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


As the area’s premier no-kill shelter, the Humane Society of Sarasota County engages the hearts, hands, and minds of the community to help animals.

CEO/Executive Director Ms. Christen Cleary Benson
Board Chair Mr. John Raleigh
Board Chair Affiliation Raleigh & Associates
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 2018
State Registration Yes 0
Financial Summary
Note: Revenue includes the value of in-kind contributions/donations
IRS Letter of Determination
IRS Letter of DeterminationView
Impact Statement

2017 Highlights:

  1. Placed 1,521 animals (1,081 dogs and 440 cats) in loving homes; transported 912 animals from high-kill shelters in Florida; assisted with local and national relief efforts by taking in over 50 animals in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria; treated 107 dogs for heartworm disease; performed more than 1,088 surgeries on shelter pets, including spay/neuter and dentals.
  2. Continued our "Fureign Exchange" Program with Sarasota County Animal Services, helping to find homes for 17 hard-to-adopt dogs.
  3. Treated 4,700 unique patients at the Animal Clinic of the Humane Society of Sarasota County.
  4. Participated in more than 60 community outreach events; enrolled 175 owned dogs in our affordable K-9 Obedience Training Course; distributed over 5,000 pounds of pet food to local pet owners facing financial difficulties.
  5. Grew our Pet Therapy Program to 70 teams and over 70 sites; hosted over 100 children ages 6-11 at our Fur Fun Camps; added 40 Teen Club volunteers.

In 2018, we will increase our services to the community by:

  1. Finding homes for 1,550 abandoned and homeless dogs and cats.
  2. Booking 12,960 appointments at the Animal Clinic, providing everything from routine care and vaccines to dentistry and orthopedic surgery.
  3. Training 350 new volunteers.
  4. Adding 36 new Pet Therapy teams and developing additional humane education programs.
  5. Enhancing our foster program to provide specialized care and socialization to pets that otherwise might not be adoptable.
Needs Statement

1. Operational Support

HSSC receives no state or federal funding, nor are we funded by a national humane organization. There are up to 200 animals in the shelter at any given time.
  • $5,000 funds HSSC's emergency response efforts by providing transport services and emergency medical care for at least 20 pets coming from emergency situations.
  • $2,500 provides specialized veterinary care for 1 critically injured or special needs pet that would likely be euthanized elsewhere.
  • $1,000 provides medical and dental services to treat 1 severely neglected pet and prepare it for adoption.
  • $500 provides food, shelter, and care for 4 shelter animals per month.
  • $250 funds lifesaving treatment for 1 dog suffering from heartworm disease, which very few shelters treat.
  • $100 provides supplies to foster an infant litter of puppies or kittens.
2. Animal Clinic Emergency Medical Fund
HSSC's low-cost, affordable Animal Clinic is open to anyone seeking quality veterinary care for their pets. Since opening in February 2016, the Animal Clinic of HSSC has seen over 10,000 appointments. The state-of-the-art facility provides complete veterinary services for cats and dogs: preventive care, spay/neuter, dentistry, diagnostics, orthopedic surgery, laser treatment, and more. All proceeds benefit the shelter. HSSC retains an discretionary Emergency Medical Fund for owners who are unable to afford the life-saving care their pets need. Donations from $250 - $50,000. 
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 can shelter up to 120 dogs, 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 an affordable, full-service Animal Clinic. From dentistry to diagnostics 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
FL- Charlotte
FL- Lee
Areas Served Comments HSSC primarily serves Sarasota County and the neighboring counties (Manatee, Charlotte, and Lee) 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 occasionally receives animals from high-kill shelters in neighboring 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

I truly believe that HSSC is the area's premier animal welfare organization. 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 are constantly refining and improving our fundraising efforts. With regard to expenses, we’ve review every line item 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 have operated an affordable, high-quality veterinary clinic open 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 65 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! 

