By Julie Householder | firstname.lastname@example.org
Lying on her bed, Mocha anticipates the next visitor to pass her large cage. With excited eyes full of hope, she jumps up, wildly thrashing her tail side to side as a volunteer opens her cage.
Every year approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter shelters nationwide, and about 2.7 million animals are euthanized according to the ASPCA. S.A.F.E. Pet Rescue in St. Augustine, Florida, is working on lowering those numbers.
More than 7,000 cats, dogs, puppies and kittens have been saved since S.A.F.E.’s opening in 2008. S.A.F.E. stands for saving animals from euthanasia, and covers most of Northeast Florida and some of Georgia. Once an animal enters the program, they will be kept until a permanent home is found. Pattie Binda, manager at S.A.F.E. has seen a constant flow of animals in and out of this no-kill shelter.
“When they have an animal that is highly adoptable and it is ready to be put down they will notify us, if we have the room we take them,” said Binda. “It is so important for us to adopt them out because if we get that phone call, we want to save them.”
S.A.F.E. saves animals from euthanasia lists to give them a second chance to find homes. All of the animals are spayed or neutered prior to adoption. Animals older than 12 weeks are de-wormed, receive a rabies vaccine and the first distemper vaccine. Cats are tested for leukemia and feline AIDS.
There are two adoption centers in St. Augustine and a thrift store completely run by volunteers with all proceeds going towards the animals. The headquarters has a designated room called the “cattery” where cats waiting for adoption roam freely among cat furniture and an outdoor patio.
Although the enormous number of animals at risk remains a constant issue, Binda hopes that animals will not have to be saved from euthanasia.
“Maybe someday people will spay and neuter and there will not be any homeless animals,” she said.