SPCA Florida Announces New Hours and Expands Program Services

Dec 27, 2012, 08:53 ET from SPCA Florida

Cat Cafes, Weekend Spay / Neuter Clinics, and Open Paw Builds Humane Communities

LAKELAND, Fla., Dec. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Beginning January 2, 2013, SPCA Florida is expanding its hours and services to better serve the community and help animals in need.  The SPCA Florida Adoption Center will be open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm and on Sunday from noon to 5:00 pm for adoptions and admissions.  The SPCA Florida McClurg Animal Medical Center will be open Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, Saturday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, and Sunday from noon to 5:00 pm.  Both facilities are located on the SPCA Florida campus at 5850 Brannen Road South in Lakeland, Florida.  Appointments for spaying and neutering surgery can be made by calling (863) 646-4647.

"Adding Sunday hours for the Adoption Center and now performing spaying and neutering surgeries for dogs and cats every weekend greatly expands our services to the community," said SPCA Florida CEO Sean Hawkins.  "Increasing the availability of adoptable animals and adding weekend surgeries saves lives and prevents homeless animals, both are core to our mission of eliminating animal suffering."

As the New Year rings in, SPCA Florida is also rolling out new community services.  Partnering with Florida Southern College (FSC), SPCA Florida is helping community cats by creating the first Cat Cafe program.  Approximately 100 community cats currently living across the FSC campus will be humanely trapped, examined, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and permanently identified by SPCA Florida veterinarians.  The cats will be released back into their environment and cared for by the Alpha Chi Omega Sorority at specially designed Cat Cafes, which are custom-designed houses and feeding stations built in Frank Lloyd Wright style to keep with the historical aesthetics of the campus.

"Science tells us that managing community cats through humane trap-neuter-return programs is solution-oriented to limiting uncontrolled cat populations and we know that trapping cats and euthanizing them at shelters only creates a vacuum in the local ecosystem to attract more cats," Hawkins said.  The pilot Cat Cafe program will be replicated across the state of Florida at mobile home parks, apartment complexes, and shopping center developments where people feeding cats and cats breeding create uncontrolled populations as well as health and safety issues for the community.

Open Paw also starts at SPCA Florida in January.  The new program provides people and animals with the tools they need to develop a successful relationships with one another and with their communities.  By educating potential adopters before they acquire dogs and cats, providing hands-on training for shelter staff, volunteers, and guardians, and promoting mental health enrichment for shelter animals, Open Paw prevents surrendering of animals to shelters and ultimately euthanasia of homeless animals. 

"Open Paw is one of many new safety net programs that provide animals with life skills to become better family members, keeping them in homes and out of shelters," according to Hawkins.  "When families adopting dogs and cats understand basic animal behavior and when we do a better job of training animals before they are adopted, we create lifelong matches between animals and people, enhancing the human-animal bond." 

"Florida faces a serious dog and cat overpopulation problem.  By fully educating and engaging the community about animal overpopulation and offering solutions like affordable, accessible spaying and neutering for dogs and cats, Cat Cafes for community animals, and training and relinquishment intervention programs like Open Paw to keep animals who have home in those homes, SPCA Florida keeps animals healthy, increases compassion and decreases the need for traditional shelter capacity," said Hawkins.

For more information about SPCA Florida's new hours and programs, or to join our humane community, call (863) 646-7722 or visit www.spcaflorida.org.

About SPCA Florida

Founded in 1979, SPCA Florida exists to eliminate animal suffering and to enhance the human-animal bond by engaging the entire community in the welfare and well-being of animals.  We accomplish this through model programs that promote the adoption of healthy animals, prevent dog and cat overpopulation, and provide veterinary medical services for animals in the community.   SPCA Florida's relinquishment intervention programs create a safety net to keep animals who have homes in those homes.  The McClurg Animal Medical Center heals and helps 50,000 patients annually and the Animal Adoption Center provides caring, compassion and hope to more than 6,000 homeless animals entering our doors each year.  Find out more about SPCA Florida or support us by visiting www.spcaflorida.org.

Jessica Lawson
Manager of Media Relations
O: (863) 646-7722 ext. 105
C: (386) 986-8093