There was a constellation of stars at the Flagler Humane Society’s 40th anniversary celebration Sunday afternoon at the Florida Agricultural Museum in Palm Coast, including Paul Renner, the future president of the Florida House and Palm Coast resident.
He has this in common with the company’s founder: he’s the kind of guy who will pull over on the freeway to save a lost person, like he apparently did on I-95 a few years ago. . As the ASPCA’s Jen Hobgood described it, that’s how he met Amy Carotenuto, the executive director of the Flagler Humane Society, when he brought the dog. Carotenuto introduced Renner to the hundred people gathered in the museum barn.
“I’m an animal lover but my wife blows me away in that category,” Renner said, “but as Amy said, in addition to our dog. We have two other young animals she’s looking after tonight , both in diapers so I won’t be here very long after talking so I can get home and help keep her sane.
Renner, who is running for re-election for his final two-year term as a House member, left the overt campaign and any hint of partisanship at the door and delivered what County Commissioner Dave Sullivan said. to be ‘the longest speech I ever heard him give. But it was about animals, land preservation and legislative achievements that made the difference in strengthening animal rights and protections, from protecting veterinarians to reporting animal abuse or the bipartisan passage of Ponce’s Law, which increased the likelihood of imprisonment for animal abusers. The law originated in a horrific case of animal abuse in Volusia County.
“I think it’s a great testament to your team’s efforts,” Renner said, “to Amy and Jen and Corinne and others who also brought these issues to our attention and kept members who weren’t from that region who hadn’t heard the informed story to get him across the finish line. Renner is now pushing for legislation that won House approval last session but failed in the Senate: to expand telemedicine allowances between vets and pets and their owners, the way telemedicine is now spreading for humans.So far, Senate resists.Senators want vet to have hands on animal .
For those who appreciate the workings of politics, Renner’s 20-minute speech shone with his earthly intelligence and sheer delight in the pragmatism of governance as he veered into a broader portrayal of the ongoing Florida Wildlife Corridor initiative. It is an ambitious effort to create a vast wildlife corridor from the south to the north of the peninsula, crossing Flagler, in order to preserve as much as possible of what remains of its natural environment.
Renner, who, echoing Gov. Ron DeSantis, has recently and sharply criticized “corporate pushes toward so-called environmental, social and governance principles,” issued the very woke notes he blistered on Sunday. while addressing the crowd at the Humane Society. : he had read the crowd as closely as he had read A land we remember.
“Think how amazing that would be,” he said of the wildlife corridor, referencing Patrick Smith’s novel about old Florida. “I think that’s the direction we want to go. If we pave the whole state, we won’t get there when we reach 30 million people, and the same goes for water quality. We must be aware of this. And so this wildlife corridor was named two sessions ago, I think. We’ve put in, I believe, 500 million, which is a big number, half a billion dollars, but we’re probably talking tens of billions of dollars to do it in total. He could have been mistaken for Joe Biden’s Interior Secretary.
Another star that shone particularly brightly at the gala, though she hasn’t been on the planet since 2007: Hanneke Frederick, the Renaissance musician, wartime nurse, travel manager, poodle breeder, tennis captain , concert impresario for the Palm Coast Civics. Association – which in the late 1970s realized that there were no care options for stray or abandoned animals in Flagler.
Johanna “Hanneke” Frederick, born in the Netherlands, was a World War II survivor whose daily job was to give blood transfusions in a hospital, and who secretly freelanced in the underground resistance to the Nazis, hiding Jewish refugees or helping downed Allied pilots return to their side. . She endured the five years of war in the Netherlands. The doctor she married in 1945 was invited to join the faculty of Harvard University’s School of Public Health, allowing Frederick to resume her previous vocation as a musician and singer by attending the New England Conservatory of Music, although she later became vice president of a travel agency.
