“As an animal-loving community, we are counting on Jacksonville to respond to this plea for help so that we don’t have to euthanize animals simply because of space,” said Nikki Harris, chief of Animal Care & Protective Services, in a statement.
In an effort to place as many dogs, cats and kittens into new homes, Animal Care & Protective Services, the Jacksonville Humane Society and First Coast No More Homeless Pets are hosting a Mega Pet Adoption Event Friday-Sunday at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds and Expo Center.
It’s one of four major adoption events this year and perhaps the most critical, said Rick DuCharme, executive director of First Coast No More Homeless Pets.
Many people are on vacation, which can reduce adoption rates and it’s an active season for cat breeding, he said.
Summer is also the most likely time of year for people to go through life-changing events, said Jacksonville Humane Society Executive Director Denise Deisler. Changes in employment or even graduating from school can change a pet owner’s decision to care for their pet.
“Unfortunately, that can mean an animal doesn’t have a place in their home,” Deisler said.
Jacksonville is the largest city in the U.S. to have achieved “no-kill” status, which means the shelters do not kill animals that can be adopted or when the shelter is full.
DuCharme said local shelters were able to find homes for 84 percent of its animals last year and this year’s goal is 90 percent.
At the adoption event in April, 840 animals went home with new families. DuCharme said the goal for this weekend is 1,000 adoptions.
“Last time, we started to run out of dogs on Sunday,” he said. “We never run out of cats.”
The adoption fee for a dog or cat is $20, including vaccinations, spaying or neutering, microchip and the city pet license. Kittens are adopt one, get one free during the event. For active duty and retired military personnel with ID, there is no fee, he said.
Adoptions are available 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Parking is free at the fairgrounds.
Foster homes for pets and donations also are needed by the shelters, including financial contributions and puppy and kitten formula, pet food and supplies. Donations may be made at the event or at any animal shelter.
All three local animal welfare agencies continue their call for help as the kennels and catteries at the shelters are at capacity.