Founded in 1971 by a courageous group of individuals dedicated to the humane treatment of animals in Manatee County, it operated as a foster-based organization without a facility. On April 7, 1973, they received non-profit 501 c3 status.
After many fundraisers and a couple of “angels,” HSMC acquired its first facility in 1978 – what we now call the Cat Cottage. In 1986, the organization purchased the two-story Nautilus property next door. The kennels were added downstairs and the upstairs remained an apartment that was rented out to help defray costs.
The Humane Society was now off and running! The adoption program was thriving and the board of directors began looking outside their walls. In 2007, a fundamental shift occurred from the Humane Society being simply a no-kill shelter to adopting the mission “to lead Manatee County in creating a No-kill community.”
After some much-needed renovations including a new roof, windows, and air conditioning, HSMC opened a Humane Alliance Model Spay/Neuter Clinic in 2009. The low-cost, high-quality Spay Neuter Clinic has performed more than 28,000 low-cost or free surgeries to date, drastically reducing the number of unplanned litters.
Euthanasia rates at the County Shelter began to drop. In 2011, HSMC entered into an agreement with Manatee County Animal Services and Gulf Shore Animal League to sterilize, vaccinate, and microchip free-roaming cats. The TNR program has drastically reduced the euthanasia rate for cats in Manatee County.
The Second Chance Adoption Program was going strong with the addition of on-site medical care and began taking in sick and injured animals including heartworm-positive dogs. The clinic started offering a heartworm prevention and treatment program at this time as well.
In November 2013, the purchase of the former Salvation Army store next door to the existing HSMC campus signaled the next big step. Effectively doubling our size, our dream of opening of a newly expanded clinic became a reality on September 9, 2015.
The Humane Society of Manatee County is committed to leading Manatee County in fostering compassion and respect for animals through care, education, and collaboration. The Humane Society of Manatee County actively collaborates with other animal welfare groups in our community to reduce euthanasia of animals as a means of population control.
Our high volume, spay, and neuter clinic perform more than 6,000 surgeries per year, which continues to reduce the number of animals entering the shelters in Manatee County. Low-cost / no-cost spay and neuter surgeries and free vaccine clinics continue to be a core program in our veterinary clinic.
Our shelter / Second Chance Adoption program places 600+ animals in new homes each year. Many of these animals had faced medical challenges including much-needed surgeries, heartworm treatment, or extraordinary medical care.
The HSMC Pet Food Pantry continues to distribute in excess of 13,000 pounds of cat and dog food each year to financially challenged pet owners in Manatee County. HSMC and Turning Points also collaborate on stocking a pet food pantry at the Turning Points facility.
In addition to the many low-cost or no-cost services available at our veterinary clinic, the clinic is open to the general public, offering low-to-moderate cost veterinary services. Our wellness program continues to grow and expand. We have also added dental procedures, and x-ray equipment to our services meaning more animals can receive the quality medical care they deserve.
The increased demand for high-quality, low-to-moderate cost veterinary care for cats and dogs in our community and the increasing animal population dictates that adding a third veterinarian to our medical team and expanding services are needed. In 2020-21 more than 11,000 animals were served in the veterinary clinic, including 5,834 spay and neuter surgeries.
2018 marked the third straight year that the Humane Society of Manatee County was chosen as a finalist in the Manatee County Chamber of Commerce Small Business Awards, non-profit segment. In October 2018, the Humane Society of Manatee County was selected as the Manatee Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year Non-Profit. Also in November 2020, the Humane Society of Manatee County was again rated by Charity Navigator and received a coveted 4-star rating for the fifth consecutive year. This rating clearly demonstrates the strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency to the community and donor base.