About Us

C.A.R.E. was founded in 2000 by Dr. Hal Ott, D.V.M. and a group of local citizens concerned about the high number of healthy animals being euthanized each year in Hillsborough County. With a mission of rescuing, rehabilitating and adopting stray and owner relinquished animals C.A.R.E. opened a small, 3 acre shelter in Ruskin in 2001. In 2003, a discount spay-neuter clinic was added to help the animals of low income residents in the South Shore area and to further reduce the number of homeless pets. Over the ensuing years C.A.R.E. has added an Intensive Care Unit for newly arrived cats, a large new cat facility and a small breed dog addition to allow the smaller dogs to be separated from the larger dogs.

C.A.R.E. is restricted in having the ability to house and care for a limited number of animals awaiting adoption because of our relatively small size, our no-kill mission and our limited resources. We can currently house between 11-17 dogs and puppies (depending on sizes) and 30-40 cats and kittens. Our adoptable dogs are outside all day in their kennels or in 3 large exercise yards and are put in their inside kennels at night. Our adoptable cats are in one of three large open bay rooms in our cat facility. They are separated by age, may roam freely in their rooms and they all have free access to separate screen porches.

C.A.R.E. is an all volunteer organization and is funded totally by donations, adoption and s/n fees, fundraisers and small grants. Volunteers support our animals by giving over 10,000 hours of their time, effort and love each year to caring for and adopting our pets. The shelter is currently open to the public on Tuesdays through Saturdays between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Visitors and potential adopters may visit any time during these public hours and may call 813-645-2273 for more information or directions.

Board of Directors

Michelle Rhodarmer – President
Lisa Baker – Vice President
Carol Picot – Secretary 
Marlene Greenberg – Treasurer
Phyllis Gannon
Judith Martin
Juli Thome
Joann With

Medical Staff

Care medical staff provided by boyetteanimalhospital.com (813) 671-3400
Dr. Bob Encinosa, Director
Dr. Amanda Esposito
Dr. Michelle Ferrera
Dr. Jennifer Challenger
Gloria Blue, Animal Care Manager


Organizational Structure

A volunteer Board of Directors provides policy guidance and shelter oversight.

A volunteer Medical Director sets medical policy and provides medical oversight

An Animal Care Manager (employee) provides daily business management with overall responsibility for the day to day operation of the shelter and reports to the Board. This person assists in pet surgeries, administers medications and oversees each of our dogs and cats from the moment they enter the shelter until the day they are adopted.

Many dedicated volunteers round out our organization by helping with everything from cleaning kennels to building or grounds maintenance, working in the office, walking dogs, socializing cats and anything else they can do to ensure C.A.R.E. operates efficiently and effectively.