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Humane Society of Pinellas Shelters and Advocates for Tampa Bay Animals

By Allison Wilson

The Humane Society of Pinellas takes care of Tampa Bay area animals by not only providing a shelter for homeless pets in the community, but also by working to tackle the issues that lead to their homelessness.

"One of the biggest challenges regarding pet overpopulation is the lack of education," says Lucy Monette, Humane Society of Pinellas Volunteer and Outreach Manager. "People may not understand the importance of spay/neuter or they may not see their pet as a family member. To combat this issue, our humane education program teaches youth the importance of the human animal bond and how to prevent animals from being homeless."

HSP offers many other services aimed at prevention, including its Affordable Pet Clinic, microchipping, and spay/neuter services. As the area's largest no-kill shelter, the organization also provides training resources and medical assistance to help address the reasons people might give up their pet through a surrender prevention program called PASS (Pinellas Alternatives to Shelter Surrender).

Other organizations in the community benefit from HSP's services through its Mobile Medical Center, which travels to health departments across Pinellas County to make spay/neuter and vaccine services more accessible. Similarly, their outreach involves traveling around the county to educate youth on pet responsibility. Monette says the programs are well-received.

"The community is supportive of our goals and services," she says. "It is heartwarming when kids make toys for the animals for a school project or a business gives back by spending a day volunteering. We receive a lot of support from our community but as we continue to grow, we will need more help. We rely on donations to provide our lifesaving services for the animals at our shelter and to be able to provide affordable options for people in the community."

To foster that community support, HSP participates in a variety of events, including large-scale fundraisers such as Fur Affair, an annual social event held in March at Earthscapes Garden Room. During this event, people are invited to enjoy an evening of food, drink and music while learning more about HSP's role in the community. Spring Pet Fest, which occurs in April, has traditionally been one of their more successful adoption events.

Every summer, HSP hosts Kids Summer Camps. This year, there will be five weeks of camps for two age groups: 7-11 and 12-15. During camp, the kids learn about animals through presentations from area professionals, animal related arts and crafts and, of course, spending time with the animals at the shelter.

It's just one more way HSP cares for community animals.

"Our vision is to be the premier animal resource center in the Tampa Bay area," Monette says. "We are dedicated to creating a humane community, and to be the best at providing enrichment, education and programs that keeps pets and families together."

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Allison Wilson is an award-winning writer and communications professional whose...

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