Humane Society of Sarasota County Inc
2331 15th St
Sarasota FL 34237

The Humane Society of Sarasota County provides abandoned pets with compassionate care and shelter while promoting responsible pet ownership and securing permanent homes.
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Christen Benson
Board Chair Ms. Chris Voelker
Board Chair Affiliation State Street Eating House + Cocktails
General Info
Organization DBA
Humane Society of Sarasota County, Inc.
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 1952
Awarded competitive grant from Community Foundation in the last 5 years? Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Dec 2016
State Registration Yes 0
IRS Letter of Determination
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $2,550,801.00
Projected Expenses $2,440,346.00
Impact Statement

2015 Highlights:

  • 1,441 animals were adopted and given a second chance for a happy life.

  • 787 animals were rescued and transported to HSSC from high-kill shelters in Florida.

  • 30,000 pounds of food were provided to local families in need through HSSC's Pet Pantry Program. 

  • Hundreds of pets graduated from HSSC's K-9 obedience training classes.
  • HSSC brought back its popular Humane Education and Pet Therapy programs.

In 2016, we will increase our services to the community by:

  • Opening the Animal Clinic of the Humane Society of Sarasota County. Located at 1090 North Tuttle Ave, Sarasota 34237, our full-service, low-cost veterinary clinic opened its doors on February 1, 2016. From teeth cleaning to diagnostic tests to surgery, the Animal Clinic offers quality veterinary care at an affordable price. The Animal Clinic is open to the public, and there are no income requirements. All proceeds from the Animal Clinic benefit the shelter pets of HSSC.
  • Finding homes for 1,600 abandoned and homeless dogs and cats.
  • Expanding our pet therapy program and developing additional humane education programs.
  • Enhancing our foster program to provide specialized care and socialization to pets that otherwise might not be adoptable.
  • Transporting animals into our shelter from high-kill, open-admission shelters to reduce the euthanasia rate throughout the state of Florida.
  • Continuing our partnerships with ASPCA, HSUS, and other emergency response teams to help rescue animals from puppy mills, hoarding situations, and natural disasters. 
Needs Statement

1. Animal Clinic Funders: HSSC's low-cost, full-service Animal Clinic is open to anyone seeking quality veterinary care for their pets. While Sarasota is often considered an affluent community, many residents in our area struggle to afford basic necessities. There are several low-cost vaccine clinics and spay-neuter programs in the area but none that are full-service. As the area’s largest no-kill shelter, we believe HSSC has the responsibility to serve our community and be a resource for those in need. The largest cost associated with the opening of the Animal Clinic was the purchase of medical supplies and equipment, including a digital x-ray machine, a blood work machine, and a state-of-the-art surgery suite. The cost to purchase the medical equipment and supplies alone was nearly $200,000. Naming opportunities are available for $500 - $50,000.

2. Operating Funders: We receive no state or federal funding, nor are we funded by a national humane organization. Here are some of the ways your dollars can help: $2,500 provides specialized veterinary care for a critically injured or special needs pet. $1,000 provides medical or dental services for a severely neglected pet. $500 provides food, shelter and love for 4 animals per month. $200 provides lifesaving treatment for dogs with heartworms. $100 provides supplies to foster an infant litter of puppies or kittens. Any amount provides a second chance for an animal in need.

3. Healing Hearts Funders: Our Healing Hearts Fund provides heartworm dogs a positive future. HSSC is one of the few no-kill shelters that will take on the task of healing a heartworm-positive dog. Heartworm, which is spread through mosquitoes, is very costly to treat, and many shelters are unable to afford the expense, or for space reasons, cannot hold an animal through the minimum three-week treatment protocol. Once the animal is treated and healed, it can be adopted to a loving family and lead a full and active life.

