless pets, BHS also operates a low-cost clinic that provides high quality spay/neuter and preventative care to pets across the community. The event was sponsored by Subaru of Melbourne, pictured above with Theresa Clifton, Executive Director of Brevard Humane Society. 

Even as the organization celebrated this huge milestone, they are struggling to make an outdated, 60 year old building meet the needs of modern animal sheltering. They have embarked on fundraising efforts to update their facilities. You can learn more about these efforts and help Brevard Humane Society in their mission to provide more comfortable housing for the animals in their care by donating here.

3 Research Studies to Inform Our Work

By understanding and applying research to our work, we have the ability to maximize the impact of the work we do. Below are three studies that were recently performed that provide valuable insight into our mission of improving the lives of animals and supporting a strong human-animal bond. 

  1. During the pandemic, first time fosters were the most likely to adopt. Researchers took data from 19 shelters across the United States and found that first time fosters without pets already at home adopted the shelter pets in their care 77% of the time. The same researchers found that the shelters that allowed adoption visits directly from foster homes, adopted out their pets in two thirds the time as shelters that did not. 

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Three Culture-Driven Tips to Improve Your Employee Retention Strategy

This resource is brought to you by our Sponsor, AlphaStaff

We’ve all been there: you start the week already short-handed and suddenly one key player resigns. As you scramble to make sure you have enough coverage until you can hire a replacement, you can’t help but wonder what could have been done to retain the employee. While we can’t deny that salaries play a role in enticing employees towards a potential role, multiple factors can help build a long-lasting relationship with your team. If there’s anything we’ve learned recently, it’s that it’s not always about the money. By the time your employee evaluates other options, it’s highly likely that there are multiple factors swaying your employee’s decision to move away from the company.

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Animal Welfare Giant Steps Down

In July 2022 Rich Anderson, Co-chair of Marketing here at FAAWO, announced he is stepping down from his role as Executive Director and CEO of Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League. For more than a decade, Rich dedicated his energy to the community of West Palm Beach. Under his stewardship Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League provided assistance to 380,000 dogs and cats and launched Countdown 2 Zero (C2Z), a collaborative partnership with Palm Beach County with the goal of eliminating unnecessary euthanasia in the community. We join with Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League in wishing Rich well as he leaves to start a new chapter in his life and career. 

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