Welcome to the Save Our Strays, Inc. family of shelter homes and related facilities. We are furnishing a guide and outline of our policies and procedures to better acquaint you with our organization, its goals, objectives and resources. This guide is not intended to be all encompassing and if you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 727-481-5091 or 727-481-5262. Below are the current board members and officers:
Elizabeth Thompson, President
Linda Hartnett, Treasurer
Diana Ross, Secretary
Donna Johnson, Director
Some of the information that follows is pertinent only to permanent foster homes. Temporary foster homes do not receive litter or food as outlined below. Temporary fosters are people that have requested the assistance of Save Our Strays in placing cats/kittens. They are not regular volunteers and as such, do not respond to requests to foster cats/kittens for Save Our Strays, Inc.
I. Corporate objectives:
The charitable purpose of Save Our Strays, Inc. is to rescue stray cats and kittens, provide medical evaluation and treatment if necessary, to spay or neuter each animal, to place these cats and kittens in temporary shelter homes or facilities pending adoption and to find good permanent homes.
II. Tax Status of Save Our Strays, Inc.
Save Our Strays, Inc., was founded in 1994 as a Florida, not-for-profit charitable entity. It is a 501(c)(3) organization meeting all criteria established by the Internal Revenue Service and, further, is a recognized charity under applicable Florida law and local and municipal ordinances.
III. Selection of Shelter Homes and Facilities.
Save Our Strays, Inc., attempts to identify, locate and utilize volunteers who wish to donate their homes and facilities for the temporary sheltering of cats and kittens pending final adoption. In the selection of such shelter homes it is the goal of Save Our Strays, Inc., to fully cooperate and assist those who generously give of their time, energy and dwellings to further our charitable objectives.
IV. Expectations of Save Our Strays, Inc., regarding the participation of Shelter Home Contributors:
Save Our Strays, Inc., expects each shelter home to provide a temporary but loving environment for the housing, treatment and socializing of stray cats and kittens pending final adoption. We also expect that each shelter home will care for the Save Our Strays, Inc., cats and kittens substantially in the same manner that it would care for its own.
Save Our Strays, Inc., and each shelter home or facility realizes that the animals placed in its care require certain special attention and potential medical evaluation and treatment because of the very nature of the cats and kittens as strays. Hence, it is important to keep separate newly placed cats and kittens from those owned by a temporary home or outlet. It is necessary to isolate newly placed cats and kittens from existing Save Our Strays, Inc., cats and kittens in an existing home or outlet until social and medical evaluation can be reasonably performed.
In addition to medical and social evaluation of the Save Our Strays’ cats and kittens, a shelter home or facility should carefully monitor the type and brand of food fed and the likes or dislikes of particular cats and kittens.
It is important to note the consistent and proper use of litter boxes and any given abnormality or peculiarity exhibited by a particular cat or kitten.
It is also important to note the personality traits of the cats and kittens.
Once placed for adoption at a given outlet, Save Our Strays, Inc., wants to provide to a prospective adoptive family an informational card or sheet which notes important information regarding a given cat or kitten. Although Save Our Strays, Inc., has basic information in its computer system and related documentation regarding such things as approximate age, location where found, dates of shots, spaying/neutering, chip numbers, etc., certain information is within virtually the exclusive knowledge of the temporary shelter home or facility. On our informational card, Save Our Strays, Inc., will inquire of the shelter home or facility regarding, among other things, personal traits of individual cats and kittens and would like to provide as completely and fully as possible information about positive traits and virtues as well as any particular unusual characteristics or traits. It is important to have a bonding of the cats or kittens with their new permanent homes and only through the disclosure of all reasonable pertinent information can Save Our Strays, Inc., and the prospective adoptive home maximize the potential success of a given permanent placement.
Save Our Strays, Inc., not only utilizes retail pet establishments as adoptive outlets but also features its available cats and kittens on such internet sites as www.petfinder.com. Thus, we would greatly appreciate the taking of digital photographs of each cat or kitten and furnishing same to firstname.lastname@example.org so that a picture(s) can be posted on appropriate web sites. Additionally, pertinent information such as is identified in the preceding paragraph will, where a web site permits, be posted together with the photographs. Should a shelter or facility not have a digital camera readily available, Save Our Strays, Inc., will try to locate a volunteer to take photographs.
