We are open by appointment only and subject to volunteer availability. We appreciate your patience!
The majority of our available animals are in foster homes and at the PetSmart on Linton Blvd. in Delray Beach, but you will find some at our Adoption Center.
How was A.R.F. started?
Animal Rescue Force of South Florida, Inc, which incorporated on September 2, 2005, may sound like a new organization; however A.R.F. was originally founded as a result of ”Animal Day,” a proclamation signed by then Mayor Walling, and the dedication and guidance of JoAnne and Ronald Garretson on October 12, 1974 in East Brunswick, New Jersey.
On that day, volunteers gathered at the Brunswick Square Mall with tears in their eyes full of anticipation, but also fearful that the ten animals that they had to adopt out would not be adopted. Soon enough, their concerns would become history. The exhibit doors were officially opened at 10:00 am and by 10:30 am not only were the ten homeless animals adopted, but the volunteers had returned to the shelter to rescue more animals.
During the next few months, many obstacles were overcome. In January of 1975, Ron Garretson suggested to build a ”Petmobile;” a vehicle that would go to the shelter, pick up the animals, and take them to the shopping malls, and adopt them out directly from the Petmobile. In other words, take the shelter to the people. Although raising the funds to cover the expenses was another challenge, the volunteers once again found a way to overcome this challenge. On July 26, 1975, the Animal Rescue Force "Petmobile" was officially put into operation. During their first year, the Petmobile found homes for 1,057 dogs and cats.
Several years and many rescues later, JoAnne and her husband Ronny retired to Florida, and left a successful rescue group in the hands of dedicated volunteers. A few years later, JoAnne and Ronny decided to start another rescue group in South Florida, and once again, with the help of others, A.R.F. was founded in Palm Beach County. After nine successful years, over 8,000 adoptions, and three presidents later, the third president decided to retire and dissolve the organization. Although, it was a decision not accepted by the members, the Board voted to dissolve A.R.F. Subsequently, A.R.F. was dissolved on August 9, 2005 and all of the assets, including the "Petmobile" were donated to other charities.
Immediately thereafter, some of the volunteers regrouped, formed a Board of Directors, and submitted an application for incorporation. The corporation was officially formed on September 2, 2005, followed by the 501(c)3 status October 11, 2005. With the direction of the newly formed board, Animal Rescue Force of South Florida, Inc. was founded. A.R.F.’s kick-off event, the Delray Beach Garlic Fest, was a huge success. During the event, the group found loving homes for 11 animals, and raised a significant amount of funds. To date, A.R.F. has been able to find loving homes for thousands of homeless animals.
As the result of the volunteers’ tireless efforts, on April 4th, 2006 the purchase of an ”Adoption Shuttle” was made possible. The 37’ RV made its maiden voyage a week later during the Delray Beach Easter Bonnet Parade. The Adoption Shuttle, which enabled various animals to be transported together, was driven to different sites on the weekends for the purpose of finding homeless animals loving homes. The shuttle was retired in 2011 and was replaced by a more economical van that still enables A.R.F. to take the animals to the people. A.R.F. also continues its mission of rescuing animals from shelters; primarily Animal Care and Control in Palm Beach County.
In December, 2010, after extensive fundraising and two years of design and construction, a dream for the board members finally came true. The Animal Rescue Force of South Florida "Adoption Center" opened at 5115 S. Dixie Hwy in West Palm Beach, and A.R.F entered a new phase of the rescue world having a home base.
A.R.F is a unique rescue group in that all the animals are housed in foster homes or at our Adoption Center. Thus, each animal's personality is known and the perfect match of a "forever" home can be made. The increased socialization and family life makes each animal more adoptable. In addition to the Adoption Center, A.R.F. has secured other adoption locations to showcase our animals, including a PetSmart and two PetSuppliesPlus stores all in Palm Beach County.
The group’s diligent efforts continue to focus on finding homes for homeless pets and in rescuing animals from local shelters, and from the public, while promoting that every animal should be spayed or neutered, and that every animal deserves a loving home.