Statement from the CEO/Executive Director
The Humane Society of Sarasota (HSSC) just celebrated its 65th 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, affordable 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 goal is to save as many animals as possible by securing them loving homes. We are the area's premier "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 $42,588
Category Animal-Related, General/Other Animal Protection & Welfare
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served General/Unspecified Families Adults
Short Term Success
Adoptions bring joy to the human and animal halves of the equation. HSSC hopes to make 1,550 joyful matches in 2018. We regularly receive "Happy Tails," which are stories from adopters telling us how their new family members are doing and expressing their joy.
Long Term Success
In the last four years alone, HSSC has helped find homes for over 5,500 pets. When the match is successful and the animal stays with its adopter for the rest of its life, there is no more beautiful outcome.
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 2017, 1,521 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 HSSC opened its affordable, 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 basic care to dentistry, diagnostics, orthopedic surgery, and laser treatment, the Animal Clinic offers quality veterinary care at an affordable price. All Animal Clinic proceeds benefit the Humane Society of Sarasota County.
Budget $1,441,729
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. In 2018, we expect to book 12,960 appointments.
Long Term Success The Animal Clinic aims to be the area's preeminent provider of affordable 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 Animal Clinic is managed by a full-time manager with more than 20 years of veterinary clinic experience.
Program Success Examples In its two years of operations, the Animal Clinic has served over 4,700 unique patients. The Animal Clinic has been able to provide a variety of specialized services to the public, including an emergency c-section on a pregnant dog, foreign object removals, and orthopedic surgery. In 2017, another full-time veterinarian was hired to keep up with the demand for appointments.
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, Teen Volunteer Club, and Fur Fun Summer Camp.
Our Pet Therapy Teams play a vital role in raising community awareness of the many joys of responsible pet ownership. The soothing effects of touching and communicating with animals should be available to everyone faced with challenges.
Budget $4,600
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
Interacting with animals enriches the lives of children and adults. HSSC's Humane Education programs help the youngest members of society to form respectful attitudes towards animals. By teaching how to correctly approach a dog, for instance, HSSC's Humane Education programs help reduce fear of animals and plant the seeds of positive animal/human relationships for life.
For children struggling to read, a dog is a non-judgmental audience. By bringing trained therapy pets to local schools and programs, HSSC gives children a chance to practice their reading skills by reading to dogs. Children in the programs gain confidence and improve their reading skills
The benefits of Pet Therapy visits are immediate: joy, distraction from pain and worry, and a sense of comfort. Our trained Pet Therapy teams visit over 70 sites in the Sarasota area, providing respite to the sickest and loneliest members of society. 
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 County. 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 HSSC's "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. We offered 7 weeks of Summer Camp for children 7-12, plus a two-day Spring Break Camp, made Humane Education visits to local schools and clubs, and grew our Pet Therapy program to 70 teams visiting over 70 sites.
Description HSSC's Kennel Program is responsible for the overall care of the animals in the shelter--an average of 150-200 at any given time--from intake until adoption. Upon intake, every animal receives a medical examination by a veterinarian. All necessary vaccines are administered, and the animal is spayed/neutered and microchipped if it was not already. Routine care includes daily feeding, administering preventives and medications, grooming, exercise, and enrichment. HSSC is a limited-admission, no-kill facility. There is no time limit for animals in HSSC's care, although the staff makes every effort to find the animals homes once the veterinarian deems them ready for adoption. HSSC regularly takes in animals that would likely be euthanized at other shelters, including animals with treatable-but-time-intensive conditions like ringworm, heartworm disease, and anxiety. 
Budget $145,873
Category Animal-Related, General/Other Animal-Related, General/Other
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served General/Unspecified
Short Term Success The benchmark of short-term success is the live release rate. In 2016, HSSC's live release rate was 96%. As a limited-admission, no-kill shelter, HSSC never euthanizes an animal just to make space. Every animal that comes to HSSC and is adopted is a success. While the intake allotment is determined by a variety of factors, every animal who gets adopted makes room for another animal to take its place. By that logic, HSSC hopes to bring in at least 1,550 homeless dogs and cats in 2018.
Long Term Success The sustained welfare of HSSC's dogs and cats is the Kennel Program's highest priority. Every animal who comes into the shelter healthy and stays that way until adoption is a success. Likewise, every animal who comes to the shelter with ailments--both physical and behavioral--and leaves the shelter in improved condition is also a success. Our goal is to reduce the barriers to adoption and increase retention by establishing good baseline health for all animals in our care. There are thousands of HSSC alumni animals throughout the state, with others scattered around the country, who are living happy lives with their 'furever' families.