In addition to the normal processes outlined above regarding the care, treatment and evaluation of cats and kittens while housed in temporary shelter homes and facilities, should a particular cat or kitten exhibit medical problems, the shelter home or facility should contact one of the above Officers to notify in as much detail as possible of the symptoms or problems observed. Save Our Strays, Inc., will then discuss with the shelter home or facility an immediate course of action to minimize potential harm to the cat or kitten by getting immediate medical evaluation and treatment if necessary.
Save Our Strays, Inc., expects a shelter home or facility to immediately notify one of the Officers listed above should a cat or kitten display feral characteristics or otherwise create concern that a given cat or kitten may not be an appropriate candidate for permanent adoption consistent with our ultimate goals or objectives. A decision will be made by the Officers as to steps to be taken with respect to cats and kittens that appear unadoptable.
Save Our Strays, Inc., expects all shelter homes and facilities to house cats and kittens in such a manner and means that animals are not abused or otherwise neglected, that they are maintained in a reasonably clean environment and that a shelter home or facility does not undertake to care for an excessive number of cats or kittens beyond its reasonable capabilities.
Shelter homes and facilities must understand and appreciate that Save Our Strays, Inc., is a regulated charitable organization which must operate within its stated corporate goals and objectives. As such, policies and procedures can only be established by the Officers and Directors of Save Our Strays, Inc. Yet, Save Our Strays, Inc., welcomes comments, suggestions, evaluations, criticisms or other interaction which a shelter home or facility may want to communicate to the above Officers.
V. Undertakings of Save Our Strays, Inc., to its Permanent Shelter Homes and Facilities:
Save Our Strays, Inc., endeavors and pledges to provide, to the best of its ability, the following assistance to its shelter homes and facilities:
A. Food. Save Our Strays, Inc., has made arrangements with certain major national manufacturers of cat and kitten food to make available food in quantities necessary to meet the needs of its shelter homes and facilities.
B. Kitty Litter. Save Our Strays, Inc., purchases litter in bulk amounts and will make available such to its shelter homes and facilities in amounts necessary to reasonably accommodate their needs. Shelter homes must be able to pick up litter where it is stored.
C. Medicines. Save Our Strays, Inc., has established working relationships with various veterinary facilities located in Pinellas County. Should a shelter home or facility have a need for special or emergency attention to a given cat or kitten, a shelter home or facility should contact one of the Officers. Shelter homes are expected to provide transport for their foster cats. Also, Save Our Strays, Inc. provides medicines as prescribed by those veterinary clinics affiliated with us. Save Our Strays, Inc. has a limited supply of other medicines which are routinely needed on such a basis that they be dropped off at a given shelter home or facility by an authorized member of Save Our Strays, Inc., or, alternatively, may be picked up upon the making of appropriate arrangements at a location agreed to by the shelter home or facility and an authorized Save Our Strays, Inc. Officer.
VI. General Policies of Save Our Strays, Inc.:
In order to maintain cooperation, understanding and working relationship with its shelter homes and facilities, Save Our Strays, Inc. believes it necessary to advise of the general policies of the organization set forth below:
A. Save Our Strays, Inc. rescues stray cats and kittens in Pinellas County only.
Save Our Strays, Inc., recognizes that stray cats and kittens exist throughout the Tampa Bay area and, indeed, throughout Florida and the nation. Yet with our small organization we must limit our activities including the rescue of stray cats and kittens to Pinellas County. This is consistent with our license as a not-for-profit entity authorized to conduct business within Pinellas County. Save Our Strays, Inc. is not licensed or authorized to act as a charitable entity in other counties within the State of Florida.
B. Save Our Strays, Inc. limits its rescue to stray cats and kittens.
Save Our Strays, Inc. is often requested to take cats and kittens from individuals who own a cat or kitten and, for whatever reason, no longer want the pet. In every license or permit issued to Save Our Strays, Inc. to conduct business as a charity scope of authority is to rescue stray cats and kittens. Not only is our mission statement limited to rescuing strays but our corporate existence and recognition as a charity mandates that our activities are limited to strays and do not include the rescuing of owned animals. We understand the emotional pressures and desires to expand our rescue efforts; yet, we also must recognize that our organization has practical limitations on its scope in order to be effective. There exist other entities like the SPCA of Tampa Bay and the Humane Society in Clearwater that have an expanded goal of taking in owned animals. Unfortunately, we must recognize our practical and legal limitations limiting our scope to rescuing stray cats and kittens.
