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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Starting Over Animal Refuge Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Wildlife Preservation & Protection

Mission: Canine rescue, rehabilitation and adoptions. all adults are saved from high kill shelters off of Deathrow. Our puppies come from all over but mostly stem from our very popular S.N.A.P program that offers a free spay on momma dogs that belong to the general public when they surrender their entire litter to our program. This gives puppies a chance to get the RIGHT start in life and be able to protect them for life. Helping decrease the numbers of unwanted pets in the US

Target demographics: Save hundreds of unwanted animals a year from death row , Craigslist and off some of the cruelest streets in the United States

Direct beneficiaries per year: Krewe de rescue , Dallas RRR (our dowdy ferry rd mission) we have worked with South Bark on rehabbing aggressive dogs and several shelters across the southern states

Geographic areas served: Ocala FL on a serene 10 acre ranch open to healing the broken and changing lives

Programs: Adoptions , rehabilitation and our famous S.N.A.P program that provides free spaying and neutering for owners who turn over their entire litter of puppies to help stop the cycle of unwanted animals and protect those puppies for life with lifelong contracts and monitored forever homes

Community Stories

269 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

9 Kristy26

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Melissa reached out to me about a month ago she offered me a service dog fo she offered me a service dog free of charge. My daughter which is 9 years old was being bullied in school everyda my daughter which is 9 years old was being bullied in school every day and was coming home crying and sad and didn't understand why she was being bullied. Melissa message me and said that she had a service dog that she would like me to take for my daughter to help her get through the emotional state she was in. Just her reaching out I'm in a lot to the family. Right now we are unable to have another dog so we were not able to accept her offer. But I would like to thank her for reaching out in a time of need. I have seen her rescue hundreds of puppies and get them adopted out adult dogs also. She goes above and beyond for her rescue.

1 Krissie T.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My sister had gotten her dog from Melissa almost 2 years ago so she had told me to go with her and Starting Over Animal Refuge. I went 3 weeks ago and got a little boy. He ended up having some congenital issues and sadly passed away. I called Melissa back and told her and she offered another puppy when I was ready (I was really devastated). I went back today and got a little girl this time. Melissa knows what she is doing and is more than willing to help find the right fit for your family and lifestyle. I would recommend her a thousand times before ever giving money to a breeder!

1 Cherie Steele R.

Client Served

Rating: 4

One year ago we found our Addison through this organization. We fell in love with the adorable, healthy puppy we picked. Now one year old, she is a healthy 77 pound bundle of love. We were so lucky to find Melissa and her nonprofit group.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

I found Melisa while desperately searching for parvo survivors. I thought it would be the only way to get another dog without having to put another at risk or waiting a whole year after my recent county adoption nightmare. She assured us her puppies were 100% protected and that if she wasn't sure she would not ever let us on her property. My family is so grateful to her for helping us find this sweet boy. My chronically ill son is so happy to have a new best friend to comfort him. Update: Just got home from Pete's 1st check up and Dr. said that besides minor issue that a lot of puppies get no matter where you get them from , he is very pleased with how healthy he is. Continued with medication Melissa had him on and first time I've walked out of vet paying so little. I feel so blessed that I found her, she is very knowledgeable and a true animal lover.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've recently adopted a little puppy from Starting Over and he has been nothing but a pure joy. He was so well taken care of and clearly was happy in his care during his time at Starting Over. I would absolutely suggest this refuge to friends and family if they are looking to give a pup a new home.

2 Leroy Robinson J.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Adopted this guy from them and it was a fast and smooth experience. They even held him for me for a day because I wasn’t quite ready when I met Tank. They’re great people to work with and I would definitely use them again.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I adopted Riley a 5 month old Border Collie/Australian Kelpie mix and could not be happier. She has been such a delight. She was not house broken but learned very quickly, and caught on to obedience training faster than any dog I've ever had. My interactions with the owner have been nothing but great, she seemed to want to make sure the animals go to the right homes and that they're cared for. I have already recommended this organization to some friends looking to adopt!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