After a few more biographical chapters and her husband Willem’s failing health, the couple moved to Palm Coast C Section in what were then the early days of the ITT Subdivision. After the death of her husband in 1977, she discovers that injured animals must be cared for at Daytona Bach. There were no local options for injured strays or for animals whose owners could no longer keep them or who had died. There were no inexpensive options for spaying and neutering animals.
“There was no pet food bank, no humane education, no punishment for animal abusers, and no rescue,” says Amy Carotenuto, executive director of the Flagler Humane Society. “But Hanneke had a vision. And luckily, she also had the tenacity to make it happen. And she had that community support.
Frederick convinced ITT to donate the 19 acres off US 1 that became the 1 Shelter Drive address of the company’s 15,000 square foot facility, and she served as the company’s first president. “Community support has been consistent throughout the 40 years,” Carotenuto said. As if to make the point, just as she spoke, Shelley Edmundson of the Tax Collector’s Office presented a contribution check for $347, the sum total of a month’s worth of tip collections at Suzanne Johnston’s offices in town. Johnston dedicates each month’s tips to a specific charity.
Carotenuto, of course, was one of the afternoon standouts in his own right. “Amy has been involved as a leader of the Flagler Humane Society for 25 years,” said Humane Society Vice President and Secretary Cathy Vogel. “She has guided us through natural disasters, animal emergencies and through every conceivable animal welfare and animal advocacy issue. And this week, not only did she have to weather the ravages of Hurricane Ian like all of us, but she also had a second operation on her arm, God bless her.
Carotenuto is no small operation. According to its 2020 tax return – the last year before the Covid disruptions – the company reported net expenses of $1.5 million, up from $1 million in 2014. Contributions and grants accounted for $436,000 in 2020 , service fees brought in $747,000, government contracts with Palm Coast, Flagler Beach, Bunnell and County brought in additional dollars.
In the expense column, the company had salaries and expenses of $768,000. The company currently has 42 employees, some full-time, some part-time, with starting salaries just pennies above the Florida minimum wage of $11 an hour. Keeping staff is therefore a challenge when Target offers a starting salary of $15 an hour.
Over the past year, the company has cared for some 6,000 animals, half of them going through the clinic for veterinary needs, the other half being housed and, in about 94% of cases, according to Kyndra Mott of the company, adopted or re-adopted. Some animals do not find a home for various reasons, including their illnesses. Staff often become attached to the animals and mourn their loss.
Mott recalls the case of a dog “a few years ago where we found out she had cancer. Sarah. The staff arranged one last outing for him. “We took her out for burgers and ice cream,” Mott said. “We gave him the best day we could give him. Everyone was there at the time of the intervention. It was hard. It was hard. But normally the reason is that they have a medical condition that we cannot treat.
On the other hand, there was Michelle, who was reported to society for the second time. The dog “had chronic eye, ear and skin problems. We thought she would never be adopted,” Mott said. “We treated her heartworms, she was adopted by this wonderful guy, and it inspired him now to be one of our volunteers, and now he’s a maintenance volunteer, fixing all the nuances in the house. ‘back. We see him about three or four times a week and visit him.
It’s not just cats and dogs. Two pigs have just been placed before the storm. There are also rabbits, guinea pigs, birds and lizards.
Society has challenges. His building was built in 2004. “We beat that building,” Carotenuto said. “Every day there’s bleach and scrubbing and lots of customers coming in, so the building is starting to show its age.” An estimate for a new roof was $90,000. The facility runs washing machines all day—those dog blankets and towels don’t clean themselves—and will need new, industrial-grade machines. There is a need for vehicle replacement. The facility’s nine air conditioners often see one unit or another fail.
But society has always had challenges. His 40 years suggest that overcoming them is nothing new. “From the bottom of my heart and his heart,” Hanneke Jevons, Frederick’s daughter, told the congregation at the gala. “I thank you all for your support and all that you have done. And I share with you an incredible love for animals. I have pet towels, I have cats, I’ve had horses, I have dogs, and my mom started it all.