PO Box 1743 | Melrose, FL 32666 | (352) 478-1444
Here is a list of many questions that we receive. They are broken down by topic and you can click a topic heading to jump to that section. Note that specific questions about a particular animal, event, adoption, or communication should not be sent to this email address.
Who is Puppy Hill Farm?
Puppy Hill Farm, Inc. is Florida a 501(c)(3) non-profit animal rescue organization, founded in 1999. Our organization is dedicated to reducing healthy euthanasia at local animal shelters by taking them out of the shelters, spaying or neutering them, give them veterinary care, vaccinations, and adopting them out to deserving people in our community.
How much does Puppy Hill Farm pay its staff?
Puppy Hill Farm is a volunteer-only organization. All of our executives and staff that you see with the animals are volunteering their time for free. Occasionally, we may hire people for special jobs to help maintain our facilities, and to pay for veterinary care for our animals.
How does Puppy Hill Farm have money to do what it does?
By and large, we rely on donations and adoption fees to keep us going. Most of our donations come from generous people from the public and from our fantastic corporate sponsors. Every year, we host a Gala to raise money. Throughout the year, we have fundraising events. We were fortunate to have received a grant from Maddie's Fund from 2003-2010, along with other rescue groups in the area, which helped us improve our facilities. We sell various things at our Melrose Adoption Facility, most of which have been donated to us from members of the community. Puppy Hill Farm is grateful for the overwhelming support that we have had from our community over the years.
How does Puppy Hill Farm spend its money?
Most of our money is spent on direct care of the animals. We have to pay for their spaying/neutering and any other medical procedures that an animal might need. Many animals that we receive have heartworm infections, and that can be expensive to treat. Also, we have to pay for routine vaccinations, monthly flea, tick and heartworm preventative medications, food, leashes, collars, blankets, bedding, and cat litter. We also have to spend money for our efforts: we need gas money to bring the animals to and from our adoption locations, repairs to our vehicles and animal housing facilities, and to purchase crates and other supplies to safely transport our animals.
Can I visit Puppy Hill Farm's shelter?
No. Due to insurance and liability reasons, we do not allow visitors on our premises.
I have to give up an animal. Can Puppy Hill Farm take it?
No. Puppy Hill Farm currently does not take animals in from the public. If you must give up an animal, we highly suggest that you put some effort into finding a good and safe home for it by contacting friends, family, and posting flyers. If all else fails, you can surrender your animal to your local county animal shelter. Please do not release your animals into the wild; they have a much better chance of survival by taking them to an animal shelter.
However, if the animal was adopted from us, we will take the animal back at no charge if you can provide proof that you obtained the animal from us. If this is the case, please bring all paperwork and medical records with you. We will only accept animals returned to us during our normal business hours.
Where do you get your animals?
Most of our animals come directly from local county animal shelters. Occasionally, we may obtain animals from local officials that have shut down puppy mills or hoarders. Many animals that we receive from shut-down puppy mills and hoarding cases are in need of extra medical attention and socialization and are a huge burden on the already struggling pet rescue community.
What type of animals do you have?
We have dogs and cats of all ages from babies to senior citizens.
How are your animals cared for?
We provide routine veterinary care, monthly flea, tick and heartworm preventative medication, the dogs get baths. All of our animals receive individual attention, and medical care if needed (for example, if they have heartworm, or need surgery for some reason).
Where do your animals live when they are not at your adoption locations?
We have a central location where our animals are free to run about and play with each other. We keep certain animals together based on their personality types. All of our dogs live inside, but have regular have access to outdoor runners. All of our cats live inside. We do not confine our animals in crates except when we are transporting them or showing them during our adoption events. Cats don't usually spend more than one week or so in the PetSmart cat room, and during that time, they are cared for on a daily basis by volunteers and PetSmart staff.
Further, we have a fantastic network of fosters that help us care for more animals. All of our fosters are members of the community who are donating their time to let our animals live in a temporary home and receive the love and attention that they deserve.
