The city of Jacksonville, First Coast No More Homeless Pets and the Jacksonville Humane Society are teaming up to make Jacksonville a "no-kill" city. The move is expected to save the lives of thousands of animals in Duval County every year.
The decision came "once we realized that other communities were not killing the number dogs and cats that we were, once I realized that I knew that I had to do something in Duval County to make a difference," said the founder of First Coast No More Homeless Pets, Rick Ducharme. "That is our goal every month: to save at least 90 percent of all the pets in the shelter."
Ducharme said he created First Coast No More Homeless Pets with the sole intention of making Duval County and it's surrounding areas a "no-kill" community.
"And we're getting closer to those goals all the time. In fact, in November, it was the first month ever for what I call "no kill month," where we save 90% of all the pets coming into the shelter in Duval County," said Ducharme.
Ducharme said it's taken about 10 years to reach the 90 percent goal, but he's proud of the progress that's been made.
"When we first started, we realized with 33,000 dogs and cats entering the shelter, 22,000 dying 10 years ago every year, that we had to do something to decrease the number of pets entering the shelter," said Ducharme.
The city of Jacksonville focused on spay and neuter programs for the first six years to keep animals from winding up in shelters. Ducharme said then they decreased the number of cats and dogs in shelters to reasonable amounts so they could focus on helping the animals leave the shelters alive.
"First Coast No More Homeless Pets is responsible for decreasing the amount of euthanasia's in Duval county by over 100,000 dogs and cats. And that's really what I struggle for every day. That's what makes all the work worth it," said Ducharme.