A third grade girl in Florida, named Sophia Biddle, raised $522 for animals in the months before Christmas. Sophia was able to use the money to buy about $1,000 worth of pet food, toys, and treats with the help of coupons. All the animal gifts she acquired with the help of her mother, were donated to the Tampa Bay Humane Society. (Last year Sophia Biddle sold some of her toys online and raised $356 to purchase gifts for children who otherwise wouldn’t have had any.)
Some time after she heard about the Humane Society, she started raising money and making bookmarks to give to donors for the animals. She also had a fundraising booth at her school. Thank you notes were her last project for donors before she had finished the campaign.
The tough economic times have impacted animal shelters greatly. In Jupiter, FL an animal shelter was actually misreported in a news article to have closed due to financial difficulties. For Christmas it received a pickup truck load of pet food and other supplies due to a grant made by the John Tesh Foundation.
Some animal shelters are in desperate need because food donations have decreased drastically. Last February it was reported the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Los Angeles had experienced a ninety percent drop in food donations.
Another factor contributing to extra animals at shelters is the Christmas Pet Syndrome. Puppies and kittens purchased as Christmas gifts sometimes wind up at animal shelters when new owners realize they didn’t understand all the responsibilities, and don’t want to take care of them.
The main cause of pet overpopulation is lack of awareness about the importance of neutering and spaying pets so they don’t have large litters, which owners can’t care for and drop at shelters, or they go feral and may continue reproducing. The state of Florida offers a spay and neuter vehicle license plate which is supposed to help reduce pet overpopulation.
Perhaps next year, Sophia will lead a campaign to raise awareness about the value that spaying and neutering has in reducing the number of starving and homeless animals.