JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Connell Thomas was at Jacksonville’s Animal Care and Protective Services Friday as doors opened.
“I’m here to find me a companion, a dog,” he said.
He heard ACPS’ outcry for help as the shelter reports it’s critically full. The shelter has 264 dog kennels right now, but around 300 dogs. Leaders say the staff has had to pair some of the dogs up in kennels and place the remaining dogs in staff offices.
ACPS’ Jennifer Walter says Jacksonville’s housing crisis has led to people being forced to surrender their pets because they’re facing evictions, having to move, or can’t afford pet-friendly homes.
“We would much rather provide them with resources in the community and help them to find appropriate housing where they can keep their pets, rather than surrendering them to the shelter,” Walter said.
She says having 30 or so surplus dogs in the shelter right now isn’t the worst it’s been.
Action News Jax found the number of animals put down has increased since COVID-19 first started to spread when everyone wanted a pandemic pet.
Dog euthanasias went from 195 in 2020 to 236 in 2021. This year’s trend line is similar: data shows from January to March, 50 pets had already been put down.
“Our Jacksonville community is an animal-loving community, and we are so incredibly grateful that every time we ask for help, the community responds and comes out, adopts, fosters,” Walter said.
While Thomas searches for his companion, he hopes others will come out and do the same.
“Give a dog a chance, because they may make your life different,” Thomas said.
ACPS has kicked off an adoption event that will go through Sunday at 356 Monument Rd.
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