Man surrenders 26 dogs from Westside Jacksonville home

ACPS says he had good intentions, but caring for the dogs became too much to handle

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More than two dozen dogs were removed from a home Tuesday on Jacksonville’s Westside.

Multiple officers with Animal Care and Protective Services and four large vans were used to slowly and carefully remove the 26 dogs of various sizes and breeds.

“I feel a big burden off my shoulders that they are going to a good home,” said the homeowner, Joseph Metts. “Somebody will take care of them.”

Metts, 72, said that what started as just two dogs soon grew rapidly -- and it became too much for him to care for.

“I love my animals, and I don’t want anything to happen to my animals, so I released them,” Metts said.

He released them into the custody of Animal Care and Protective Services so that officers could get the animals to a shelter where they can receive necessary medical attention and be adopted into a forever home.

Marci Gallo, manager of the animal control shelter, commended the owner for surrendering the dogs after realizing he could no longer care for them. She said that although the shelter typically takes in between 60 and 80 dogs each week, this specific removal of dogs was unusual.

“We don’t often see large cases like this. This may happen once every two or three months,” Gallo said.

Metts said it started with two dogs, which led to multiple litters of dogs in addition to dogs that were given to him to care for. He said before he knew it, he was buying 125-pounds of dog food each week.

Animal control said Metts had good intentions of caring for the dogs, but it was too much for him to handle. And it became an even bigger burden after his wife was admitted into the hospital and could not be with him to help manage the animals. On top of that, he said, the house needs work.

“I need help taking care of my house, getting it cleaned up, straightened up, and repaired so we can still live here,” Metts said.

Gallo says people who are open to taking in stray dogs should always get the animals spayed or neutered to help control the pet population. Too many dogs can be overwhelming when it comes to keeping your place clean. Gallo said it’s also important for dogs to have their immunizations.

Gallo had advise for residents who suspect their neighbor might be overwhelmed with animals.

“Reach out to your neighbor. Try the friendly approach first. Is there something you can do to help them like cleaning or maybe you can help provide transportation for them to get the animals in their home spayed or neutered,” Gallo said.

But if you feel the situation is much more severe and the city needs to get involved, you can report the issue through the city’s website.

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