Free pet adoptions designed to reduce overcrowded shelters

Kittens especially are overflowing shelters, in need of foster, permanent homes

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In Duval County, animal shelters are at capacity. The Jacksonville Humane Society and the City’s Animal Care and Protective Services have more than 300 animals at each of their shelters. In order to alleviate the issue, the shelters offered free adoptions this weekend.

“Summertime is an interesting time for shelters," said Lindsay Layendecker, senior manager of education and outreach at the Jacksonville Humane Society. "Kitten season is the number one reason that animals are coming into shelters more than anything else,” she said.

Layendecker said between the Humane Society and the Animal Care and Protective Services, the two shelters have taken in about 2,000 kittens since this is the time of year known for kitten births.

“The other reason is adoptions seem to slow down in the summer. People tend to go on vacation. They think it's not the best time to adopt,” she said. 

That's what triggered the free adoption offers over the weekend. On Saturday, JHS completed 49 adoptions, while ACPS finalized 17. Both agencies hope more people will open their hearts and homes to pets in need.

Layendecker offered some tips in case you come across cats or kittens. “The first thing you want to do is stop and look for the mother. If you find kittens under a bush, tucked away somewhere, they have a mother cat, and she is most likely gone to find a food source, or she was spooked by you and she ran,” she said. It’s a myth that a mother cat will abandon her kittens.  

“So often, as humans, our heartstrings pull at us, and we want to scoop up the babies and bring them somewhere safe, but the safest place is to stay their mother,” Layendecker said.

She also suggests you look for a clipped ear on a cat. That could indicate the feline was fixed then released.

As for a stray or lost and found dog, she adds, "A great thing to do is to put the dog on a leash and walk it around the neighborhood to see if anyone recognizes it, or something a lot of people might not think of is put a sign in your front yard, like a for sale sign, so if people are walking around looking for the dog, they will know what it is.”

You can also bring a lost pet to a veterinarian and have it scanned for a microchip.

“Anything you can do to help that one dog will stop the dog from being one of the thousands in shelters,” she said. "If you find an animal in a dangerous situation, of course, bring it into the shelter," but she stresses that by taking care of the animal or fostering it will help reduce the overcrowding at shelters. 

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