Background Statement
In the Fall of 1951, Donald Evans lost his dog. Eventually, the dog catcher caught the dog, but no one contacted Mr. Evans. His beloved dog was euthanized. Mr. Evans was so upset that he vowed to start a Humane Society to prevent this from happening to others. On the night of January 15, 1952, 70 people met at the Sunshine Kitchen and formed the new society.
The Humane Society of Sarasota County, Inc., was incorporated on February 8, 1952, and the City of Sarasota leased the current property to HSSC for $10 a year through the year 2043.
The Articles of Incorporation read, “The object of this corporation shall be to promote the welfare of all animals in Sarasota County, Florida to care for and find homes for animals, to encourage kindness toward animals and to assist in the enforcement of all laws and ordinances for the protection of animals, to operate an animal shelter for animals.
HSSC’s original kennels held 48 dogs and the shelter had room for only 6 cats. Today, HSSC has a total of 82 air-conditioned dog kennels that were newly built in 2010, and we can shelter up to 80 cats in three different rooms, two of which are free-roaming rooms. In March 2009, HSSC became a no-kill shelter, meaning no adoptable pet would be euthanized to make space for another.
In 2016, HSSC opened a low-cost, full-service Animal Clinic. From teeth cleaning to diagnostic tests to surgery, the Animal Clinic of the Humane Society of Sarasota County offers quality veterinary care at an affordable price. The Animal Clinic is open to the public, and there are no income requirements. All proceeds from the Animal Clinic benefit the Humane Society of Sarasota County.
Areas Served
Areas Served
In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
FL- Sarasota
FL- Manatee
Areas Served Comments HSSC primarily serves Sarasota County and the surrounding counties (Manatee and Charlotte) but is open to all owner-surrendered pets in need, regardless of location. HSSC also participates in special circumstance disaster relief/response efforts that may serve other areas of the state or country. HSSC partners also transport animals from high-kill shelters in bordering states, like Mississippi and Louisiana.
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Animal Related
Secondary Org Type Public & Societal Benefit
Tertiary Org Type
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President

Someone recently asked about why I donate my time as a member of the board of the Humane Society of Sarasota County. My response was quick and heartfelt - I love animals and I love Sarasota. When given an opportunity to serve both, there was only one place for me to go. I chose to support the premier animal welfare organization in the area. As with any other charitable organization, we face the financial challenges of constantly balancing the care we provide to our beloved charges, with the ever-escalating increases in expenses. To address revenue, we have recently instituted a fresh holistic program aimed at refining and improving our fundraising efforts. With regard to expenses, we’ve reviewed every line item and have made significant modifications to our management structure to insure that we are operating as efficiently and as effectively as possible, without compromising the quality care for which we are renowned. Many people are not aware that we also touch many lives beyond our doors. We educate school children so they may become responsible, kind, generous adults, and provide the elderly and infirm with a ray of sunshine through our pet therapy programs. And as of February 2016, we are now offering low-cost, high-quality veterinary care to the entire community!  The Humane Society of Sarasota County has safeguarded the companion animals in its care, served the greater community through its many outreach programs, and substantially improved the lives of those who’ve adopted new family members for more than 60 years! All of this made possible solely through generous donations. I am very proud to serve as President of the Board of Directors, and I know our future is bright because I am certain that we are a strongly proactive organization with its heart and head turned in the right direction! -Chris Voelker

Statement from the CEO/Executive Director
The Humane Society of Sarasota, Inc (HSSC) just celebrated its 64th year of service in the community. HSSC is committed to taking a proactive approach to reduce the number of homeless animals in Sarasota County. In addition to sheltering unwanted cats and dogs, HSSC offers a variety of programs designed to help owners keep their pets. HSSC is the only animal shelter in Manatee or Sarasota County to offer K-9 training classes to the public, and free behavior assistance to help keep pets out of the shelter. HSSC is also committed to teaching the importance of humane education in the community through our successful Pet Therapy and Humane Education programs. In February 2016, HSSC opened its own full-service, low-cost veterinary clinic, which offers a variety of services ranging from preventive care to surgery. HSSC is dedicated to saving lives every day.

