Animal lovers rejoice, a new UCF RSO: Don’t Shop, Adopt, is an organization making a difference in the Orlando animal community.

Don’t Shop, Adopt focuses on helping the lives of stray and shelter pets in the Orlando area. Their mission statement is “to provide help to homeless animals in need and raise awareness on domestic animal issues.”

“Don’t Shop, Adopt is a group of students that believe in rescuing and helping animals that no one gives a second chance to,” said President of Don’t Shop, Adopt, Amanda Trompeta.

“The main three things for us are volunteering, fundraising, and education,” explained Trompeta.

This club ultimately does many fundraising activities and gives the money to different animal cases that need support. For example, last semester they saved many death row dogs by paying their “bail out fee” which allowed the dogs to live and find a good home.

Don't Shop, Adopt outside a local pet rescue center
Don’t Shop, Adopt outside a local pet rescue center

“We recently had Orlando Bully Rescue come to our last meeting and we hosted a food drive for them. We ended up raising around 198 pounds of food and a $30 dollar Petco gift card that UCF students donated,” said Vice-President Julie Deslauriers.

Trompeta and Deslauriers both have a passion for helping animals and are pre-veterinary majors.

This semester a lot of their fundraising money has been put towards helping feral cats. The stray cat population increases very quickly due to the high amount of stray/feral cats out there. Don’t Shop, Adopt puts money towards spaying/neutering cats. If you are interested in this cause, they have a gofundme page for donations.

Another big goal this organization has is educating college students on being responsible pet owners.

Don’t Shop, Adopt also focuses on the adoption of animals at kill shelters. Deslauriers explained to KnightNews that volunteers are lacking in kill shelters due to the fact that so many people are against them.

“The way it works is that because it is a government shelter, by law they can’t ever deny any animal,” explained Trompeta. “They have an average of 53 dogs and cats being dropped off every day. Once they reach the cage limit, they have to keep taking in animals so for the ones that have been there the longest, there’s nowhere to take them.”

“People just think that animals that end up in shelters are the bad, misbehaved animals but a lot of times they’re just puppies that were born in the shelters or kittens that people found. It’s a way to save money but also a way to prevent animals from being put to sleep,” said Deslauriers.

Last semester, this organization rescued 28 animals, volunteered a total of 238 hours, and fundraised over $200. They hope to exceed these numbers this semester as it is their first semester as a registered student organization. By the end of fall 2014, they hope to have rescued at least 40 more animals.

The total number of animals they’ve rescued is 54 and counting.

One of their goals this semester is to fund raise for In Harmony With Nature, a 501 c(3) wolf sanctuary. There’s only two in the state of Florida. Don’t Shop, Adopt is working to fundraise for this charity organization to help keep their land.

“I just want to make sure that it’s known that this is not just another club,” said Trompeta. “This is such a real, daily thing. It’s really easy to read it on the newspaper, to see people reading about it and say it’s so sad but it’s such a daily problem.”

If you are interested in joining this organization, make sure to join their Facebook group. On this group, there is a membership application to fill out and submit under the files tab. This organization is not charging dues for the fall semester.

The meetings occur every other Monday from 3-4 in room 220 of the Student Union. Everyone is welcome to join. Deslauriers wants everyone to know that even if they cannot attend the meeting, there are many other events, such as volunteering and tabling, that members can attend to be a part of the club.

For more information on Don’t Shop, Adopt check out their Facebook page.

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