Finally, since the ultimate goal of Save Our Strays, Inc., is to find good permanent homes for cats and kittens, Save Our Strays, Inc., does not rescue FERAL animals. It is essential that cats and kittens maintained by our shelter homes and facilities meet reasonable standards for ultimate adoption. Feral cats and kittens obviously do not meet this fundamental requirement.
C. Meeting Special Requests for Food or Litter.
In order to exist within budgetary constraints, Save Our Strays, Inc., continually contacts food and litter manufacturers and outlets. Save Our Strays, Inc. strives to acquire food and litter through the generosity and gifting of these essentials. Currently, Save Our Strays, Inc. has been able to obtain donated food for cats and kittens and has arranged for the wholesale purchase of kitty litter. Save Our Strays, Inc. recognizes that a given shelter home or facility may prefer a particular brand or type of food or litter. Yet, Save Our Strays, Inc. is constrained by its current contacts at any given point in time and cannot guarantee that it can or will provide specially requested products. Save Our Strays, Inc. will provide free of charge food and litter available to Save Our Strays, Inc., at any given point in time. If a given shelter home or facility does not wish to utilize the food or litter then available through our organization, it is the responsibility of the shelter home or facility to acquire and pay for any food or litter different than that available through Save Our Strays, Inc. Food and litter are not supplied to temporary foster homes. It is available only to regular full time foster homes.
D. Use of Veterinary Clinics other than those with an affiliation with Save Our Strays, Inc.
Save Our Strays, Inc., endeavors to maintain relationships with veterinary clinics with various geographical locations throughout Pinellas County. Shelter homes and facilities must get prior authorization for the taking of cats or kittens to one of these clinics. Save Our Strays, Inc. recognizes that on a rare occasion or in an emergency situation it may not be possible because of the day or time involved in a given emergency to utilize an affiliated veterinary clinic. In such instances, with prior authorization and only with prior authorization, a cat or kitten may be taken to an emergency clinic to receive medical evaluation and treatment. Yet such circumstances are extremely rare and need to be carefully monitored by both Save Our Strays, Inc., and a given shelter home.
E. Pre-authorization for the Temporary Sheltering of Cats or Kittens on behalf of Save Our Strays, Inc.
Save Our Strays, Inc., has limited funding, supplies, veterinary facilities and medicines. Our organization must carefully monitor the number of cats and kittens as to which it has responsibility to given shelter homes and facilities leading to the ultimate goal of finding permanent adoptive homes. It is essential for Save Our Strays, Inc., to be the sponsoring organization that advance authorization be obtained by a given shelter home or facility before taking in a cat or kitten on behalf of Save Our Strays, Inc. Certainly it is not the goal, intention or business of Save Our Strays, Inc., to dictate to a given shelter home or facility to the extent that there is a desire to take in a personal pet or otherwise provide shelter at the home or facility’s own expense. As a regulated charity it is essential that Save Our Strays, Inc. maintain accurate records and that it not overextend its activities or commitments. Thus it is absolutely essential to obtain advance authorization prior to a commitment to take in a stray cat or kitten under the umbrella of Save Our Strays, Inc.
F. Compliance with any local restrictions.
The above statements of policies, procedures, goals, objectives, duties and requirements is provided as a guide to Save Our Strays, Inc., and its shelter homes and facilities in fulfilling its mission statement and in complying with all Federal, State and local laws, rules, regulations and ordinances. It is the responsibility of each shelter home or facility to advise itself on any particular limitation on the type or number of animals maintained at a given locale, which can also be the subject of deed restrictions. Save Our Strays, Inc., is not responsible for the investigation and notification of any particularilized limitations. It is also the responsibility of each shelter home or facility to maintain and control cats and kittens under its care to insure compliance with any other local laws including, but not limited to leash laws, litter ordinances, etc. Save Our Strays, Inc., expects each shelter home or facility to not allow Save Our Strays, Inc., cats or kittens to be outside or in other locations which are unreasonable or contrary to applicable laws, rules and regulations.