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Keeping the No-Kill Philosophy Alive at the Jacksonville Humane Society

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

Founded in 1985, the Jacksonville Humane Society (JHS) is a no-kill shelter open seven days a week to adopt out dogs and cats. You can also view their online adoption center for current pet profiles, which are about 400 to 450 at any given time. The need for forever homes for these animals is great.

The JHS is good about paying attention to how long a pet is at their facility. Their website states: "If an animal has been with us for an extended period of time, we find creative ways to showcase and promote them." That way, all healthy dogs and cats find a home. But these aren't the only animals that JHS maintains. Sometimes ferrets, guinea pigs, rabbits and birds are housed here for adoption, too.

Every animal shelter, whether public or non-profit, relies on community support. From volunteers so crucial to running the facility on an often tight budget and partnering up with other local agencies or businesses, public support is paramount to the JHS. "The Jacksonville Humane Society is proud to partner with Animal Care and Protective Services and First Coast No More Homeless Pets to maintain Jacksonville's no-kill-city status," says Development Manager Lindsay Layendecker.

Recovering from a devastating fire in 2007, the JHS has a smaller facility than before the fire, but the society is working to raise funds for a larger building. Layendecker describes the current JHS facility, "We have a full-service, state-of-the-art animal hospital that offers low-cost care to the community." JHS invites all pet owners to spay and neuter your pets to lower the number of animals that need homes.

The JHS website contains a wealth of information. There are pages for lost and found pets, spaying and neutering services, pet attitude issues, animal cruelty and emergencies, as well as surrendering a pet you can no longer keep. A no-cost pet behavior helpline is also offered for those hard-to-train animals. Then, check out the dates of the next pet training classes given by the society, Canine Good Citizens, which ensures that you and your dog have the skill sets and test items necessary to acquire this American Kennel Club certification.

As JHS is a nonprofit agency, donations and events provide much-needed funding. The 17th annual Toast to the Animals food and wine tasting benefit took place in mid-September. Then there is the yearly Mutt March, which is a big fundraiser for the society. "Our next big adoption event," points out Layendecker, "will be the ASPCA Mega-Match-A-Thon on October 24 and 25." Come out to get your new family member or volunteer and help make a difference in your community.

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