The city of Jacksonville's animal adoption and rescue coordinator is being demoted and replaced, and now hundreds are stepping up in an effort to put her back in her old job.
Her supporters have started an online campaign and petition that has nearly 1,500 signatures to keep June Mason in her job at Animal Care and Protective Services.
They say she's part of the reason they're achieving their goal to limit the number of animals that have to be put down. But the city says budget cuts mean it has to make tough choices, like cutting 11 positions at Animal Care and reassigning Mason.
"I don't think anybody else can do that job," animal rescue worker Georgia Byers said of Mason.
Byers said without Mason handling animal adoptions and rescues, she fears more animals will be euthanized instead of saved.
"She can tell which dogs can go where, and she calls all the rescues and all the rescues love her so much because of that. And that's why we need her," Byers said.
The city is demoting Mason from rescue coordinator to animal care assistant. Her salary will go from about $28,000 to $25,000, a 10-percent cut.
Christine Parker is moving into Mason's old position. Parker was Animal Care's community relations supervisor, where she took home about $45,000 a year.
As the new rescue coordinator, she'll make around $40,000, also a 10-percent pay cut, which is in effect for hundreds of other city workers.
When Mary Ann Jacob heard the news, she sprang into action to keep Mason in her position, starting the online petition. Now she and the nearly 1,500 people who've signed it are hoping for one thing.
"That it will get the attention of the mayor's office and her director and everyone else that they will keep June where she's at," said Jacob, of Pet Rescue North.
The petitioners say they just don't understand why Mason would be replaced.
"She's on the job 24/7," Jacob said. "It's not like she works five days a week and she's gone. And it's a hard job because she has to make the decision if somebody doesn't step up where that dog might have to be euthanized, and she tries as hard as she can."
The city says the shuffle is in accordance with seniority and union contracts, and it takes into account an employee's total duration of employment.
Both women have worked with the city for five years. The city has not yet responded to whether job performance was also a factor in the moves.