Orange County Animal Services team poses with recent awards won.

Orange County Animal Services Honored as Outstanding Agency of the Year

Community & Services

Peers voted for OCAS Statewide Recognition

Orange County Animal Services has been named the Outstanding Agency of the Year from the Florida Animal Protection and Advocacy Association (FAPAA).

The award highlighted the shelter’s cruelty investigations and mitigation programs, community action team, spay and neuter program, the pneumovirus outbreak response, and outreach and education initiatives. Notably, during the 2023 fiscal year, the shelter achieved a 90 percent overall live release rate and accepted more than 14,000 pets.

“For us, winning Outstanding Agency of the Year is like winning Best Picture at the Academy Awards,” said Summers. “Animal issues tend to ignite great passion, so we have to deal with a lot from that standpoint, so for us to get recognition and praise means the world to us and has sparked a great sense of pride within the entire division.”

The FAPAA also recognized two OCAS staff members and a community volunteer with awards.

Jacqueline Caraballo won Animal Control Officer of the Year. “I’m grateful to my division manager and peers who took the time to nominate me,” she said. “Dealing with bites and dangerous dogs can be challenging, so it feels nice to have a positive outcome like this.  We have an awesome enforcement operations team, and the awards validate the great work we do here.”

Monica Martinez won Supervisor of the Year award for her front-line work overseeing processing of adoption applications, pet reclaims, customer service issues and more. “It’s a great honor that fills me with such gratitude,” the front desk supervisor said. “While some people may see a job as just a paycheck, I take pride in coming to work and being able to serve my community, people and pets alike.”

The Volunteer of the Year award went to Isabella Venezio, a University of Central Florida student who created a college club at UCF called Wags for Walks. The club is for students who love animals and seek to give back to homeless dogs. Venezio partnered with Orange County Animal Shelter to raise awareness for both adoption and mental health in students and canines.

The FAPAA selection committee, comprised of peer shelter members, announced the award winners on February 24, 2024, during FAPAA’s annual training conference.

“This is the most coveted award among animal shelters in the state and the only platform on which our peers can recognize our good work,” affirmed Diane Summers, manager, Orange County Animal Services. “It’s monumental for us to have received four different recognitions from those who understand the animal welfare field best.”

For more about programs and services, go to Orange County Animal Services.

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