PLATES of Care

Dear Davi,

What’s up with the new flashy Florida Animal Friend license plate design I’ve been seeing around town?

Stanley the Sphynx


The Animal Friend specialty license plate has been around since 2005, and even with its sporty new design, the purpose still holds true: to benefit statewide spay and neuter programs.

The most important thing to know about spaying and neutering is that it saves lives. Each day, thousands of puppies and kittens are born in this country — many end up in shelters. And of those, only about half ever get a home.

Sadly, there are still misconceptions about spaying and neutering. I’ve separated fact from fiction to help shed light about this important procedure:

They Say: My pet will get fat and lazy.
Fat animals are usually overfed and under-exercised. An animal could tend to put on some weight after sterilization, but the surgery doesn’t cause that.

They Say: But my pet is a purebred.
At least one out of every four pets brought to shelters are purebred. There are just too many dogs and cats — mixed breed and purebred — period.

They Say: I want my dog to  be protective.
A dog’s natural instinct to protect his home and family isn’t affected by spaying or neutering. The personality is formed by genetics and environment, not sex hormones.

They Say: I don’t want my male pet to feel like less of a male.
Dogs have no concept of sexual identity or ego and neutering doesn’t change a dog’s basic personality. He doesn’t suffer in any way when neutered.

They Say: It’s expensive to have my pet spayed or neutered.
It’s a bargain compared to the cost of raising litters of puppies or kittens. Many local shelters have established low-cost spay and neuter programs, making both affordable and accessible.

They Say: Altering pets can’t change the community.
Stray animals are a real problem in many communities. Spaying and neutering are paramount in reducing the number of animals on the streets.

Those interested in helping fix the pet population problem in Florida — and blinging their ride — can buy the $25 specialty license plate (and renew yearly) from the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles. The funds are distributed to Florida Animal Friend and used exclusively to help stop pet overpopulation by offering free and low-cost spay and neuter programs across the state.

Grants are awarded annually, funded through the sale of the Florida Animal Friend tags. These funds help offset the cost of Florida spay and neuter programs.

Local recipients of this grant program are First Coast No More Homeless Pets, Jacksonville Animal Care & Protection Services and Jacksonville Humane Society. The three agencies are members of No Kill Jacksonville, a collaboration to help Jacksonville achieve no-kill status.

It’s time more Floridians step up and show support for local spay and neuter programs. By purchasing the newly designed plate, we are one step closer to reducing the number of unwanted pets around the state.

Contact a local tax collector or tag agency office for availability at

Davi the dachshund isn’t hairless like his friend Stanley the Sphynx cat, but he’ll always support spay & neuter programs!