“Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered.” – Bob Barker of “The Price is Right”
The community of Henderson Creek In East Naples is proud to be following in Bob Barker’s footsteps, and with the help of Animal Task Force of SWFL, Inc., (ATF) nearly every home with a dog or cat has had their pets spayed or neutered. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is on a mission to promote animal welfare which includes spaying and neutering pets and providing food and education to low income neighborhoods.
Kelly Hyland and Cindy Harrold are the driving force behind ATF. “There is such a pet overpopulation problem and there’s thousands of animals killed in our local shelter every year,” explains Hyland. “If we educate children and their parents on basic animal care and spay and neuter we can help control overpopulation. That’s the goal.”
In 2010 Hyland and Harrold founded ATF along with fellow animal advocates Teri LiCastro and Bibi Barrett. They all agreed on what the mission should be so with the help of the Humane Society of Naples and the Tom Kepp Spay Neuter Fund they started their work.
Advocates for animal welfarefor many years, Hyland and Harrold decided it was time to start teaching proper animal care in the East Naples community. They explained that many families in the area find it difficult to provide even the basic necessity of food for their pets. “We feel there is a need to help them because they love their pets and they want to keep them. It just comes down to them not being able to afford to,” explains Harrold.
The trailer park community was a little skeptical at first, but once they were educated about Spay/Neuter they realized the importance of protecting their pets.
It’s always rewarding for ATF to see positive results. The trailer park manager Joe, through education, now knows exactly what to do and continues to provide great care for his dog Jeffrey.
The overall vision of Animal Task Force of SWFL is to create “a world where the human animal bond is one of respect for the very life that each creature breathes.”
“Education and awareness all starts at an early age,” adds Harrold. “If children learn and understand animal welfare and basic animal care it will carry on through their life. They learn to respect and properlycare for animals.”
“If we want this to end, it’s very important to teach the kids,” Harrold reiterates. “The children pass along the information to their parents and friends and suddenly a whole community is on the same page and proud to be taking proper care of their animals.”
Hyland and Harrold also bring donated food for the pets at Henderson Creek once a month and check to see how everyone is doing.
“The more money we can raise and the more money that’s donated to Animal Task Force of SWFL it will help us to help them because without the funds and support we can’t do what we need to do for them.” said Hyland.
The overall goal of ATF is to expand into other Naples communities and do the same for them as they have for the Henderson Creek community. Animal Task Force of SWFL is also very excited about their new relationship working with Harborside Animal Clinic.
To learn more about the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization visit their Facebook page (which has a PayPal link), Animal Task Force of SWFL, Inc. or email Animaltaskforceofswfl@yahoo.com. Donations may also be sent to: 1460 Golden Gate Pkwy. Suite #103, P.O. Box 258, Naples , FL 34105.