By Phillip Snyder, Executive Director
Published in the Englewood Sun on July 16, 2014
Since the inception of our mission, "reducing the number of homeless animals and improving the quality of life," the programs and services of Suncoast Humane Society have taken on a new nature. Gone are the days when we were an animal-control housing facility, faced with housing aggressive animals and even animals that had a history of biting people. Sheltering these animals resulted in a much higher euthanasia rate. We have also moved past just being a pet adoption facility, even though that remains one of our most important services for the community.
Our adoption program now provides consultations by experienced "Adoption Specialists" to ensure that the pet being adopted will fit into your home and lifestyle. Our adoption program has placed thousands of animals into new homes, while providing education and support to the adoptive family. We are excited to be introducing an off-site adoption program, in cooperation with Pet Supermarket in Englewood and Petco in Port Charlotte. We are hopeful of also having satellite adoption facilities in North Port and Venice in the near future. We partner with many other animal shelters and rescue groups as part of our "transport for adoption" program. One perk in our adoption program is that we offer senior adopters, as well as senior animals being adopted, generously discounted fees.
Suncoast Humane Society's Preventive Health Care Clinic has grown from providing medical care for the animals we shelter, to also offering low-cost vaccinations, microchipping, and flea, tick and heartworm prevention for pets belonging to you, the public. The number of animals provided for at our clinic has risen to 4,000 pets per year.
Various levels of dog training classes are offered for owners and their canines throughout the year. The classes include basic obedience, canine good citizen, advanced training and therapy/service dog training. Many families benefit from time spent interacting positively with their canine friend.
The Society's thrift stores in Englewood, North Port and Venice also give people the opportunity to support Suncoast Humane Society by donating household and other goods as well as shopping for bargains. We soon will be announcing the opening of our new thrift store in Port Charlotte. These stores provide needed funding for our services, programs and animals.
Suncoast Humane Society's stated purpose has expanded to "providing and advocating compassionate, humane care and treatment for all animals, providing comprehensive educational programs for children and adults, and providing community services that enhance the human-companion animal bond."
Pet Therapy visitations to schools, hospitals, senior or assisted-living facilities and nursing homes allow those without animals to benefit from animal interaction.
Many of the therapy team's pets in this program are alumni of Suncoast Humane Society. Our humane education programs have reached thousands of students and adults alike. Information and assistance are provided to numerous people dealing with animal-related issues. We offer a clearing house of information as well as referral services.
Suncoast Humane Society has established an Internet presence with our own website at www.humane.org, on nationally acclaimed Petfinder (www.petfinder.org) and Adopt-A-Pet (www.adoptapet.com) as well as many other online sites. Our social media activities stimulate interest in our homeless animals not just in our community but across the country.
We are proud of Suncoast Humane Society and the lives we touch, both two and four legged. With the support of those we serve, we will look forward to an even brighter future.