The Humane Society of St. Lucie County in Fort Pierce, Florida, serves more than 280,000 residents with an estimated 155,000 animals (70,000 dogs and 85,000 cats). Their broad range of services is critically needed in this community, especially since so many people unfortunately live below the poverty line and cannot afford veterinary care, sterilization and basic animal needs. Moreover, most of the dogs you will find in the shelter are Pit Bulls, rescued from other neighboring counties due to Florida’s Pit Bull ban in many districts that came into effect in 2012.
Despite their tireless efforts with low cost veterinary care and free spay/neuter options, the number of abandoned animals continues to be critical. Their volunteer Board of Directors, 33 employees, and 75 volunteers provide care for almost 8,000 animals at the lowest per capita cost of similar organizations. Although only some of the animals have only a short stay, or are only visiting for basic vet services such as vaccines, heartworm tests or X-Rays, their operating budget always goes beyond their limits due to such economic hardship in the community.
We recently had the opportunity to visit with the shelter to discuss their immediate needs, future goals and current adoption challenges. Being a former SPCAI Shelter Grant recipient, we were elated to once again provide them with some much-needed financial aid for their veterinary care department.