DO NOT make the mistake I made trusting this Rescue Organization. This is my story. Approximately 2 weeks ago I adopted a beautiful puppy (Catahooula, Lab, Australian Shepherd mix) for a $400 donation. On the Contract Agreement it stated that he had been tested and tested positive for Hook Worms, Tape Worms, Round Worms and Giardia. It also listed medications, i.e. Panacur, Drontal Plus, and Metrenidazole. I, not being knowledgeable, at the time, with this situation and the owner of the Rescue Organization not explaining the seriousness of the puppy's situation. Rather than trying to explain to the vet, I provided the puppy contract to the vet at his Wellness Puppy visit. Which was required within 72 hours of adoption per contract agreement. Vet prescribed Strongid, because of what was on the contract which we later realized was clear as mud. Handwritten and not easily deciphered. Well, puppy continued to have loose stool. Rescue Organization owner suggested I give puppy a concoction of pumpkin, white rice, yogurt and chicken, which I did and didn't help. So I contacted vet and asked if he could be retested on 7/11 because his stool was still not right. It was done and it came back positive for Round Worm, Giardia, and Coxicida. I asked the vet the cause and I was advised that it came from drinking feces contaminated water. Which while in my care he gets fresh water every day and he is only outside to do his business. In my care he has never had access to feces contaminated water. So now that the puppy was on 3 prescriptions to get healthy and he has to be kept away from my other animals so they don't get anything. I decided I would reach out to the owner of the rescue organization and let her know what was going on. Instead of her being helpful, kind, and understanding. She was very nasty, defensive, and basically refused to take any responsibility for selling me a sick puppy. I asked her to meet me half way and refund me half of my donation ($200) to cover the vet visits and med costs to get him healthy and she refused. Instead she was threatening. Glad I have my puppy, but if I would have been fully aware and the Rescue Organization Owner would have been more transparent with what the puppy had, I would NOT have subjected my other fur babies or myself to Giardia or Coxicida. Now I love my puppy and am stuck rectifying it, costing me my extra time and unexpected financial expense.
Respectfully..

1 Josh D.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Adopted a beautiful dog from here, the care given to the animals and the kindness of the caretakers was clear from the start! My wife and I were very happy happy with our experience and are loving our new family member!

1 Keyton Blase F.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We took a trip to look at the different puppies to adopt and were greeted by a friendly group of people who took good care of their animals. We adopted a very smart aussie/heeler mix and we are very happy with her and the experience with this animal rescue.

1 Michael S.10

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I adopted a dog from this facility. I am very pleased with Zoey.I was met at facility at agreed time.All animals were well taken care of.answered all questions I had it was a great experience all the way around.If I was thinking of another dog I would definitely check here first. Michael Slaughter

1 Erica S.6

Client Served

Rating: 5

We adopted our dog from SOAR 2/13/2016. The process was so easy! They were flexible with when we could see the dogs. We originally went there to look at a different dog, but fell in love with Chewy. Chewy has been the most amazing dog anyone could ask for. When we decide to get another dog, SOAR will definitely be our first place to check. I cannot thank them enough for making Chewy a part of our life!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Found mix Husky/lab pup to adopt
Impressed with care for pups
Came from Orlando because I felt they were responsible group
Toni Greene

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

We had a great experience adopting Tucker! We had another friend even though she did not adopt from here recommend them to us and we’re so happy she did! They were great when I called on Sunday morning and asked if we could come by to check out the puppies. We fell in love at first sight! Our vet was very happy with the care he had received before being adopted. I will definitely recommend this rescue to others!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

After mourning our 16 & 21 yr old fur babies for about 4 years we decided to make the plunge. We went to adopt a dog. Melissa was great! Very patient with us. She talked with us and listed to our concerns. The place was well kept. She let us visit and I just couldn’t leave with out our little Delilah. She’s growing so fast! Thank you all so much!

Client Served

Rating: 5

We had a great experience adopting the newest member of our family from Starting Over Animal Refuge. We were a little hesitant when we arrived but once Melissa took us to the back it was awesome. She had several liters of puppies that had been surrendered. The little guy that we fell in love with had arrived there with parvo and Melissa had nursed him and his litter mates back to health. We took him to the vet the day after we adopted him and he was given a clean bill of health. I would definitely recommend Starting Over Animal Refuge to anyone and will definitely go back there if we decide to bring another fur baby home. Thank you!

1 Misty H.3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We adopted our sweet little addition to our family 3 weeks ago. The the center was very clean, spacious, and well-organized. We could tell that the center really cared for their animals. We were greeted by some well-behaved fur-friends at the gate. We couldn't be happier with him. He is a healthy sweet puppy.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Do you want to see first hand where the puppy or dog is you adopt is kept? Instead of meeting at a store front or a pet store . Do you want to have a large selection of happy healthy puppies to choose from? If so this is the rescue to choose . This rescue ranch is beautiful! When you first pull up you’re left confused . It’s like a pot of gold in the middle of a neighborhood. You’ll be walked through a windy path dressed in trees and vines that opens up to what looks like heaven to animals . Beautiful fat shiny horses and friendly well behaved dogs that will meet and greet you with wagging tails . They don’t have a lot of adults because they focus on pediatric rescue and the puppies are kept in very well kept and clean kennels with nice designed floors . There’s room for improvement as everything else but the love time and amount of costs this rescue puts into the animals can be seen at first sight . They’ll take their time with you. Let you visit . Try to match you with the right puppy for your home . Don’t go expecting to get the puppy you seen online . So many more are there that are never listed so just let the puppy do the choosing and let them guide you . It’s the best experience! There’s a few negative reviews but treat them with respect and they will do the same . Lots of knowledge . Proper licensing . Good luck adopting . You know where your Adoption fee goes to when you visit .

