Dr. Donna’s Pet Foundation, a Tri-County 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was recently launched in Broward County. It focuses on animal advocacy and the prevention of needless deaths of thousands of animals in our county shelters and city streets.

Dr. Donna Watson, a well-known and respected Fort Lauderdale chiropractor in practice for over 21 years, founded the organization.

“I’ve been an animal person my whole life,” said Watson, who’s personal experiences of adopting two rescue dogs from shelters opened her eyes to the problem of over population of dogs and cats here in South Florida, and the inadequate existing measures to reduce it.

“When I realized what was happening and how many dogs and cats were being euthanized in our shelters and how our rescue partners who desperately try to keep up their intake and are unable to do so due to expenses and lack of fosters, I thought there has to be a better way,” Watson said.

The problem, Watson said, is overpopulation of strays in the Tri-County area. In some parts of South Florida especially the Everglades and the Redlands in South Miami local residents dump their dogs there to fend for themselves or die as they cannot take care of them.

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The first part of fixing that problem is education of the citizens there through out reach programs in these impoverished areas. Spay and neutering these animals can greatly reduce the ever growing population and abandonment there.

One step in solving this is educating the area residents that there are other alternatives other then dumping them out there, and secondly, how spay and neutering can greatly reduce the growth cycle. We want to bring both the educational materials and mobile vans into those populated areas and pay for the costs so the residents will come and get these services. 

However, Watson says, “The problem is so large that we need to address it from several fronts at the same time.” We can say we want the county shelters to become No-Kill facilities but the reality is at this time it is not possible due to the mass numbers of incoming animals. So if we can make headway by adding more channels of distribution of these animals coming in there we may have a chance to begin to win that fight. I will tell you that both Broward County and Miami Dade directors want nothing more then to fulfill that ultimate dream. They are both trying everything, there is just too many incoming animals. Passing the ordinance of “The Puppy Mill Ban,” here in Broward County and in Dade County will help with this.

Fifteen cities in Broward have passed it but the actual Broward County commission recently refused to pass it. By doing so it mandates that pet stores who sell dogs and cats would have to sell shelter animals instead of buying their dogs many who are sick, from these puppy mills who mass produce breeds in abusive and in inhumane conditions.

“Our biggest immediate goal to lessen this over population,” she says.

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One of the foundation’s most important goals is to begin an organized transport system of our over crowed shelter animals to the northern parts of Florida and up the Eastern Seaboard to recognized 501(c)(3) rescues and non kill shelters that have the space to take them in.

We already have a volunteer army of transport volunteers in place in every state that will help in short distance runs, but this larger effort needs to have a coordinated effort between approved rescues and shelters along these northern states, and our shelters. It will be an initial expense in purchasing transport vans but we have some ideas on how to raise that money. It will save thousands of lives so it is well worth it.

Of course private and corporate donations are the backbone of any charity. And so Watson is out to make a difference. Her foundation got off to a rousing start last week with a fundraiser at Mod Lounge in Fort Lauderdale. The event raised over $2,000 dollars for the foundation and saw participation by Fort Lauderdale Police Sgt. Jack Lokinsky, photographer Dennis Dean, and Lori Tanner who served as celebrity participants for the evening. On the foundation’s website, a simple message is written across the top:

“No pet should be without a home, and no human heart should be without the unconditional love that having one brings.”

Watson’s foundation is hoping to reduce euthanasia numbers in Broward that were posted by the Broward County Animal Control which in 2015, reported a total of 5,800 dogs and cats that were euthanized in their facility and 2,900 dogs and cats in the Miami Dade County Shelter. Broward Humane Society’s numbers of euthanasia were not known at this time of publication.

The foundation is strictly a volunteer organization with all profits going to further the mission. Donations can be made on the Facebook page or website. Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/drdonnaspetfoundation5

To learn more about how you can help Dr. Donna’s Pet Foundation, visit www.DrDonnasPetFoundation.org or call 1-844-PET-HOME. The office is located at 2034 East Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 33306. Please like the Facebook page and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.