First Coast No More Homeless Pets, Friends of Jacksonville Animals, The Jacksonville Humane Society and Pit Sisters are teaming up to fight against proposed budget cuts at the city of Jacksonville's Animal Care and Protective Services.
Under Mayor Alvin Brown's proposed budget, all departments are facing an across the board 14-percent cut in funding. At ACPS, that would mean they would no longer be able to accept owner surrendered animals. They would also have to cut the length of time an animal can be held to 14 days. The groups say that would result in 2,000 more animal kills and dash any hopes of Jacksonville of becoming a no-kill community.
No More Homeless Pets Director Rick DuCharme says the cuts are ridiculous. He says Jacksonville is already spending half per resident of what other larger counties in Florida do for their shelters.
He says the average for Florida County Shelters is $6.80 per resident. Jacksonville is $3.06.
DuCharme says he's worked to make Jacksonville no-kill for ten years and it was getting close. The program was getting nationwide attention. A group of non-profits and animal control officials from Indianapolis are coming to Jacksonville next week to observe the program.
He says the National No More Homeless Pets organization is holding its annual conference in Jacksonville in October. DuCharme says they would be explaining to conference attendees about a program they no longer could afford to do since the budget would already have been finalized.
A group of volunteers has established a Facebook page to monitor the budget situation and rally support for the ACPS.
The City Council Finance Committee begins holding budget hearings in August.