What is fostering?
Fostering is taking an animal into your home on a temporary basis and allowing it to live as a normal pet. Puppy Hill Farm pays for all of the food and supplies that are needed for the pet. Fostering a pet is a wonderful way to provide a deserving animal a temporary home, where it will receive love, exercise, and attention until we can find a "forever home". When an animal is adopted, many foster homes then bring another animal to foster.
Are your cats declawed?
Our cats are only declawed if we received them that way. Puppy Hill Farm does not declaw cats. Please read below on declawing cats.
Are your cats litter box trained?
Cats instinctually use the litter box. So if you adopt a cat or kitten and the cat knows where the litter box is located, and if it is in an easily accessible with a bit of privacy, the cat will use it without training. On very rare occasions, a cat has to be trained, but again, this is very rare.
Are your dogs housebroken?
Some of them. Many of the dogs that we receive used to be family pets and are already housebroken. Also, most of our foster families actively work on housebreaking them. Puppies, however, do not have the physical capability of “holding it” for long periods of time. The general rule of thumb is that a puppy can “hold it” for as many hours as they are months old. If you adopt a puppy, you will be responsible for housebreaking a puppy.
Some of our adults, such as those that have been rescued from puppy mills or hoarding cases, have never been housetrained. However, a dog of any age can be housebroken in a relatively short period of time with persistence, positive reinforcement, and patience. Dogs that are over 1 year old are typically very easy to train.
Many dogs that are already housebroken may have a few accidents when you adopt them and take them home. Going to a new home is a very stressful event for a dog and sometimes they might develop gastrointestinal problems (called “stress colitis”) or may urinate. That is why we suggest that you keep them on the same food that we have been using and if you are going to switch, wait some time and transition the food to a new food so there is not a shock to their digestive system. Accidents caused by stress usually resolve themselves in a few days, especially if you get your dog on a schedule of walking several times per day.
How do I learn more about a particular animal? What about their past history?
You can find information by clicking here, which will take you to our list of adoptable animals. Further, stop by and visit PetSmart in Gainesville or our Melrose adoption location, and we can talk more about the animal’s personality. Many of our animals that we have had for some time we can tell you a lot about.
As far as an Animal’s past history, many times then only thing that we know about the animal is what is written on the paperwork. Sometimes that is very little. Only the animal knows what has happened in his/ her life, however, they seem to be eager to move on and find their new best friends and leave the past behind them.
What happens if an animal at Puppy Hill Farm never gets adopted?
We are a no-kill animal shelter. Any animal that does not get adopted will spend the rest of their natural lives living on our farm in our animal sanctuary and receive all of the care and attention given to the rest of our animals. Please visit our animal sanctuary page to see some of the profiles of our permanent residents.
How do I donate to Puppy Hill Farm?
There are many ways to donate. We are constantly looking for blankets, towels, crates, dog houses, carriers, food, bowls, leashes, toys, and more. If you have any of these things, we will happily accept them during normal business hours at our PetSmart and Melrose adoption locations. Also, if you have something that you believe would sell well in our thrift shop, that will help us out tremendously.
We also accept monetary donations. Every dollar matters, even if it is just a small amount. To think about the impact of a monetary donation, consider that $10 can, for example:
• Feed a dog for about 2 weeks
We accept cash, check, and online donations click here to navigate to our donation page to learn more.
Are my donations tax-deductible?
Since we are a 501(c)(3) tax deductible organization, there is a high likelihood that your donation can be deducted from your tax return. We can provide you with an official receipt upon request. If you are unsure as to whether your donation will count towards your taxes, you should talk to your accountant or legal advisor.
I would like to volunteer with Puppy Hill Farm. What things can I do?
We are always looking for hard working and dedicated volunteers. Volunteering with Puppy Hill Farm is fun, rewarding, and you are providing a great service to the animals. Please click here to visit our page describing the volunteer process.
