JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Humane Society was recently awarded a $900,000 grant from Petco Love, a nonprofit organization out of San Antonio that is committed to animal welfare.
The money will pay for a three-year program called Florida Leaders in Lifesaving — which the Humane Society believes will save the lives of dogs and cats that are housed in kill shelters across the state.
This fully-funded program is designed to accomplish two goals: Train employees of animal care organizations and shelters across the state so that they can do a better job of saving the lives of animals and also connect smaller shelters that have fewer resources with larger shelters that have an abundance of resources.
“We put it together to help other organizations across the state — large, small government, nonprofit — increase their lifesaving,” said JHS executive director Denise Deisler.
Deisler says Florida currently ranks as the fourth worst state in the country when it comes to saving the lives of cats and dogs that end up in shelters, specifically shelters that euthanize dogs and cats when shelter space runs low. JHS has a proven track record of being a no-kill shelter. This is why it will be training shelters across the state on how to increase animal adoption rates, as well as how to secure more donations to keep those shelters running.
Rick Hunyati, a coordinator for the Orange County Animal Shelter in Orlando, came to Jacksonville to tour the Humane Society campus to get new ideas. He says employees at his shelter will benefit from the training being offered.
“We’re going to be, in the springtime, sending some of our staff up ere to do some of that training in-house, but also Jacksonville Humane has said they will come down to us and help with training, as well,” he said.
In addition to training, JHS will see to it that well-equipped shelters in larger cities across Florida partner with smaller shelters located in rural areas that are struggling.
“The other integral piece of this is connecting people and addressing the gaps in services. So who has excess space they might be able to address for a neighboring community to help them with? So that over time, we have equilibrium and a dog or cat’s fate should not depend on what county they happen to be in,” Deisler said.
The program also helps with the transport of animals from smaller shelters that may need to be taken to larger shelters that have more room. This is another example of how the program is designed to save the lives of cats and dogs.