The Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center, located at 440 N. Falkenberg Rd. in Tampa, is the only open-admission facility in the county. This means that they will accept any cat or dog regardless of breed, size and medical condition. No animal is ever turned away.
Scott Trebatoski is the director of the Resource Center. About eight years ago, the name was changed to the current name. Trebatoski explained, “We want all pet owners to know that we are the first-place pets. We are here to help, and if we cannot, we will refer the owner to somewhere that can.”
Prior to the pandemic, under Trebatoski’s direction, the Pet Resource Center developed a pet retention program. Trebatoski explained, “We work with individual pet owners for the purpose of making sure the owner can retain the pet. If the owner feels they need to give up the pet due to reasons such as financial issues, we will work to get the pet stable and keep them in the shelter, or, if we need to, send the pet to a foster home. The owner can then get the pet back once their issues are resolved.”
In addition to this program, if a pet owner is in need of food for the pet, it has a food pantry for pets. Trebatoski said, “If, for example, someone is getting Meals on Wheels, we do not want them giving half of their food to their pet.” You can also get a pet gate, crate or bowls if you need them. The center gets a lot of donations for those in need. Trebatoski said, “This community is very animal friendly.”
The Pet Resource Center will work with pet owners in order to protect the community. As such, if a pet needs a rabies shot, they will get it. If there are behavior issues, it can help with that too.
According to Trebatoski, it is working to implement a program where pets can get a microchip for free. If a pet gets lost, animal control can return the pet. Trebatoski said, “Underserved communities would be served by such a program because they often face transportation issues.”
The bottom line is that pets are very important to those who have them, and it is economically efficient to help pet owners keep their pets rather than shelter them.
For more information, please visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org or call 813-301-PETS (7387).