Program Success Monitoring The Kennel Program is very carefully monitored. The entire animal population is tracked in PetPoint shelter management system. The Kennel & Medical Operations Manager works in conjunction with the Medical Director to oversee the care of all animals in the shelter, as well as those in offsite situations (e.g., with HSSC foster volunteers). Staff follow explicit SOPs to protect the health of the pet population and to make sure that intakes never exceed shelter capacity. Animal data are reported to Florida Animal Shelter Census, Asilomar, and Shelter Animals Count each month. Data are reviewed by the Executive Director and the Board of Directors each month. Data are published on the HSSC website for transparency.
Program Success Examples Our Kennel Program excels at taking in and rehabilitating difficult cases, including animals from hoarding situations that are transported to HSSC by partners both in and out of Florida. In 2017, HSSC accepted 1,408 animals (912 from in state transfers, 496 from out of state transfer). These are animals from overcrowded, high-kill shelters where their days were numbered. 
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 $4,750
Category Animal-Related, General/Other Animal Training
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served General/Unspecified Adults Families
Short Term Success HSSC hopes to enroll 180 dogs in K-9 training courses throughout 2018.
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. More than 185 dogs participated in HSSC's K-9 Obedience Training Courses in 2017.
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Christen Cleary Benson
CEO Term Start Mar 2015
CEO/Executive Director Email
Christen Benson has been employed by the Humane Society of Sarasota County for six 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 over 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 affordable, full-service 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. Marilee Namaka Clinic Manager
Ms. Ryan Schauwecker Financial Manager
Ms. Autumn Steiner Development Manager
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 35
Part Time Staff 3
Staff Retention Rate % 90
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 2
Volunteers 480
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 Sheriff's Office 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
Acadiana Animal Aid 
External Assessments and Accreditations
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 Yes
Strategic Plan No
Strategic Plan Years
Strategic Plan Adopted 0
Management Succession Plan Yes
Continuity of Operations Plan Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy No
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Policies and Procedures Yes
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. John Raleigh
Company Affiliation Raleigh & Associates
Board Term June 2017 to June 2019
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Ms. Lisa Eldridge-Ferguson Eldridge Body Shop
Ms. Katherine Ferrara Katherine Johnson Media Enterprises
Ms. Sonia Gibson Coastal Orthopedics
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
Ms. Julia Montei Coldwell Banker Resiedntial Real Estate
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. Thomas Trinchetto MDDoctors Hospital of Sarasota
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 13
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 5
Female 8
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 4
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 11
Board Meeting Attendance % 76
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
Advisory Board / Advisory Council
Current Year Projections
Tax Year Start Month Jan
Tax Year Start Day 01
Tax Year Begins 2018
Tax Year End Month Dec
Tax Year End Day 31
Tax Year Ends 2018
Projected Revenue $3,244,110.00
Projected Expenses $3,194,166.00
Total Projected Revenue includes "in-kind" contributions/ donations Yes
Organization has Endowment No
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign No
Anticipate Campaign within 5 years? Yes
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
IRS Form 990s
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 Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions$1,497,198$1,143,224$4,369,721
Investment Income, Net of Losses$276,878$255,863$1,129,650
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$169,399$171,452$214,734
Revenue In-Kind$5,965$286,808$2,187,841
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$2,042,365$1,274,904$1,117,848
Administration Expense$147,531$163,450$124,837
Fundraising Expense$97,029$122,566$95,444
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.241.454.45
Program Expense/Total Expenses89%82%84%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue6%9%2%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$13,308,261$12,086,985$11,826,427
Current Assets$2,680,701$2,184,941$3,171,893
Long-Term Liabilities$257,769$0$0
Current Liabilities$206,527$112,323$80,553
Total Net Assets$12,843,965$11,974,662$11,745,874
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $1,497,198Contributions, gifts, grants $1,143,224Contributions, gifts, grants $4,369,721
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountClinic Services $550,407BP Settlement $460,967Investment Income $1,129,650
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountInvestment Income $276,878Investment Income $255,863Fundraising $214,734
CEO/Executive Director Compensation $75,001 - $100,000
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities12.9819.4539.38
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets2%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 34237
Phone 941 955-4131