Happy Tails: Humane Society of St. Lucie County Makes a Fresh Start

Mar 17, 2020

Ronnie Piccolo and Cynthia Riesgo with "Mo"
Credit Tania Ortega-Cowan

(sound of Siamese cat)

That’s the distinct voice of a friendly and curious Siamese cat we met at the newly re-organized Humane Society of St. Lucie County at Glades Cut-Off Road in Port St. Lucie.

The shelter has seen its share of tragedy and controversy. But in January, they got a second chance when Port St. Lucie county commissioners voted to approve a ‘fresh start’ contract with the shelter that includes government oversight and brand-new leadership.

CR: It’s been a long road. We have a wonderful board now. We have wonderful staff members and volunteers.   

We stopped by to meet with…

CR: Cynthia Riesgo. I am board member at Humane Society of St Lucie County and also the animal behaviorist trainer here at the shelter.

And Ronnie Piccolo, who wants us to know they have many dogs and cats who need homes.

RP: I am Ronnie Piccolo. I’m a volunteer. I take the pictures and do the comments and the videos for the doggies for our website. If it’s a lap dog, I am going to say it’s a lap dog. If it’s an active dog, I am going to say it’s an active dog. I just want the dog not to come back. I want a perfect marriage! 

Picollo has volunteered at shelters for 20 years.

RP: It is an absolute passion. It truly is. Every time a dog walks out the door it’s a victory. Especially when the tail is wagging… The last thing you see is a waggy tail that goes out the door. It’s just… it’s a passion.

They give us a tour. It’s clean, bright, spacious. The sound you hear are numerous fans blowing to keep the air circulating comfortably in the dog kennel area.

CR: This is our east quarantine location.

When animals first arrive, they are put into quarantine. They also receive medical treatment and behavioral training if they need it.

(dogs barking)

CR: This is our west side… We have 48 kennels all together. As you see everybody’s comfy cozy with blankets and full waters and food. We have a system of cleaning the kennels so they are always in a clean kennel.

Some kennels have instructions for medications on their doors.

CR: Yep some of these are on medications that dogs need for one reason or another and you know this is one of the reasons why we really love those donations coming in cause there’s meds there’s foods there’s care for the animals. There’s staff pay. There’s a lot of things that go into consideration when running a shelter like this.

We go through a wash area and food prep room, and then see the cats. That’s when we meet our Siamese friend.

(Siamese cat meows)

CR: He’s a character.

TOC: What a different sound, right ?

CR: That’s Siamese for you. He’s a love bug too.

He and about a dozen other regular domestic cats are each in their own kennel space in a large clean room.

CR: All these cats are ready to go.

The shelter also offers food, vet care and training services to the community.

RG: These are all services that we offer to the community at no charge to them so that they can keep their dog in their home. They need food on a monthly basis, they can come in and grab and bag of food. They need training? One of our trainers is going to go to their home to help them out.

They also give regular training classes at the shelter.

CR: Anyone who wants to come out and just learn the basics. Simply a dog just jumping up can be annoying after a while. It’s a simple fix and so we offer things like that to the community.

Future plans include an agility field and a Reflection Garden.

CR: It is the new Humane Society. There’s lots of new things going on. Positive things going on.

Learn more here: https://www.hsslc.org/p/10/adoption#.XnFAzXJ7m70

https://www.hsslc.org/p/45/dogs#.XnFA33J7m70

https://www.hsslc.org/p/46/cats#.XnFA7HJ7m70