Can volunteering be used as community service credits for school and other things?
While we can’t speak for all organizations, we have signed many volunteer credit forms from schools, churches, and other organizations. Check with your school or organization to see if we would qualify and we are happy to sign the form for those that come in and help.
I am interested in fostering. What should I do?
Fostering is one of the most rewarding experiences and is great if you are not ready to commit to a life-long adoption of a pet. We will provide all of the food and medical care necessary. You will provide companionship, training, and a good home. Fosters are required to bring their pets to our PetSmart or Melrose locations on the weekend so they can be adopted. For more information on becoming a foster, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where can I find a list of your adoptable animals?
Our partner, PetFinder.com, allows us to list our animals for free. You can see a list of our adoptable animals by clicking here.
What things should I consider before I adopt an animal?
Remember that adopting a pet can be a 15-20 year commitment. You will be responsible for training, providing companionship, veterinary care, routine preventative medication, and supplies for your pet.
If you rent, check if there are any size, number, and breed limitations. Many landlords require a pet deposit, monthly pet fee, or both.
Make sure that you can provide adequate care for your animal. For example, professionals that may be gone for 10 hours per day should not adopt a young puppy because they have different needs than an adult. Further, if you have other pets in the household, make sure that they will be comfortable with a new animal coming into their home. We highly encourage prospective adopters to bring in their dogs to meet their prospective “new brother or sister.”
One of our senior volunteers has written an essay with more information that you can read by clicking here.
Can I take an animal home for a few days to see if I want to adopt it?
No. To obtain an animal, you are required to go through the adoption process and pay the adoption fee. We understand that things do not always work out as intended. After adoption, you can return an animal to us within three weeks for a full refund of the adoption fee. After that, even if it has been a long time, we will take back any of our adopted animals at no charge if you can furnish proof that you obtained the animal from us.
What is the adoption process?
Adopting a pet is a several stage process. First, you should come to adoption locations and find a pet, spend some time with it to get to know his/her personality, and if you have dog(s) bring them to meet the new prospective family member. Our volunteers will be happy to answer as many questions as you have and to help you handle the animal. If you decide to adopt, you then fill out an adoption application. This can then be done on-site or by using our online adoption application here. After we review your application, an adoption counselor will speak with you about the application, your home, pet care, etc. If your application is accepted, there is some additional paperwork to be filled out, and after you pay the adoption fee, you are free to take the pet home.
When you are ready to adopt, make sure that you bring a photo ID, cash or a checkbook, and if you rent, your landlord's name (or company name) and phone number.
What forms of payment do you accept for adoptions?
Currently, we only accept cash or check. We do not accept credit cards for adoptions. This is for three reasons: (1) credit card machines require a phone or internet connection, which is not feasible at PetSmart and our ouside adoption events; (2) the equipment and services to accept credit card payments over the phone are expensive; (3) all credit card services such as PayPal, Google Checkout, and credit card machines and services take an average of 3-4% as a fee from all transactions.
What are your adoption fees?
Our adoption fees are dependent on the animal. Since the adoption fees help us pay for medical and other needs of our rescues, those which have had extra medical services, such as young animals that require booster vaccinations, or animals that went through extensive heartworm treatment may have a higher adoption fee. Look out for "adoption specials", which help us find homes for hard-to-place animals or in times where there is a big infux of animals to the animal shelters. Typically, the adoption fee for a healthy adult is $100. Prices can range between $100 - $300 depending on the circumstances outlined above.
We continually have an "adopt a buddy" special for kittens, where if you adopt two kittens, the adoption fee for the second kitten is 50% off. Kittens love to have companionship of a buddy cat and this also helps us adopt more kittens during "kitten season" (see below).
Are your adoption fees negotiable?
No. Keep in mind that we do not make a profit from any adoption fees and all proceeds go back to helping another animal. If we are to bargain, for example $25 off an adoption fee, we are losing $25 that could be spent on food, medication, supplies, and other necessities for our animals still looking for a home.
