MARGATE, Fla. – There are hundreds of animal rescue groups and shelters all over South Florida.
Most are nonprofit organizations that aim for a “no-kill” status as they save and adopt out pets, and one special shelter is saying yes to the homeless animals that can be quite hard to home.
Adriano Menezes is a 13-year-old logging in a lot of his free time at the Margate rescue shelter.
“Usually I arrive at 1, and I help people with forms and I help them with adoption and I show them cats,” he told Local 10 News.
Adriano is an eighth grader with 120 volunteer hours on his chart in less than a year. His passion is palpable!
“I always stop to pet dogs and I always talk to cats. I love, love, love, love animals!” he said.
He found his way to the United for Animals Rescue by way of his mom’s heart, and he is one of the eight volunteers who give their time for free, helping to save and hopefully home these many animals.
“We don’t receive a single dollar from the government. We rely on volunteers and donations and the adoptions, so that’s how we survive,” said Rene Menezes, of UFAR.
The shelter has many animals, as it is a no-kill shelter, which means they don’t give up on any of these little lives.
“That’s why people always bring their animals here, that’s why we’re so full, because they know we’re not going to kill them -- we’re not going to do it,” Menezes said.
The bulk of the animals at the shelter are cats, many of who have been at the shelter for far too long, like Zuza, who has been there for all eight years of her life.
But UFAR goes far when it comes to saying yes to saving the sick, and that comes at a price.
“The financial, that’s the worst part, because sometimes we have cats and dogs that really need veterinary care,” Menezes said. “That’s why we opened the low-cost clinic, so now we have the veterinarian here and we help the community doing the low-cost service, and that helps us too.”
As for Adriano, he has high school on the horizon, which includes more time with the animals at this over-crowded shelter in a little strip mall you probably never even noticed.
But this won’t be the only place he saves animals.
“My career -- I plan to be a criminal lawyer, but definitely some animal cruelty cases I see in my future,” he said.
All rescues ask for and exist on donations. That’s what makes them a nonprofit. But instead of just money, UFAR could really use other donations, as well, like cat food, puppy milk, towels, pee pads and kitty litter, to name just a few.