Gulf County animal shelter needs help finding forever home for pets

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PORT ST. JOE, Fla. (WMBB) — The St. Joseph Bay Humane Society is overcrowded with cats and dogs that are ready to be fostered or adopted, but the shelter needs the communities help.

“Right now, we have a 98.8 percent live release rate which means 98.8 percent of all of our animals cats and dogs are adopted or transferred out to another no kill shelter,” St. Joseph Bay Humane Society Director, Amanda Lucas said.

Lucas said that owners are dropping off their cats or dogs at the humane society when they decide they can’t take care of them anymore.

Over the past year, they’ve had 41 animals dumped at the shelter.

“People will dump on our street corner…they put in milk crates and tie it together and put it outside of our gate, in hopes that when we get here in the mornings, we find the animal, Lucas said.

Lucas said this takes a major toll on the dogs.

“It’s very difficult for them and they feel it and we see it and it’s hard not to take it home sometimes when we get a tough case, but they are safe here, they are loved, and they don’t go anywhere until we make sure the second chance is the right permanent chance,” Lucas said.

Which is why they have a very thorough adoption process that requires references and a three page application if you decide to adopt.

“We do as much as we can to try to help them feel comfortable while they are going through that transition again of going from being owned by a family to back to the shelter and it’s heartbreaking for us,” Lucas said.

One of the biggest issues they face is cats and dogs that aren’t spayed and neutered which can lead to overcrowding in the shelter.

The St. Joseph Bay Humane Society is a no kill shelter. All animals are ready for adoption, they have all of their shots, are chipped, and spayed and neutered.

One of their most successful programs is there Foster to Adopt program.

“It’s a great program,” Lucas said. “It’s extremely popular. Right now, we have 15 dogs in Foster to Adopt after 30 days then Katie, my office manager, will reach out and say ‘okay it’s been 30 days and he’s not back yet…is it time to celebrate?”

In addition to needing forever homes for their animals, the shelter could also use volunteers after having to cut down on employees due to the pandemic.

“We rely so heavily on our volunteers to come in on a daily basis help us socialize, help us walk them, we retrain them as best as possible with commands and leash training, potty training. We do as much as we can to try to help them feel comfortable while they are going through that transition again of going from being owned by a family to back to the shelter and its heartbreaking for us,” Lucas said. “It’s difficult, sometimes we have really tough days, sometimes we have really good days, but we know that every single animal that crosses through our front door they are not leaving again until we thoroughly vet the new family.”

Other ways the community can help is by making a donation.

The shelter also needs donations of dawn soap, detergent, and paper towels.

“Anyway they feel that they can help us is a blessing and I’m just truly honored to be part of Gulf County and the community, we have had tremendous support,” said Lucas.

For more information on upcoming events, how to adopt, foster, or donate visit their Facebook page or their website.

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