What is spaying and neutering?
Spaying is removing the ovaries and usually the uterus of female animals; neutering is castrating male animals. These procedures are performed by licensed veterinarians. The University of Florida's School of Veterinary Medicine provides many of these procedures for us, as well as some of our trusted veterinarians.
Why does Puppy Hill Farm spay and neuter all of its animals?
We believe that everybody should spay and neuter their pets. Every year, tens-of-thousands of otherwise healthy and deserving animals are euthanized at local animal shelters because there are not enough people to adopt them. Dogs and cats that are intact can breed with other animals if they are let outside, which further contributes to this overpopulation.
How old does an animal have to be to be spayed and neutered?
Our veterinary partners have told us that if an animal is healthy, and of good weight, they can be spayed or neutered as early as 8 weeks of age without any negative consequences. Many veterinarians recommend that a female be spayed before they come into their first heat, because it has been suggested that doing so will reduce the risk of certain health problems such as mammary cancer later in life.
Can an animal be too old to spay or neuter?
If an animal is in good health, it can be spayed/neutered even if they are older, as determined by your veterinarian. Even older animals can experience the behavioral and health benefits associated with spaying and neutering.
What are the benefits of spaying and neutering?
Spaying and neutering has many positive benefits to you and your pet. Animals are much less likely to scent-mark (urinate) in your house. Spayed females are less likely to develop mammary, ovarian, and other cancers then intact females. Neutered males tend to be less aggressive and have lower instances of prostate cancer and other types of glandular diseases than intact males. Further, spaying and neutering reduces or eliminates the reproductive urges of the animals, lowering their stress levels. We urge you to talk to your veterinarian about the pros and cons of spaying and neutering your pets. Also, there are plenty of fantastic articles on this topic on the internet.
Won't my pet be upset?
While we can’t get into the minds of your animal, from our experience a pet does not seem to even notice that anything is “missing.” Remember that many of the traits associated with becoming a parent or “potency” are uniquely human emotions. Animals do not experience the same spectrum of emotions as people. Your spayed or neutered pet wants your love, good food, exercise and affection.
Why do government animal shelters euthanize healthy pets?
Animal shelters do not “want” to euthanize animals. The problem is complex, but overcrowded animal shelters can suffer from disease outbreaks and pose a public health risk. In many cases, there are simply too many animals to handle. Usually, if animals are not adopted within a certain period of time and the shelter is full, that is when they are at greatest risk of euthanasia. Puppy Hill Farm is committed to obtaining animals from our local shelters to help ease their burden and reduce and hopefully eliminate euthanasia.
Some animals that come to the local shelters that are badly injured, very sick, or are deemed too aggressive to be adopted are euthanized. All animals obtained from animal shelters by Puppy Hill Farm have been checked by professional animal handlers for temperament.
What is heartworm?
Heartworm is a worm that lives in the blood stream. Dogs are especially at risk for developing heartworm infection, but it has also been documented in cats. Heartworm is a very common disease in Florida and the southeast United States because of the warm weather that harbors abundant mosquito populations.
Heartworm is of the species Dirofilaria immitis and is transmitted by mosquito bites. When a mosquito bites an infected animal for a bloodmeal, they can pick up heartworms. The heartworms undergo development within the mosquito’s digestive system. When this infected mosquito bites another animal for a bloodmeal, the heartworms are then injected into the bloodstream. Once inside the animal, they take 5-6 months to grow into adults. They attach themselves with little hooks on their mouths to the blood vessels in the lungs and inside the heart and can grow to be over 6 inches long. In severe infections, an animal may die from heart failure or a worm obstructing blood vessels to the lungs (pulmonary embolism).
