By Michelle Colesanti
Hillsborough County Animal Services, now known as Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center (HCPRC), is the county intake for all stray and surrendered cats and dogs. While the county is working on increasing the percentages of survival and adoption rates for the animals taken in daily, it is something that must be done with the help of volunteers; those who care about the fate of all of the animals.
Friends of Hillsborough County Animal Services, Inc (FOHCAS) is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit that is entirely made up of volunteer private citizens and works to help the animals that might not otherwise get a chance for survival and ultimately a happy home.
FOHCAS’ first full year of operations was in 2013, and it assisted 44 animals at a cost of just under $15,000. Last year that number was tripled to over 150 animals, at a cost of approximately $48,500.This year, the goal is to aid 180 animals that could be euthanized without its help.
Medical payment assistance is the primary function of FOHCAS.
Jackie Osborne, president of FOHCAS said, “When an animal has a treatable medical issue, it should never be a reason for it to be euthanized. We will help an adopter or an adopt-to-re-home person pay to treat that issue. These range from heart worm treatments, to fracture repairs, to skin issues and most everything else that might be an added expense that initially the person wasn’t prepared to pay.”
Osborne said that they also purchase enrichment items for the animals to use while still at the shelter and attend community events for outreach.
“We feel as animal advocates educating the public about animal issues like spay and neuter, heat trauma, etc is an important responsibility for us. Explaining that sterilization, adoption, animal care, and retention are ways as a community we can bring the intake rates down. When shelter intake is reduced responsibly, then the euthanasia rate will also decrease,” said Osborne.
With no paid employees, 96 percent of all donations go back to programs that assist the animals at HCPRC.
The funding comes from private donors; there is no county assistance. FOHCAS is actively looking for business/corporate sponsors as well as individuals in the community who would be interested in financially contributing to help the shelter animals.
Inquiries can be made about its sponsorship program by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on FOHCAS, visit www.friendsofhcas.org.