Our mission at St Francis

St. Francis Society Animal Rescue is an all volunteer, non-profit 501-c-3 animal rescue organization dedicated to saving the lives of sick, injured, and stray domestic animals as well as spaying/neutering and medical services for those animals. We seek to place animals in a loving foster or permanent home after recovery and we DO NOT euthanize unless terminal illness necessitates such a decision. All of our animals are spayed/neutered, tested for leukemia/FIV, wormed and vaccinated  before they are adopted.

Why We Chose the Name St. Francis

Poorly dressed in rough brown cloth, a little thin man felt compassion for the smallest of God's creatures. He brought safety to worms he found in the middle of the road by gently picking them up and placing them on the side of the road. St. Francis of Assissi chose to live in poverty, while rejoicing in the world's natural beauty. Joyfully praising "Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Brother Fire and Sister Water" thru his poetry. Even more, he loved living creatures; teaching that all should be generous to animals and birds. Throughout his travels, St. Francis spoke of God's great love and care for his companion animals. During a long winter travel, he brought honey to the bees, exchanged his cloak to a butcher in return for two lambs - to save them from slaughter. He urged people to throw out grain for the birds, and was seen throwing freshly caught fish back in the water. He was loved and followed by many pet animals; lambs, rabbits, and pheasants, among them. Today, we celebrate the "Feast of St. Francis" on October 4th. Across the world, a Blessing of the Animals is held on this day.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Kathy - President

Cat Care Coordinator

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Kathy has been volunteering with St. Francis Society since 2004. She became St. Francis Society’s Cat Care Coordinator in 2004 and was elected as Vice President in 2010. Kathy moved to Tampa in the fall of 1988 from Omaha, Nebraska with her daughter and family dog in tow. She has been rescuing animals as long as she can remember, and it seems she has an invisible welcome sign on her door. Kathy began her work with St. Francis Society in 2004, when she saw a dog running along the fence of the airport on busy Hillsborough Avenue. She was on her way to meet with a client and called her boss to say she would be late and please make her apologies. Fortunately, her boss was an animal lover too. Her veterinarian suggested she try St. Francis Society for help in placing the dog. She joined the organization soon thereafter, working the adoption center and kenneling. Because of her dedication and commitment, she quickly moved into the Cat Care Coordinator position. She has built a cat team of which she is tremendously proud, and other rescue groups and shelters aspire to duplicate. Kathy is trained in disaster rescue and relief with the Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS) and has completed several Red Cross animal first aid courses. She is on the board of Tampapets – No More Homeless Pets Hillsborough County, a coalition of rescue groups and individuals working together to end euthanasia as a primary means of pet population control. She also works at the Animal Coalition of Tampa, a low-cost spay and neuter clinic dedicated to providing non-lethal solutions to animal overpopulation in our community. Her employment is a symbiotic relationship for Kathy, as it fits with the mission of St. Francis Animal Rescue and her desire to see every animal in a safe environment, healthy and loved. Kathy shares her home with a band of rescue misfits that no one else wanted. One is blind, two are neurotic, and others are just special in their own ways. For whatever reason, they all require tenderness and lots of patience and love.


Jim - Vice President

Adoption Center Director, Website Administrator

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Jim works as a software developer/tester. He began “officially” working with animal rescue in the summer of 2005 although he rescued and found homes for several cats prior to his exposure to St Francis. He has a great love for all animals but feels a special connection to cats. Jim also cares for several feral cat groups and hopes to someday establish a sanctuary for feral and stray cats. Jim and his wife Paula share their home with 5 cats and a dog, all are rescues.


Lisa - Treasurer

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Lisa is a life-long animal lover and has never known life without the company of a cat (or several).  After moving from upstate New York to Tampa, she was shocked to learn of the staggering number of feral cats in the area.  She began helping with TNR efforts and eventually, her passion for animals led to nine years at The Humane Society of Tampa Bay working in administration and grant writing.  After leaving the Humane Society, Lisa was quick to join St. Francis volunteering to help the homeless cats and kittens in our area.  Lisa and her husband share their home with three rescue cats and one rescue dog.
 

Kristina - Director

Volunteer Coordinator

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Kristina has been involved with St Francis Society Animal Rescue for several years. She started as a volunteer in the Citrus Park PetSmart Adoption Center. She now serves as the volunteer coordinator as well as still actively working in the Adoption Center. She joined the board in 2011. Born and raised in Tampa, she graduated from the Academy of the Holy Names and the University of South Florida. A lifelong animal lover, Kristina has two rescue dogs and three rescue cats of her own.


