Funds needed to complete low-cost pet clinic

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Construction continues on First Coast No More Homeless Pets' low-cost veterinary clinic on the Westside as the organization continues to raise funds for equipment to stock the facility.

A 13,000-square-foot warehouse that used to house a tile and marble business is being converted into a clinic in an area of Jacksonville where the group identified a need.

"From I-10 north all the way around the beltway to I-95, there's only one other veterinarian clinic in this part of town, so Northwest Jacksonville is entirely under-served when it comes to veterinarian care," FCNMHP founder Rick DuCharme said.

The clinic should be able to treat 300 animals a day -- three times what the group's current clinic can serve. 

"We're often a week or two weeks out for people to get an appointment at the existing clinic at Norwood (Avenue)," DuCharme said. "So if people call and they've got a sick pet, we've really got to stretch things to get them in."

An additional 50 employees will be hired so this clinic can offer many of the same services the nonprofit already offers, plus some additional services.

"We will be able to do things like hospitalization here, and we have isolation units. We have a lot more space for patients staying with us," DuCharme said. "We'll be able to do a lot of grooming here as well so that will be a fundraiser for our organization."

The new clinic will also house a food bank and transport center for the animals.

This project will cost $1.8 million. The building and construction are already paid for, but the clinic needs about $300,000 for equipment, including a surgical instrument stand, anesthesia machine, advanced cardiac monitor, wet table, surgery lights, surgical pack, ultrasound machine, rechargeable clippers, IV infusion pump, dental X-ray machine, recovery cage, otoscope, cage banks, classical stethoscope and more.

"It's really been exciting to watch these guys bring this building into a veterinarian clinic," DuCharme said. "We still need to raise a lot of money,"

The new clinic is expected to be open and fully operational by January. To help fund equipment for the building, visit FCNMHP.org