Clear the Shelters: SPCA Florida working to change misconception of ‘bully breeds’

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – 8 On Your Side is trying to find shelter animals forever homes. News Channel 8 is taking part in a nationwide pet adoption drive on August 19th called “Clear the Shelters.”  More than two dozen shelters in the Tampa Bay area will take part. Many will be reducing or waiving their fees to help pets find a new home.

SPCA Florida caters to all dog breeds, but they specifically focus on “bully breeds” to try and change the misconception that pit mixes are bad dogs.

The shelter has row after row of pit bull mixes. In fact, that’s more than 25 percent of the shelter’s population.

“You hear these stories about pits that have been trained to be aggressive and that all the sudden in their minds sets a connotation that this is an aggressive breed,” said Adam Stanfield, executive director.

Stanfield has been the executive director at the shelter for three years and maintains that pit mixes make wonderful pets.

“We firmly believe that it’s not the dog, it’s the person who owns the dog that conditions them to a life of fun and happiness or cruelty and fighting,” he said.

For Stanfield, he says the proof is in the pudding. He took 28 dogs who were a part of a dog fighting ring and completely changed their behavior.

“They’re conditioned to be that way. If you condition them for a life of happiness, nine times out of ten you’re going to be alright. They are just as warm and loving as anybody else.”

This weekend, the goal is to get these wagging tails and sad, big, brown eyes out of the cages and into a forever home.

“All you need is to have a dog one time in your life and you go to work and you have a hard day, and you come home that little guy is sitting there waiting for you when you come in the door. It’s so rewarding. Not only for the dog, but for the person.”

The shelter is open from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday. The shelter will waive adoption fees.

Other shelters participating are below:

There are 27 shelters locally who are offering no-cost or reduced-fee adoptions for our Clear the Shelters event:

  • Highlands Co. Sheriff’s Animal Services – 7300 Haywood Taylor Blvd, Spring Hill
  • Friends of Strays – 2911 47th Avenue North – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sebring Angles, Inc – 4200 Sebring Parkway, Sebring
  • Humane Society of Highlands County – 7421 Haywood Taylor Blvd, Sebring
  • Pinellas Co. Animal Services – 12450 Ulmerton Road, Largo – 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • A.R.E. Animal Shelter – 1528 27th Street S.E., Ruskin – 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Humane Society of Manatee County – 2515 14th Street W., Bradenton – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Pet Pal Animal Shelter – 405 22nd Street S, St. Petersburg – 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue – 8437 Cooper Creek Blvd, Bradenton – 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Barking Out Loud Rescue, Inc – 300 N Lake Drive, Lorida
  • Pasco Co. Animal Services – 19640 Dogpatch Lane, Land O’Lakes – noon to 6:30 p.m.
  • Royal Pet Rescue – 1097 Tarpon Ave., Sarasota – Appointment Only
  • Humane Society of the Nature Coast – 7200 Mobley Road, Brooksville – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Hernando Co. SPCA -5718 21st Ave. W, Bradenton – 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Bishop Animal Shelter S.P.C.A. – 5718 21st Ave. West, Bradenton – 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Humane Society of Pinellas – 3040 FL-590, Clearwater – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Humane Society of Tampa Bay – 3607 N Armenia Ave., Tampa – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Suncoast Animal League – 1030 Pennsylvania Ave., Palm Harbor – 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • TampaBay Cat Alliance Inc. – 12232 Little Road, Hudson – noon – 5 p.m.
  • Pet Resource Center – 440 N Falkenburg Road, Tampa – 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • SPCA Florida – 5850 Brannen Road S, Lakeland – 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Francis Animal Resuce of Venice, Inc. – 1925 S Tamiami Trail, Venice – 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Manatee Co. Animal Services – 305 25th Street W, Palmetto – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Fluff Animal Rescue – 11399 81st Place, Seminole – 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Florida English Bulldog Rescue – Odessa – Appointment only
  • Pug Rescue of Florida – Windermere, 888-255-4971
  • Paw Warriors, Inc. – 355 Spring Time Street, Spring Hill – 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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