Gail - Director

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Gail Ambler grew up with an animal loving family and can never remember not having cats, dogs, birds, gerbils, etc. in their home. She transferred from Boston to Tampa with her company traveling with her 3 cats. All rescues, of course. Shortly after arriving, was shocked to find so many homeless cats in the tampa area and started taking them in, getting them fixed, etc. until she had amassed 28 cats and then finally found a no kill shelter. It was in Pinellas county and so she started volunteering with them, mostly fostering cats and sometimes helping with the chores at the kennels. This gave her an in to help find homes (other than her own) for other cats and dogs found wandering in parking lots , etc. She met Kathy, the cat care coordinator, in the spring of 2005 when Kathy came to a neighbors house to help with a rescued cat. She decided to switch allegiance to st. francis at that time and has been happy to be associated with such a wonderful organization. She currently shares her home with 8 cats, several unadoptable fosters and one stray chihuahua she rescued.


Patti - Director

Dog Care Coordinator

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I have been fostering multiple Dogs for St. Francis since 2006 and I am the head of the Dog team. I currently own two (former foster) dogs and three feral cats of my own.

Laura - Director

Brandon Adoption Coordinator

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I have always loved animals of all kinds, and I used to bring home all kinds. As an adult, that did not change. It was not a surprise to my friends and family when I moved to a condo and found cats in need. Soon I found myself trapping and having kittys fixed. I found St Francis and loved what the work they did and what thay stood for. I have never looked back. It gives me great satisfaction to take in kttens or a cat, nurse them, love them and watch as a happy family takes home their newest family member. Rescue is not for the faint of heart, but it is all about love of animals. People can take care of themselves, these thrown away and abandoned animals have no recourse unless someone steps up and helps.


Larry - Director

TNR, FOSTER, ADOPTION SPECIALIST

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I have been a volunteer for St. Francis for approximately three years.    I am a graduate from University of South Florida and I have a Master degree in Rehabilitation Counseling.  I recently retired from a 30 year career where I worked with  individuals who have disabilities and assist them to return to gainful employment.    I am an advocate for animal welfare and I stay healthy in order to have the physical stamina to assist animals in need.   


Heidi - Director

Petco Adoption Coordinator

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To say that felines have been in Heidi's blood since she was a young child would be an under statement. Throughout her life she always had multiple felines, all of them rescued from one bad situation or another. Heidi gives credit to her Mother for instilling in her a great compassion for all living things. Life is so very fragile, says Heidi, and there are so many that need a voice. Moving to Florida in 2002 afforded Heidi to really see what a desperate situation the community felines were facing. That is when her volunteer work really blossomed in the Tampa rescue community. And this is what eventually led her to St Francis Society Animal Rescue, which is one of the premier rescue organizations in the area. Currently Heidi resides with several rescue felines. She'll never own up to the actual number, but they are all deeply loved and cared for. She specializes more in the special needs and senior cats, because she knows that these are the ones that need her the most. Many of the cats that Heidi fosters may never move on to be adopted, but thats ok with her. It's all about the care and the quality of their lives, "they give so much back, and unconditionally so". Heidi also coordinates the Carrollwood Petco adoption center on Sundays of each weekend.



ADMINISTRATION

Kristen

Grant Coordinator

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Kristen Gilpin is a long-time Tampa resident and advocate for local animal, art and historical charities where she serves on several Boards, coordinates projects and writes grants. Professionally, she is the Coordinator at MOSI Outside, overseeing the BioWorks Butterfly Garden, Historic Tree Grove and Backwoods Forest Preserve for over 17 years. Kristen is passionate about the work of St Francis Society, working to reduce the population of feral cats through spay and neuter programs or finding homes for animals that can be socialized.



We Need Your Help...

St. Francis starts where others stop. We don't kill animals. We find loving homes for the unwanted, abused, abandoned and sick/injured animals in our community. We can't continue our mission without your help! We desperately need foster homes for cats and dogs and donations to help with vet bills for these animals. Please help today! You can:

Volunteer with us!

Fill out a Volunteer Application Form online. Get involved TODAY! It's a great way to meet other animal loving people just like yourself!