First Coast No More Homeless Pets and Petco Foundation are teaming up for the 25th Mega Adoption event this weekend at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds.
Fourteen shelters and adoption agencies from across Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia are transporting over 900 animals to the fairgrounds through Sunday.
Tanner Ives, Social Media and Communications Coordinator at First Coast No More Homeless Pets said the goal is, by the end of the weekend, to have all the dogs and cats paired with new families.
According to Ives, a lot of pieces come together to make the event so successful. He said it’s the largest event of its kind in the country.
“From the surgeons and the vets and the vet-techs and volunteers, it’s just limitless how many people are involved in this,” said Ives.
He said that dogs and cats are transported by truck each morning to maximize the amount of space available at shelters for new animals.
One of the participating shelters is the Jacksonville Humane Society.
“Over at the fairgrounds, it’s a lot of people and a lot of excitement. So we look for dogs and cats who may really enjoy being over there,” said Lindsay Layendecker, Senior Manager of Education and Outreach at the Jacksonville Humane Society.
Layendecker added that kittens are always in high demand and are often adopted together, creating more of a need for kittens at the mega-event.
She also said that people line up before the event begins so they can have their first pick on puppies.
Layendecker’s words proved correct when WJCT News visited the adoption event Friday.
Deep barking sounds overwhelmed the space and there was not a small puppy in sight.
Several kitten crates from the Humane Society were already emptied and only a handful remained for the day.
Layendecker said their trucks and vans that can fit about 25 dogs inside to take the animals over to the event each morning.
Ives said that trucks began to arrive and unload their furry friends at the fairgrounds Thursday.
“We had a couple of volunteers here stay with them overnight, take the dogs for a walk since last night. After today and after Saturday, agency representatives will go back to their shelters, load up more cats and dogs and bring them back so that we can keep the kennels loaded so people can see all the animals who are available for adoption,” he said.
First Coast No More Homeless Pets neutered and spayed 28 of their rescues before bringing them to the event and making them available for adoption, according to Ives.
Layendecker commented on how, “adoption is a wonderful option.”
She continued, “One of the great things about adopting a pet is that all of the pets are already going to be spayed and neutered, micro-chipped and have their vaccines.”
Layendecker said veterinary visits can get expensive so not only are those who adopt a pet saving a life, but they are also saving money.
About 8,000 people are expected to attend the event this weekend.
The Mega Pet Adoption Event runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday through Sunday this week at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds and free parking is available.
A fee of $20 is required for adoption.
Alexandra Blackwell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 904-358-6316.