Concerned Citizens for Animal Welfare of Volusia County, Inc. is a 501-C-3 corporation that was founded in August 2000 by Diane Voigt & Cheryl Robel following the publication of a hard hitting article by Cal Massie in the Daytona News-Journal called "The Truth About Cats and Dogs". In this article, Cal followed Halifax Humane Society staff as they went through the shelter deciding which animals would die that day & which would live at least a little while longer.
The purpose of the article was not to sensationalize the grim task the staff faced that day & every other day as well. Its purpose was to shake the consciousness of every reader to the tragedy of pet overpopulation & the consequences of having more pets than homes where they could be placed. Desperately eager to find some solution to this problem Diane & Cheryl founded Concerned Citizens & set out to invite area veterinarians to participate in Spay Day 2000. Five veterinarians agreed to offer low-cost spay/neuters & on that September day, more than 100 animals were altered. While pleased with the success of Spay Day 2000 Diane & Cheryl realized that a long-term solution had to be found or the numbers of animals killed in our shelters was going to grow each year.
Diane & Cheryl decided to expand the Concerned Citizens core group to include Judy Molinaro, Pat Mihalic, & Michele Pari. Working with us throughout the development process was Becky Wilson (Volusia County Animal Control), Big John (Volusia County Councilman), Roy Schleicher (Volusia Council of Governments), & Mel Stack (President of the Halifax Humane Society). Veterinarians Dr. Tom Freiberg, Dr. James Buck, Dr. Sandy L’Amie & Dr. Kathleen Bartos, and many others provided greatly appreciated assistance & support.
The next step was to approach the Volusia County Animal Control Board to seek their support in coming up with a solution to the overwhelming pet overpopulation problem throughout the county. As a result, a pet overpopulation workshop was held in January 2001 & more than 50 people, representing public officials, animal control officers, veterinarians, animal rescue groups, breeders, & individuals interested in animal welfare attended. While there was more than a little disagreement about the mechanics, there was consensus that any successful solution had to have an aggressive spay/neuter component.
After months of discussions & idea sharing, the Universal Tag County-Wide Spay Neuter Program was born. Under this plan, every resident of Volusia County who had a dog or cat altered would have been eligible to receive a subsidy of up to $42 to offset the cost. The program would be funded through the sale of the universal license tags. Diane, Cheryl and Pat attended countless city and county commission meetings to try to convince all of these entities to work together for the good of the animals and their owners. After years of trying to appease all detractors of the program and to meet the unreasonable city participation quota set by the county attorney, the program finally was placed on the county council’s agenda. Because the quota was not met the merits of the program were dismissed and it failed to pass on the final vote.
Putting the disappointment of the lack of support for the Universal Tag Program behind them, the remaining members of CCFAW decided to take a new direction. They organized charity events to raise money to support a spay/neuter program that provides funding for pet owners who cannot afford to have their pets spayed or neutered and for pet adoptions and rescue.
CCFAW has become the driving force behind the movement towards a “No Kill and No More Homeless Pets Community” where no healthy animal is euthanized.
What We Do
Concerned Citizens for Animal Welfare acts as a catalyst by bringing together the right group of people who will come up with solutions to resolve animal welfare issues. Our main focus is reducing the overwhelming pet overpopulation through affordable, accessible spay and neuter programs. We also find homes for unwanted or abandoned dogs and cats; provide pet food to pet owners who cannot afford to feed their pets; provide medical services to pet owners who cannot afford veterinary care and we deal with specific aspects of any animal problem at hand. We help other rescue groups who depend on our group to take the lead in coming up with a solution for animal issues that involve government agencies and rescue operations. We contact people, organizations and government agencies to obtain the necessary approvals. We provide data & detailed information to the public, government officials, specific interest groups and the media. We make sure that the right information gets to the right people. We act as the spokesperson for all of the animal projects by responding to requests for information and setting up meetings as needed. We follow through on the project from first idea through implementation and operation.
While the animal welfare issues we espouse are those that are overriding and which have community wide impact, we also provide funding for those groups and individuals whose focus is more specific, such as spaying and neutering of companion animals to reduce animal overpopulation, animal rescue, animal adoptions, wildlife rehabilitation and free-roaming, abandoned and feral cat programs (TNR).
We maintain a network of people and organizations involved in animal welfare issues. We bring together those with like concerns so that they might work cooperatively on resolving a specific problem.
We also, organize and participate in fund raising events whose proceeds are used to support our spay and neuter funding program, animal rescue and adoptions, pet food bank and the programs of other worthwhile organizations working towards the same goal of making Volusia County and communities across America “No Kill and No More Homeless Pets Communities”.