At VOCAL, our mission is to solve the homeless pet problem through prevention, community outreach, adoption and collaboration.
If that sounds like a big mission, you are right, it is, especially when you consider that Marion County, Florida has an estimated 40,000 unsterilized cats and dogs. Without aggressive intervention through targeted spay-neuter programs, they will only continue to reproduce and add to the homeless pet population.
Consider also, when our county facility was an open intake facility, meaning that no one would be turned away for lack of space, the intake rate was twice the national average. This resulted in more than half of these animals leaving only through death’s door. Since June 2018 however, the county implemented a no-kill approach which has reduced killing for space substantially. This is very good news! Feral and community cats in particular, now have a chance to live where they are most comfortable, in their outdoor colonies.
The not so good news is a chronic lack of available shelter space community wide. This has resulted in an increase in stray animals with no place to go. The good Samaritans who find them and care enough to help them, are in desperate need of supportive services to help those animals have a good outcome.
Consider also the low-income pet parents who love their pets but lack adequate financial resources to care for them; especially when emergencies arise. Sometimes those emergencies are human and sometimes they are animal, but the result is the same; without help the animal can suffer.
Our community outreach programs can provide support for these caregivers.
When no other option is feasible or desirable, and as space allows we take in at-risk pets into our shelter. Once they come in they are safe, fed, vetted and loved. We look for the perfect match for every animal we adopt out. Each year we take in hundreds of animals.
Working hand-in-hand with other animal welfare groups and like-minded shelters is part of the solution. We believe in working together for the benefit of the animals and people we serve.