First Coast No More Homeless Pets

First Coast No More Homeless Pets

When First Coast No More Homeless Pets (FCNMHP) was founded in 2002, Jacksonville, Florida, was considered one of the worst cities in the nation for the killing of dogs and cats in shelters. As a result of our collaborative and comprehensive programs, Jacksonville is now considered one of the best. We operate the largest spay/neuter facility in the nation, performing 31,125 targeted free or low-cost surgeries last year, organize the nation’s largest adoption events where approximately1,000 homeless pets find new homes in a single weekend, and have programs designed to keep pets in the homeand out of shelters. These programs have reduced euthanasia at the city shelter from more than 23,000 dogs and cats annually in 2002 to just over 1,000. Jacksonville is now one of the largest cities in the nation to be no-kill. Our programs have become a model for communities across the country.

One of our adoption initiatives, Teaching Animals and Inmates Life Skills (TAILS), takes hard-to-adopt dogs from the city shelter and places them in four Florida prisons. The dogs are paired with a team of three inmates who have been taught to care for, socialize and train them. After a 10 week training session, the dogs graduate and are ready to be adopted-as have most of them to date.

This program not only helps the dogs, but it also helps the inmates, giving them a sense of purpose and helping them to heal. One inmate, suffering from PTSD, said the dogs “reopened his wounds and let them heal from within.” Another spoke of how the dogs opened him up, allowing him to trust again.  One wrote that the dogs are “showing me what unconditional love really is. And giving me back my heart.  I hope and plan to help these dogs as long as God will allow.”

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