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California Lawmakers Pass Bill to Expand Access to Veterinary Telehealth

San Diego Humane Society and the ASPCA Commend California Lawmakers for Passing Bill to Expand Access to Veterinary Telehealth

If signed by Gov. Newsom, Assembly Bill 1399 will remove unnecessary barriers that restrict access to virtual veterinary care in the Golden State.

September 14, 2023

SACRAMENTO —  San Diego Humane Society (SDHS) and the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) commend California lawmakers for passing Assembly Bill 1399, to empower licensed veterinarians in the Golden State to establish a veterinarian-client-patient relationship through video technology. Introduced by Assemblymembers Laura Friedman (D-Burbank) and Josh Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), the bill passed the legislature this week with strong bipartisan and near-unanimous support. It now goes to Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has until Oct. 14, 2023, to sign the bill into law.

Given the critical shortage of veterinarians nationwide, many pet owners are experiencing firsthand a lack of access to veterinary care. In California, a number of counties have low access to veterinary care and the statewide Veterinary Care Accessibility Score is 47 out of 100, according to the Veterinary Care Accessibility Project. A study from Banfield Pet Hospital estimates that 75 million pets in the U.S. could be without veterinary care by 2030 if we do not update our approach to providing care.

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SAC RELEASE: Fewer Dog Transfers Between Organizations

Fewer Dog Transfers Between Organizations
Yet Another Troubling Symptom of Post-Pandemic Shelter Crisis

Saturation of Canines in Communities Across U.S. Leaves Dogs Fewer Transfer Options

ATLANTA, GA, 8/17/2023 – Shelter Animals Count (SAC), the most trusted and current source for animal sheltering data, notes a concerning trend in their Q2 data which shows a decrease in transfers of animals between shelters. Transfers between organizations and communities play a vital role in enabling a balanced distribution of animals and alleviating overcrowding. As dog adoptions are down for rescues and private shelters compared to both 2021 and 2022, their total outcomes are down — likely leading to fewer transfers in. 

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FAAWO Supports PUPP Bill

No one should have to choose between secure housing and their beloved companions. Join the ASPCA, FAAWO and other animal welfare organizations in urging your representatives to include the PUPP Act in the 2023 Farm Bill TODAY, by clicking below:


What is the PUPP Act?

Providing for Unhoused People with Pets (PUPP) Act was introduced in the118th Congress by Reps. Crow (D-CO), Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Schiff (D-CA) and Mace (R-SC).

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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

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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