Accusations made against city's animal shelter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Is the city of Jacksonville killing animals that should still be alive?

That's one of the allegations emerging about Animal Care and Protective Services from an anonymous emailer.

"Some of the things alleged we've looked at, and there isn't substance, at least in our initial review," city spokesman David DeCamp said.

He said the complaint is being taken seriously. The email claims pet vaccinations are backed up weeks behind schedule.

It also says, "Our numbers are not posted for all to see as is required by state statute (SS 823.15), we lie about the reasons dogs get euthanized, we call them sick or aggressive when they're really not, all in an effort to make the 'no-kill' dream look good. We turn tax payers away at the door."

"We've made a lot of progress and know we do some things really well there," DeCamp said. "But we want to review these allegations to make sure there isn't room for improvement or something wrong hasn't occurred."

"The employees who work at the city shelter want to save lives," said Meredith Tekin, of First Coast No More Homeless Pets. "And we work closely with them. We've worked with them for years on that mission."

Tekin said ACPS seems to value pets just as much as the nonprofits like hers, and she believes evidence backs it up.

"Again, no kill means animals are leaving the shelter alive," Tekin said. "You can look at statistics and see that's happening. It's very surprsing to us, and we work with them a lot."

The emailer wraps up four pages of accusations with this statement: "In short, what goes on at ACPS with management and their favorite employees is ridiculous, unfair to everyone and may be illegal in some circumstances.

"The service provided the tax payers is not what is required by law, violates our own ordinances, and contains falsehoods. I think the tax payers of Jacksonville deserve more for their investments than to be treated that way. "

"Right now, none of those allegations has been substantiated," DeCamp said. "But our review is going on because we want to make sure we get to a final answer."

Denise Deisler with the Jacksonville Humane Society spoke to News4Jax Friday night about the allegations made against Animal Care and Protective Services

"I've had no concerns whatsoever with the quality of care and the integrity with which the city operates Animal Care and Protective Services. My concern is that these are people who work hard and I hate to see them being the victims of what feels like a mean-spirited attack by somebody," said Deisler. 

Deisler told News4Jax she doesn't believe it. She says the Humane Society, along with other animal agencies have partnered with A-C-P-S for years and said that 90% or more of the animals going into these shelters are saved. As for the rest, she said, deciding the appropriate action to take is not something any of the agencies take lightly.

"In any community, any shelter, there is always going to be some dogs and cats that we can't save. Either because they pose sa risk to the public, it would be too much of a risk to put them out there. Or becasue they are so sick we can't return them to a quality of life. In that case we might be facing the same kind of decision someone would make with their pet at home," said Deisler.  

Employee Services is conducting the full investigation.

About the Author: