Best Friends Animal Society Awards First Coast No More Homeless Pets $340,000 Grant to Increase Dog-cat Adoptions from Jacksonville Shelters

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Best Friends Animal Society presents $340,000 grant

This is another example of a successful public-private partnership. This grant will continue to promote responsible pet ownership, while also helping us widen the opportunity for pet adoptions in the City of Jacksonville.

An estimated 2,700 homeless Jacksonville dogs and cats will have new hope of finding families in 2012, thanks to a $340,000 grant presented by Best Friends Animal Society® to one of the city’s leading animal welfare agencies.

The grant, presented to First Coast No More Homeless Pets (FCNMHP), will be used to help fund operation of FCNMHP’s Mandarin Adoption Center, as well as fund a team of FCNMHP staff members working at Jacksonville Animal Care & Protective Services. The team will work to leverage volunteers and donations in order to dramatically increase the number of cats and dogs adopted through a variety of efforts.

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown praised the development as a step forward to help save animals that find their way into Jacksonville animal shelters.

“This is another example of a successful public-private partnership, which started when Best Friends worked with the city on community cats,” said Mayor Brown. “This grant will continue to promote responsible pet ownership, while also helping us widen the opportunity for pet adoptions in the City of Jacksonville.”

Rick DuCharme, Executive Director of the adoption center, said the grant will be a big help to the adoption center during difficult economic times.

“Faced with the possible closure of the adoption center by the city, we were able to raise enough money to operate for six months,” DuCharme said. “With the grant from Best Friends, we can now operate for a full year and pursue our goal to double adoptions.”

Best Friends has been funding a program with First Coast No More Homeless Pets to spay/neuter free-roaming, unowned cats and reduce the number of cats entering into Jacksonville shelters. A success in each of the last three years, the program reduced the number of cats dying in the shelters by 4,500 a year. Overall shelter deaths decreased by 17 percent from the previous year.

“Jacksonville is proud to be a leader in dealing with community cats in a unique way for a major city. Our leadership in this area has brought representatives from dozens of cities from across the nation to Jacksonville to learn from our innovation and success,” said Mayor Brown.

“Best Friends has financially supported some of our programs over the last four years, but from an inspirational standpoint, Best Friends has been mentoring, educating and inspiring First Coast No More Homeless Pets for the last 10 years,” said DuCharme.

Gregory Castle, Chief Executive Officer of Best Friends Animal Society, said his organization has been impressed by the success of the program in recent years.

“We continue to be amazed by the accomplishments of our partnership with First Coast No More Homeless Pets,” said Castle. “We trust that our grant will not only continue this success but help First Coast No More Homeless Pets blaze new trails in animal welfare and save more lives.”

“Our FCNMHP team will work with the volunteers and the staff at Jacksonville Animal Control & Protective Services to assist dogs and cats who need extra help to make them more adoptable and thereby increase adoptions,” DuCharme said. “Between both agencies, our goal is to find homes for more than 2,700 dogs and cats.”

About Best Friends Animal Society®:
Best Friends Animal Society is a nonprofit organization building no-kill programs and partnerships that will bring about a day when there are No More Homeless Pets®. The society's leading initiatives in animal care and community programs are coordinated from its Kanab, Utah, headquarters, the country's largest no-kill sanctuary. This work is made possible by the personal and financial support of a grassroots network of supporters and community partners across the nation.

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About First Coast No More Homeless Pets
The mission of FCNMHP is to end the needless killing of cats and dogs through free and low-cost spay and neuter programs. Since 2001 more than 100,000 dogs and cats have been sterilized and benefited from these programs. FCNMHP also offers free pet food to qualified low-income pet owners through the FCNMHP Jacksonville Pet Food Bank. As of October 2011, FCNMHP took over operations of the Mandarin Adoption Center, now sponsored by Best Friends Animal Society. All adoptable pets are pulled from Jacksonville Animal Care and Protective Services to further lower the euthanasia rate. FCNMHP is a non-profit, 501(c) (3) organization. All donations are 100% tax deductible.

About Jacksonville Animal Care & Protective Services
As the largest and only open-admission shelter, ACPS handles between 18,000-20,000 animals annually with one of the lowest euthanasia rates for public shelters in Florida. ACPS investigates and prosecutes animal cruelty, neglect and other violations of the law. Recognized as the Outstanding Animal Control Association in Florida in 2011, ACPS has hosted dozens of interested shelters from across the nation wanting to learn from Jacksonville’s success. ACPS works under the philosophy that our homeless and unwanted pets are a community issue that is best resolved through public-private partnerships with shelters, pet placement partners and animal welfare organizations.

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