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I called twice, and then I texted to get some information about this agreement I read about in her bad reviews. I was concerned that what she wanted may be over the top. My first text asked if she provided a hard copy of the vet records and vaccines and where I could find a copy of the adoption agreement. The owner answers: "Everything can be viewed when coming to the ranch." I explained I live two hours away and did not want to waste 4 hours driving and again asked her for the vet information. I then added I had read the good and bad reviews, explained I am not an uninformed puppy parent. If she was unable to email me the full contract so I can read and share her vet information, I believe she is shady. In my opinion, anyone selling animals should be able to provide a vet for references and a copy of the contract. I do not think this is an unreasonable request. Bottom line is I wanted to read the agreement and determine if I find her requirements are agreeable to me. If not, then I'd move on and find someone else. She then stated her credentials and told me she did not like the way I was coming at her. She called me rude and did not want me adopting from her ranch. Then said I was the first and only one who has ever asked for a vet reference. Then she said I was more than welcome to come to the ranch and view the 250 good reviews or just go to Orlando. Then she said she did not think there would be a single rescue or humane society willing to allow me to adopt. I explained, again, I am looking for answers, she did not answer my questions and I am doing my due diligence before making a purchase and supporting her. I also explain I did not care about the good and bad reviews, only my experience with her. So far in the conversation, this owner has refused to answer my two initial questions. 1. What is her vet's name. I want to verify she takes her animals to a vet. 2. What exactly does her contract say. If I had disagreed, then I would not buy from her. I respect the fact she runs this business. She does not appreciate and recognize the fact I am a consumer wanting information. I explained I am a direct person and a responsible puppy parent. After a few more messages, she finally summarized what is on her contract. I told her again, I want the entire contract, not her summary. Still, she did not provide a link or was willing to provide unless I visit the ranch. I explained that if I agreed to her terms, I would print it out. Then she said I am not having you sign my contract without meeting me and approving me. I explained to her, the contract is not valid unless we both sign. Then she said "I am a LICENSED organization and my corporate name is my signature and the contract does not need to be signed." She called me arrogant, said she could not send a copy because she did not have one downloaded, which was the first time she mentioned it. She called me a troll, accused me of possibly harassing her vet. She finally admitted to giving all the shots to the puppies herself. She continued to be rude. You should always ensure whatever person you are buying from is legitimate and willing to share information. This woman was not. I wanted the vet info to verify she has one and a copy of the contract to see if what she demands is acceptable. She was rude, hostile, and a bully. I would never support a non-profit like this one. Had she been upfront when I asked those questions, this rating would be a five star, not a one. Stop taking questions personally. Be transparent and share the information. I really wish this would have turned out different. This woman has a large chip on her shoulder and I see why others can see why they think she is crazy and warning others to stay far away. However, I would never judge her based on what others say. I am completely basing my opinion on my experience with her. I really wanted her to share the info I needed. Unfortunately, she would not.

**Additional comments: I did NOT call, all communication was via text. How do you have a rude and demanding tone in a text?! This woman was neither professional or calm. She refused to answer basic questions and was combative. Simply, she was a bully.

Comments ( 1 )

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Melissa296 06/23/2019

I could post the “entire” conversation leading me to my frustrated response but I’ll be more classy then that. This person called me and immediately in a rude demanding tone demanded for my vets information and veterinary documents on my animals along with a copy of my adoption contract. No presentation on whom she was or why she was calling . Immediately she made me on edge but I remained composure and asked why she called with these demands if she had adopted and was concerned about a puppy . She stated no and that she MIGHT want to adopt but seeing my 6 out of 250 bad reviews she finds me shady and wants all my legal and medical proof that I’m a “legit” organization and that the puppies receive their proper vaccines . I’m a shelter . Just as humane societies and animal services . Licensed by the state of Florida which makes my contracts

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I adopted my little fur baby from starting over animal rescue. As soon as I saw her online I knew she was the one. I am absolutely obsessed with her.at the rescue the cages were very well kept and all of the dogs seemed happy and healthy. Melissa seemed very passionate about her rescue and we stayed there talking to her for hours!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This was such a fun experience. There were so many different dogs with such different personalities. We went expecting to fall in love With one dog and ended up falling in love with another. Scout has been such a wonderful addition to our family. I would definitely recommend this refuge to others who want to find their forever fur baby.