‘Full of Love’ adoption event aims to get hundreds of dogs out of kennels and into fur-ever homes

The city of Jacksonville’s Animal Care and Protective Services hosted a “Full of Love” adoption event Saturday to get hundreds of dogs into permanent homes.

This comes as the facility has tackled big changes to improve its conditions.

The hope is for these dogs to find new homes as soon as possible.

“Jacksonville really cares about homeless pets. It is evident to see with a turnout like this,” Division Chief Michael Bricker said.

Bricker, who has been on the job for half a year, said adoptions, fostering, staff volunteer hours and outreach are up 5%.

Elaine Basham, attended the event Saturday to voice her concerns that she said stemmed from possible overcrowding and accusations that ACPS was euthanizing young animals without appropriate protocol.

Bricker addressed those concerns.

“If there is a severe, behavioral or medical issue, then sometimes those dogs do have to be euthanized. But even those, those are decisions that I made as a full team. We take all of the information that we have about that animal to make that decision,” Bricker said.

Bricker said the community is always free to visit their facility at any given time.

“I would like to have them volunteer their time here with us as some of these events that show exactly what we do to try and get the dogs out. We are doing so many cool, innovative, things to try and get things out of the kennels and into homes. The last thing we want to do is end the life of a dog too early for any reason,” Bricker said.

Basham took him up on the offer and had a conversation with Bricker and Mayor Donna Deegan.

“Both seem to be very committed and dedicated to it. They are not blowing it off, because every bark matters,” Basham said.

Basham said she’s now cautiously optimistic by what she heard and thinks there is some commitment to making things better.

“The idea of them being outside more often is really good and they are taking that very seriously. And they are working on the sanitation and that they get fed very well now,” Basham said. “I was very anxious and overly concerned. I know how bureaucracy is, and I wanted to touch base with the people who touched the dogs and see what their commitment was. I saw a lot of concern and a lot of promises.”

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City leaders, including Mayor Deegan and City Councilman Jimmy Peluso said funding increased from $4.8 million to $5.4 million in the last budget cycle.

“They have been very intentional about making sure that the facilities are cleaned on a regular basis, making sure there are enough volunteers to get these animals out on walks on a regular basis, to make sure that they can thrive while they are waiting to be adopted,” Deegan said.

There are 300 dogs housed at the facility. There are 264 kennels. But Bricker said there is some context that needs to be added to those numbers since it makes it sound like it’s severely overcrowded.

Bricker said a new way of doing things is co-housing some of the dogs.

“We are going to start bringing more dogs together and the same kennel. It is better for them. But that takes some staff training and some time,” Bricker said.

To make sure these dogs have a good quality of life while at this facility and prepping them for a happy life in a new home.

The same event will take place again Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Adoption fees will be waived for anyone who brings a donation of either cat food, dog food or non-perishable human food, like a canned good.

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