Tampa Bay Times Guest Column: At Friends of Strays, we’re shocked by what SPCA Tampa Bay just did

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Guest Column: At Friends of Strays, we’re shocked by what SPCA Tampa Bay just did
We urge the SPCA Tampa Bay leadership to reconsider and refocus on the pets and people who need their services most.

Published Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023 in the Tampa Bay Times:

Last week, the SPCA Tampa Bay announced a new pilot program, “For All Dogs.” This program will import dogs past breeding age and “imperfect” puppies to the shelter to be sold and will facilitate retail puppy sales through a partnership with puppy broker Pinnacle Pet and pet retailer Sunshine Puppies. The SPCA Veterinary Clinic will also provide medical care to puppies being sold in two retail stores.

This announcement shocked individuals and organizations in the animal welfare community here in Tampa Bay and across the country.

As animal welfare advocates, we cannot support this program. We find the announcement of this program particularly troubling because as recently as June 7, 2022, SPCA Tampa Bay leadership stood with Friends of Strays before the Pinellas County Commission to support a full ban on puppy retail stores. What happened?

Importing commercially bred dogs to a shelter to be sold, and facilitating the retail sale of puppies, pulls resources and interest from dogs in our community – who need help the most – and puts them at even greater risk. Florida is the fourth-worst state in the nation for euthanasia rates. Pinellas County ranks among the bottom counties in the state. Shelters across Florida are in crisis, overcapacity, and under-resourced.

Read the full column from Dara Eckart & the Friends of Strays Board of Directors: https://www.tampabay.com/opinion/2023/10/19/friends-strays-were-shocked-by-what-spca-tampa-bay-just-did-column/