Daniela M.

Medina Hoyos
ENC 3331
Professor Wright
Problem Analysis:
Lack of Presence and Retention of Hispanics at the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando
Fulfilling the desire of the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando to engage “the entire
community with the responsibility of caring for animals” requires open communication. The
Hispanic community is one that if often neglected in regards to being given information about
responsible pet care. However, seeing as they form 23.7% of the population in Florida and
25.4% in Orlando, their input is essential to accomplish the organization’s mission (United States
Census Bureau). This is emphasized by their goal to impact and serve the Orange, Osceola,
Seminole, and other surrounding counties in Central Florida to reach a wider audience.
The majority of information available from the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando focuses
on the American community. The outdoor advertisements are a reflection of a pathos-based
campaign. Their indoor marketing material features events without being welcoming to the
Hispanic community since they are written in English and only posted in the business office. The
organization’s presence in television is also minimal while their social media thrives in some
platforms and fails in others. The lack of communication, education, presence, and retention
within the Hispanic communities is troublesome as they are potential adopters and service users.
It has been estimated that an average of 5.7 million dogs and cats are euthanized per year
(Bartlett 2005). The deaths are unevenly distributed as certain rescues might have an abundance
of pets while others lack desirable pets according to their demographics. The gap is created due
to an issue of supply and demand, where “more pet seekers log onto Petfinder.com in affluent

areas, while more pets are adopted from less affluent areas” (Whitcomb 2010). This means that
even though those with a higher disposable income are provided the resources to adopt, they opt
to purchase if they don’t find a dog that meets the requirements. However, studies have found
that income is not an issue in regards to pet ownership ratios. This is of advantage to the Pet
Alliance of Greater Orlando as it’s focused on the less affluent areas with low cost-clinics and
reduced adoption rates. It is this sort of data and services that influences Hispanics, as price is
often quoted to be reason for purchase for this particular demographic.
Taking this into account, it would be important for the Pet Alliance to being entering the
Hispanic community through their low-cost services. This approach would ensure a higher
success rate, as the organization would have the opportunity to increase Hispanics involvement
through education and communication. After experiencing the struggle of a Hispanic family
within the rescue itself attempting to adopt a kitten, I concluded that the need to provide better
communication is obvious. This one adoption might not make much of a difference as the
adoption rates have gone up after the rebranding of the organization in May 2014. However, we
can speculate that a mixture of tactics to increase communication with Hispanics would boost
them even more. It’s important to note that prior to the rebranding Hispanics were vaguely given
information past their website translation. However, the Pet Alliance no longer has information
available online for this community.
Instead, their focus on this group mirrors the employee’s ethnicities and background.
According to Tara Lance, an educator at the organization, out of the hundred plus employees less
than ten speak Spanish and are considered Hispanics. As such, it becomes harder to
communicate in person, so it’s important that the written and visual communication tactics with
Hispanics are emphasized. Taking a look at their communication materials and methods, it’s

easy to pinpoint their weaknesses. Their marketing initiatives are at a stand still as the locations
where events are held and those they are part of do not reflect a desire to interact with the
Hispanic community.
While I was shadowing Tara Lance, I discovered that years ago they would take part of
events specifically geared for Hispanics and they would be successful. However, these attempts
slowly faded away and have not returned, as the need hasn’t been emphasized by those in
management or expressed by the majority. Additionally, their television presence reflects this
same monotone type of advertisement, as it’s only available in English and in influencing the
American community. Their presence is created through Reed Nissan’s program where the
viewer is informed of what the company does for the organization helping them increase their
own revenues and only showcase the dogs in the commercials. The exposure is definitely a very
positive tactic, but the lack of invitation or focus to donate or participate actively directly to the
Pet Alliance makes it weak.
Additionally, their featuring of this commercial on the Pet Alliance’s website is also
negative once it ends. The video they have chosen to use finalizes to “suggestions” from
YouTube for videos about criminals and crime. This is due to their usage of Wesh2 News as
their source for the material instead of their original content from their own channel. The
negative image projected at the end of the clip hurts the legitimate and professional image being
projected by their heavy branding strategy. This lack of attention to detail in regards to their
social media is also seen in their Instagram, YouTube, Google+, and sections of their Facebook
profiles. Their presence in social media is important to reach the Hispanic community as all of
these are visual and don’t require an extensive amount of translation. Visual rhetoric has the
ability to appeal to a wide audience without a heavy usage of written or spoken language. It can

be used to connect to “people [by] understanding of their identity” within their own context and
reality (Palczewski, Helen, Ice, Fritch 70). The lack of relevant images available for the whole
audience, as a community, takes away from the potential to “reorient public discourse… [within]
contemporary society” to understand the importance of responsible pet care within the
community in Central Florida (Palczewski, Helen, Ice, Fritch 80).
Lastly, the lack of involvement of Hispanics within the organization is seen in their
inability to give them proper information and education on the services, events, and ways to
participate with the Pet Alliance. The only information provided in Spanish is that of the
manufacturer or the legal paperwork needed within the clinic. However, the adoption sheets are
not available in Spanish so it’s harder to understand what the information means. Watching
Hispanics struggle to find their perfect match because of language is saddening. During my
shadowing, I was glad that I could help the particular family understand their options but
couldn’t help but notice the wide gaps of each culture and the need to identify. They need to use
rhetoric to help the listeners and viewers “feel identification with them” (Palczewski, Helen, Ice,
Fritch 8). The way in which they reacted to me versus the volunteer differed because of the
ability to understand each other. Although, it’s impossible to ensure effective communication at
all times verbally, there is a gap missing to aid in the process.
The involvement in the Hispanic community is essential to help create a greater impact
within the community in Central Florida. Instilling compassionate and responsible pet care
should also be emphasized as they have the power to create change. An increase in presence will
allow information to be dispersed easily. It will provide a platform for open communication
between cultures with the goal of “promoting happier, healthier pets” with their families. It must

be done through rhetoric as it emphasizes the importance of symbolic action as it “constructs,
maintains, and transforms [our] social reality (Palczewski, Helen, Ice, Fritch 10).

Works Cited
"Demographics." - Orlando Economic Development Commission. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Oct. 2014.
"United States Census Bureau." Orlando (city) QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau. N.p.,
n.d. Web. 5 Oct. 2014.
"We Speak. We Heal. We Care. Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando." Pet Alliance of Greater
Orlando. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.
Bartlett, Paul C., et al. "Rates Of Euthanasia And Adoption For Dogs And Cats In Michigan
Animal Shelters." Journal Of Applied Animal Welfare Science 8.2 (2005): 97-104.
Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
Palczewski, Catherine Helen, Richard Ice, and John Fritch. Rhetoric in Civic Life. State College,
PA: Strata Pub. 2012. Print.
Whitcomb, Rachael. "Understanding Pet Overpopulation." DVM: The Newsmagazine Of
Veterinary Medicine 41.4 (2010): 30-32. Academic Search Premier. Web. 14 Oct. 2014.