Address: 6230 77th St., Vero Beach, Florida, 32967
Phone: (772) 388-3331
Fax: (772) 388-3331
Mission Statement: The Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County, Florida, Inc. makes a better community for its people and animals by:
Providing humane care and shelter for homeless animals
Placing adoptable pets in permanent loving homes
Promoting spaying and neutering of companion animals
Promoting responsible pet ownership and the respect for all life through Humane Education
Protecting animals from cruelty
Pledging to be advocates for animal protection
People and animals in our community benefit from the following programs and services that we provide:
Adoption of counseling for placement of homeless animals
Pet “lost and found” program – Reuniting lost pets with their families
Free pet I.D. tags
Rescue and aid for injured animals
Disaster Temporary Foster Pet Care for:
First Responders and Emergency Service Personnel
Special Needs Residents
Investigation of complaints of cruelty and neglect
Resource information for animal welfare
Financial assistance to residents in Indian River County with limited income for spaying and neutering of pets
Pet behavior counseling and free Phone Helpline Program
Grief counseling for people faced with the loss of a companion animal
Canine training classes
Nursing home/assisted living pet therapy visits
Animal welfare education for schools, community groups and service organizations
Youth “Care Cadet” program
As we begin our 57th year, we continue with a vision to enhance the quality of life in our community through compassionate services to animals and their guardians.
This year due to the economic downturn, we have seen more people than ever before come to us for assistance for their animals. We in turn have responded with every attempt to keep pets and owners together, rather than see their beloved pets relinquished. Just since July, our “Pet Food Bank” has helped more than 300 families and 1,200 animals.
We know that the answer to reducing the overpopulation of companion animals is through spay/neutering and adoption. This year we have sterilized more than 3,000 animals, with the combination of the animals we adopt out and the assistance we offer through our Spay & Neuter Voucher Program at a cost of more than $130,000.
To increase adoptions, we have modified our adoption policies and procedures and introduced the “Meet Your Match” program which has proven to reduce returns nationally by 40%. Presently the program is working well with feline adoptions and soon we will introduce a similar program for canine adoptions as well.
With our new website, http://hsvb.org, we will be able to reach out to the public showing all the animals we have for adoption. These animals will be shown in multiple locations on the web. Our website will be a resource for the community, offering a wide range of topics from the animals for adoption, to information on behavioral training, to the location of various veterinarians in Indian River County. One will even be able to shop online or make a donation to benefit the animals.
Because of these changes and additional programs, we have seen a reduction in animals turned in and an increase in adoptions. Each day, we are moving closer to the dream of being able to provide a loving home to every healthy and treatable animal that comes through our doors.
The Humane Society of Vero Beach & Indian River County will work for positive change in our community with regard to animal welfare and protection.
We will provide leadership through advocacy and legislation, involving legislative issues such as the need for increased compliance with pet licensing requirements and for increased micro-chipping of all pets.
We will accept wildlife in distress and coordinate their recovery and rehabilitation with staff whenever possible and in partnership with licensed wildlife rehabilitators.
We will offer comfort to the community’s pet owners, as well as their companion pets, with regard to end of life decisions and grieving.
We will assist those community residents in need by providing temporary foster care for animals.
We will be available to pets of the community’s special needs residents during times of disaster, including disaster recovery.
Through contracted services with the Indian River County Animal Control, we will provide housing for the county’s lost, stray and quarantined animals.
The Humane Society of Vero Beach & Indian River County will identify sources of funds and generate sufficient revenue to support the work of the Humane Society of Vero Beach & Indian River County, FL, Inc.
HSVB&IRC will operate an open-admission facility to receive, shelter and care for all animals that make their way to our doors.
We will maintain a workforce of professional staff and active volunteers to ensure the work of the Humane Society is accomplished.
We will develop and implement programs that address pet overpopulation and cruelty to animals.
We will promote programs and provide a presence in Indian River County to increase understanding and awareness with regard to animal care.
We will promote the welfare of animals.
We will maintain an animal shelter where lost, stray, unlicensed, licensed and quarantined animals may be cared for and housed. Whenever practical, we shall find homes for such animals.
HISTORY OF THE HUMANE SOCIETY
OF VERO BEACH & INDIAN RIVER COUNTY, FL
On October 26, 1953, Peggy Kuster and fifteen others held the first meeting of the Animal Protection League of Vero Beach. They acquired a 2,000 square foot facility on Commerce Avenue. The shelter was supported by a thrift shop and donations from animal lovers. For the first time, lost and unwanted animals were given caring treatment and a clean place to live. And the motto of the Humane Society was established: No animal is ever turned away.
By 1969, the Animal Protection League had become known as the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Peggy Kuster was its acknowledged heroine. Peggy was the first person to be cited in the Vero Beach Exchange Club’s Book of Golden Deeds.
By 1983, the population of Indian River County numbered about 70,000 and the animal population had risen along with it. It was at this time that the Board realized that the shelter was no longer adequate. After raising $500,000, they purchased five acres of land on 41st Street and erected an 8,600 square foot building – more than four times the size of the original facility!
Programs and services expanded. The shelter was now offering pet behavior and dog training, foster care for the pets of owners who needed temporary assistance, disaster relief, school education lectures to encourage respect for animals among the young, sterilization programs, pet ID tags and expanded adoption services.
In the mid-1990s, the name of the organization was changed from the Humane Society of Vero Beach to the Humane Society of Vero Beach & Indian River County, FL, Inc. to better reflect the scope of area served by the organization. Again the phenomenal growth of Indian River County caught up with the Humane Society. In 1996, the decision was made to develop a physical plant which would meet the projected needs of the community for the next 20 years. This entailed moving to a new location and purchasing 38 acres of land. It took ten+ years to raise the almost $6,000,000 needed to construct the two state-of-the-art buildings totaling 42,000 square feet. The present day Miriam Dickey Oberkotter Adoption & Receiving Centers provide first, a building for the housing of adoption animals and includes a spacious administration area as well as rooms for training, education, adoption counseling, treatment and surgery. A second building receives all in-coming animals and provides space for animal evaluation, quarantine for those with contagious diseases, private euthanasia, a chapel and memorial garden.
At the present time, we are able to effectively meet the needs of 7,000+ animals needing our caring attention each year. As a result, our shelter serves as a model for many other groups and shelters interested in expanding the level of housing, efficiency and services that can be provided.