The Humane Society of Sarasota County is dedicated to the health and welfare of each animal in our care. Our mission is to save as many animals as possible by securing them loving homes. We are the area's largest "no-kill" animal shelter, which means no adoptable animal is euthanized to make room for another.

Every animal that enters our shelter receives a full medical exam and any necessary medical treatment. We also perform spaying/neutering, micro-chipping and microchip registration, and administer vaccinations before each pet is available for adoption.
Budget $470,000
Category Animal-Related, General/Other Animal Protection & Welfare
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served General/Unspecified Families Adults
Short Term Success
In 2015, 1,441 pets were adopted to caring and loving homes.  Most of these animals required specialized medical treatment, behavior training, and general wellness care to get them ready for adoption.
Long Term Success
In the last three years alone, HSSC has helped find homes for nearly 4,000 pets.
Program Success Monitoring Program recipients are tracked via a database. Impact can be seen by tracking the reduction in intake and euthanasia rates, not only in our shelter, but in other county shelters.
Program Success Examples In 2015, 1,441 pets were adopted to caring and loving homes. Many of these animals required medical treatment, behavior training, and general wellness care to get them ready for adoption.
Description This program's intent is to improve the owner-pet relationship through group behavior training classes. These classes strengthen the bond between dogs and their owners through education and positive reinforcement. Class fees are significantly lower than other local training options.
Budget $42,000
Category Animal-Related, General/Other Animal Training
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served General/Unspecified Adults Families
Short Term Success More than 100 dogs successfully completed training courses in 2015.
Long Term Success K-9 courses help keep pets in their homes by correcting behavior problems. Courses also improve the relationship between a dog and its owner.
Program Success Monitoring A K-9 Behavior Specialist evaluates each dog that enters and completes the program.
Program Success Examples Dogs that graduate from our courses have demonstrated their ability to obey basic commands and interact positively with humans and other dogs. These skills dramatically reduce the chance that the dog will be surrendered to a shelter.
Description Volunteers play an important role in the success of the Humane Society of Sarasota County. We currently have more than 250 active volunteers who help in countless ways: from socializing and training our pets, to providing foster care, to assisting with the day-to-day operations of HSSC.
Budget $46,000
Category Animal-Related, General/Other Animal Protection & Welfare
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served General/Unspecified Adults Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Short Term Success Thanks to our volunteers, we were able to increase our presence in our community by having more offsite events, which has led to an increase in pet adoptions.  We have also created a Teen Volunteer Program for teens ages 12-15 who have an interest and passion for helping animals.
Long Term Success
Volunteers have fill the vital roles of providing enrichment and companionship to shelter canines and felines, which helps maintain the shelter pets' health and well-being while in our care.
Volunteers help potential adopters find their perfect pet. They represent the shelter and assist with offsite adoptions. In addition, they help raise necessary funds for our organization through the Doggie Bank Program, which is manned by volunteers.
Program Success Monitoring Our Community Outreach Coordinator monitors our Volunteer and Pet Therapy Programs to ensure that they run efficiently and effectively and to promote their growth. 
Program Success Examples Our Volunteer Programs continue to grow at a fast pace. We actively recruit volunteers and gain approximately 20 new volunteers every month.
HSSC's Humane Education Program promotes humane education throughout the community. Humane education is the teaching of compassion and respect as it relates to animal welfare. Such programs examine the challenges facing our planet and explore how we might live with compassion and respect for everyone.
The HSSC Humane Education Program uses the principles of the human/animal bond to provide enriching and fun lessons for children and adults. We offer a variety of effective teaching formats, including classroom visits, shelter tours, pet therapy, Reading Fur Fun, Paws for Parents, Teen Volunteer Club, and Fur Fun Summer Camp.
Budget $37,500
Category Animal-Related, General/Other
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Elderly and/or Disabled K-12 (5-19 years)
Short Term Success In 2015, HSSC focused on its youth programs. The "Fur Fun" programs continue to teach local children the importance of humane education and how that translates into their daily lives and into their community.
Long Term Success
The Humane Society of Sarasota County’s Pet Therapy Program began in 1992. Pet therapy volunteer teams have enriched lives in area nursing homes, assisted living facilities, social service agencies, schools, and libraries throughout Sarasota and Manatee Counties. HSSC's Pet Therapy Program is the most successful program to come from HSSC's focus on humane education.  
Program Success Monitoring HSSC has a full-time Community Outreach Coordinator who oversees this program to ensure its successful growth.
Program Success Examples The program continues to add new formats, including youth "Party with a Purpose" events.
Description HSSC opened its low-cost, full-service Animal Clinic in February 2016. The Animal Clinic is open to anyone seeking quality veterinary care for their pets. There are no income requirements. From teeth cleaning to diagnostic tests to surgery, the Animal Clinic offers quality veterinary care at an affordable price. All clinic proceeds benefit the Humane Society of Sarasota County.
Budget $596,846
Category Animal-Related, General/Other Veterinary Services
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served General/Unspecified
Short Term Success Local pet owners will save money while receiving exceptional vet care for their cats and dogs.
Long Term Success The Animal Clinic aims to be the area's preeminent provider of low-cost veterinary services for cats and dogs. Our goal is to make sure that local pet owners are never forced to neglect their pets' health (or surrender their pets) because they lack affordable options for vet care. In addition, the Animal Clinic will be a sustainable revenue source for HSSC.
Program Success Monitoring Success is tracked through clinic software, and patient satisfaction surveys and unsolicited reviews on social media. The clinic is managed by a full-time manager with more than 20 years of veterinary clinic experience.
Program Success Examples Since opening in February 2016, the Animal Clinic has seen more than 1,500 patients.
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Christen Benson
CEO Term Start Mar 2015
CEO/Executive Director Email
Christen Benson has been employed by the Humane Society of Sarasota County for four years. Prior to becoming Executive Director in 2015, Ms. Benson served as the organization's marketing director. She has a Bachelor's of Science in political science/political philosophy from Florida State University and more than 10 years of experience in marketing and management. Ms. Benson has led the organization towards more effective and efficient operations, and she spearheaded the opening of HSSC's full-service, low-cost veterinary clinic.
Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Ms. Kristi Dorman Apr 2012 - Mar 2015
Mrs. Deborah Millman 2001 - Dec 2011
Senior Staff
Dr. Nicolas Caceres Medical Director
Ms. Rebecca Gustafson Kennel & Medical Operations Manager
Ms. Kerry Koppin Adoptions Manager
Ms. Marilee Namaka Clinic Manager
Ms. Ryan Schauwecker Financial Manager
Ms. Autumn Steiner Development Manager
Ms. Tracy Stoddard Volunteer Manager
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 31
Part Time Staff 2
Staff Retention Rate % 68
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 0
Volunteers 250
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
HSSC collaborates with many area animal welfare and service organizations: 
Sarasota County Animal Services
Manatee County Animal Services 
The Animal Rescue Coalition
Cat Depot
The Humane Society of Manatee County
Venice Cat Coalition
Meals on Wheels
Hillsborough County Animal Services
Citrus County Animal Services
Lee County Animal Services
Polk County Animal Services
Sarasota County School Systems
Sarasota County Library System 
Satchel's Last Resort
Tender Heart Charities 
HSSC also works with out-of-area organizations:
Miami-Dade Animal Services
Arcadiana Animal Aid 
AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals)2016
External Assessments and Accreditations
Awards & Recognition
4-Star RatingCharity Navigator2016
Risk Management Provisions
Accident and Injury Coverage
Automobile Insurance
Automobile Insurance and Umbrella or Excess Insurance
Directors and Officers Policy
Employee Dishonesty
Fiduciary Liability
General Property Coverage
Medical Health Insurance
Special Event Liability
Umbrella or Excess Insurance
Workers Compensation and Employers' Liability
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government No
Fundraising Plan Yes
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan No
Strategic Plan Years
Strategic Plan Adopted 0
Management Succession Plan No
Continuity of Operations Plan Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy No
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Policies and Procedures Yes
Other Documents
Other Document 2
Document Destruction Policy
Board Chair
Board Chair Ms. Chris Voelker
Company Affiliation State Street Eating House + Cocktails
Board Term June 2016 to June 2017
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Mr. John W. Chapman Jr.The John Chapman Law Firm, PA
Mr. John Compton Norton, Hammersley, Lopez and Skokos, P.A.
Ms. Christina Crane WSRZ 107.9FM
Ms. Lisa Eldridge-Ferguson Eldridge Body Shop
Ms. Katherine Ferrara Katherine Johnson Media Enterprises
Ms. Sonia Gibson Coastal Orthopedics
Mr. Rick Gomez Northern Trust Bank
Mr. Ron Gordon Xena Vallone Realty
Ms. Kinga Huse Center for Sight
Ms. Teresa Jones Syprett, Meshad, Resnick, Lieb, Dumbaugh, Jones, Krotec & Westheimer, P.A.
Mr. Justin Leins UBS Financial Services
Mr. Brent Myers Myers & Company CPA
Mr. Ricky Perrone Perrone Construction
Mr. John Raleigh John Raleigh & Associates
Ms. Jennifer Steube Synovus Bank
Ms. Jaime Still Smile Sarasota
Dr. Pamela Tenaerts MD, MBAClinical Trials, Transformation Initiative
Dr. Thomas Trinchetto Doctors Hospital of Sarasota
Ms. Chris Voelker State Street Eating House & Cocktails
Mr. Scott Westheimer Syprett, Meshad, Resnick, Lieb, Dumbaugh, Jones, Krotec & Westheimer, P.A.
Student serving on the board through Community Youth Development? No
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 17
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 1
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 10
Female 10
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 4
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 12
Board Meeting Attendance % 69
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Standing Committees
Board Governance
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Fiscal Year Projections
Fiscal Year Begins 2016
Fiscal Year Ends 2016
Projected Revenue $2,550,801.00
Projected Expenses $2,440,346.00
Total Projected Revenue includes "in-kind" contributions/ donations Yes
Organization has Endowment No
Capital Campaign
In a Capital Campaign Yes
Campaign Purpose To purchase the medical equipment and supplies for the Animal Clinic of the Humane Society of Sarasota County
Campaign Goal $200,000.00
Campaign Dates Feb 2016 to Dec 2016
Amount Raised To Date 47000 as of June 2016
Anticipate Campaign within 5 years? Yes
Historical Financial Review
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201420132012
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions$4,369,721$846,015$1,287,332
Investment Income, Net of Losses$1,129,650$294,220$140,680
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$214,734$100,139$106,025
Revenue In-Kind$2,187,841$0$0
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201420132012
Program Expense$1,117,848$1,144,097$1,107,035
Administration Expense$124,837$108,500$167,801
Fundraising Expense$95,444$83,893$69,397
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses4.451.061.19
Program Expense/Total Expenses84%86%82%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue2%9%5%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201420132012
Total Assets$11,826,427$7,749,703$7,293,469
Current Assets$3,171,893$6,396,057$5,947,055
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$80,553$58,536$54,460
Total Net Assets$11,745,874$7,691,167$7,239,009
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201420132012
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $4,369,721Contributions, gifts, grants $846,015Contributions, gifts, grants $1,287,332
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountInvestment Income $1,129,650Investment Income $294,220Investment income $140,680
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFundraising $214,734Fundraising $100,139Fundraising $106,025
CEO/Executive Director Compensation $75,001 - $100,000
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities39.38109.27109.20
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Foundation
Financial figures based on IRS Form 990. Individual contributions include foundation and corporate support, as provided on Form 990. Organization did not conduct audits for 2010, 2009 or 2008 fiscal years. Reviews are included in profile.  Federal 990s for 2011 and 2012 reconcile with audited financial statements.
Nonprofit Humane Society of Sarasota County Inc
Address 2331 15th St
Sarasota, FL
Phone 941 955-4131