Treatment of an active heartworm infection is expensive and very risky to the animal. The most advanced treatment is a form of chemotherapy that uses arsenic to kill the worms. As the worms die, they break up into small pieces that circulate in the blood stream and are broken up by the body’s immune system. Animals being treated for heartworm must spend many weeks with little to no activity because there is a risk of a large piece of worm becoming lodged in the kidney, liver, lungs, and brain of the animal, which can be fatal.
All of our dogs are on monthly heartworm preventative medication, which is very effective at stopping the occurrence of the disease. All adopters must agree to provide monthly heartworm medication for the life of the animal as a contingency of adoption.
What about ticks and fleas?
Fleas and ticks are more than just pests. They can harbor disease and parasites and in some cases, directly kill an animal by draining their blood. All mammals are at risk for flea and tick infestations.
The most common flea seen on dogs and cats in the United States is actually the Cat Flea, Ctenocephalides felis. Fleas can reproduce in as little as 14 days and their cocoons (called pupae) can remain viable for months or years. Many animals develop hypersensitivity to flea bites, where a single bite can cause itching so intense that they will mutilate themselves by scratching and biting the area where they are bitten. Such “hot spots” are often accompanied by secondary bacterial infections. Also, fleas are carriers for tapeworms, and if your dog or cat swallows a flea, they can become infected with tapeworms.
Ticks are arachnids related to spiders, mites, and scorpions and females, like fleas, require blood to complete their reproductive cycle. Ticks are very dangerous and are the causative agent for Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and a host of other infections. Even during the winter, your dog or cat can pick up ticks, even if it is freezing or snowy.
All of our animals are on monthly flea and tick preventative medication. All adopters must agree to provide monthly flea and tick medication for the life of the animal as a contingency of adoption.
What is "kitten season?"
Kitten season is the colloquial term for late spring/early summer, when many stray and feral cats give birth to their young. This is an instinctual trait built-in to cats that allows mothers to raise their young in times where it is warm and more food is available. Unfortunately, with the 30,000+ stray cat population in Alachua county alone, many of these kittens die of starvation, disease, predators, and other accidents. The local animal shelters are typically packed to the brim with kittens and local rescue groups across the country are pushed to the limits to save as many kittens as possible. If you are considering adopting a kitten during late spring or the summertime, please do, because for every kitten that is adopted, that opens up another slot for us to take in another. Kitten season is a perfect example of why your pet should be spayed or neutered.
Why shouldn't my pet live outside?
There are many reasons why your pet should live inside your house. Outdoor pets are at risk of attack from wild animals, picking up diseases, being hit by cars, etc. Cats should be kept indoors for their entire lives, as letting them outside even once will increase the likelihood that they will try to escape or run away. Having a yard for your dogs to run and play is of course a wonderful thing, as long as the dogs live inside.
From tens of thousands of years of living with humans, dogs and cats have acquired a need for human companionship. A dog chained outside to a dog house is not a happy dog.
What about declawing, tail docking, and ear clipping?
We strongly discourage these procedures unless they are determined by a veterinarian to be medically necessary. Declawing of a cat is not simply removing their claws: it is literally cutting off the tips of their toes down to the knuckle. These types of mutilation can be extremely painful and can forever traumatize your pet. Also, if a declawed cat was to unfortunately escape and run away from your house, that cat would be at a severe disadvantage from defending itself from attack and would have difficulty climbing and hunting for food.
The American Veterinary Medical Association has called for an end to ear clipping, tail docking and other unnecessarily elective surgical procedures and has even went so far as to petition the AKC and other purebred organizations to change their breed standards. It is not uncommon these days to find veterinarians that will refuse to do these procedures unless they are medically necessary.
What should I do if I suspect someone is abusing animals, hoarding, running a puppy mill, and other things?
If you suspect that animals are being abused, please contact your local animal control or police so that they may investigate the situation. You may very well save an animal or group of animals from a life of misery, loneliness, and torture.
Please help us save lives….one life at a time.
Copyright (c) 2006 - 2011 Puppy Hill Farm Animal Rescue, Inc.