Brevard County Grants Permits To Begin Construction Of First Sanctuary For Domestic Animals
By Space Coast Daily // October 21, 2016
BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA, FLORIDA – Katherine Johnson, founder of Friends for Animals Sanctuary (FFAS) has announced that Brevard County has granted long-awaited permits to begin constructin of the county’s first sanctuary for domestic animals.
“This has been a long process, a labor of love,” Johnson said. “Now, we can focus on converting 17 acres of Florida brush land into a first class campus designed to give animals the best opportunity to find their forever homes.”
Johnson formed Friends for Animals Sanctuary in 2011 and has worked tirelessly with volunteers, business people ad donors to raise funds for the sanctuary.
“The volunteers who work with us are the best people on earth,” Johnson said.
“They’re some of the most dedicated people I’ve ever known, each one brings different talents to the table. They know the most generous business owners who are open to hosting some of the most successful fundraisers. We’ve had tremendous community support, too, and amazing private donations.”
While awaiting permitting approval for construction, FFAS created foster programs for cats and dogs and has placed hundreds of pets with loving families.
Johnson said the sanctuary property came with a cow, horses and a donkey named Jessie.
“Jessie is a sweet little donkey who loves visitors. We’re really excited to be able to start the construction phase, so more people will be able to visit the campus and meet Jessie.”
FFAS plans to involve Brevard County’s youth who will learn age-appropriate animal care.
The Sanctuary will offer opportunities for scouts interested in earning husbandry and camping badges as well as field trips and summer day camps. Johnson is currently working with area teachers to develop materials that can be incorporated in their curriculum.
Other programs at the Sanctuary will include a special senior adoption program where older dogs will be placed with senior adults and Paws for Heroes, where specially trained dogs and military veterans will be paired up. Johnson said veterans with PTSD will be particularly considered for this program.
“Our primary focus is to save as many animals as we can, but if what we’re doing can help our veterans or senior citizens, then we’ve made a bigger impact,” Johnson said. “Once the campus has been built, we’ll be able to touch multiple generations in addition to lightening the load on our county’s two animal shelters.”
Eleven buildings will house domestic animals in family-group settings appropriate for each species. Ferrets, rabbits and guinea pigs will reside in The Hangout while cats will live in the Kitty Cabana or the Feral Forest.
Dogs will live in bungalows that allow them to live and play in comfort and safety. Stables and open range will be available for horses, cows, pigs, donkeys, sheep and goats.
Animals that have been abused or neglected will receive special care and treatment.
“We’ll also have a veterinary clinic on site, as well as administrative offices,” Johnson said. “Unfortunately, our fundraising work is just beginning.
We’ll always be raising money for the sanctuary. As a nonprofit organization, we’ll always rely on our community and if their past generosity is any indication, Brevard County’s animals won’t have to live in shelters for long.”
Tax deductible donations may be sent to FFAS, 5000 N. Wickham Rd., Suite 110, Melbourne, FL 32940.
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