Jacksonville has long been recognized as a national leader in animal welfare programs and policies. The collaborative efforts of First Coast No More Homeless Pets, The Jacksonville Humane Society and Animal Care & Protective Services have provided leadership and support to dedicated community members who volunteer their time, talent and passion to provide care and trapping services for feral cats. Their hard work, with the support of the agencies, has resulted in tens of thousands of feral cats being vaccinated and sterilized over the years.
This unique partnership has grown — even as the need and demand for services has grown — through a variety of free or low-cost spay/neuter programs. Now, as we face new challenges brought on by the pandemic and the unprecedented growth of our region, our systems are strained by the continued increase in demand not only for spay/neuter services but also for the unique animal welfare resources each agency offers.
As a group we are committed to continually evaluating feral cat programs community-wide, in an effort to improve and expand program and service delivery and to increase support for volunteer trappers and community members.
Together we pledge to provide more updates as conditions and programs evolve. In the meantime, we ask feral cat trappers and caretakers to be both understanding and supportive of our long-term efforts as all three partner agencies adapt to the changing environment with short-term policy adjustments. Our ability to help and the services we are able to provide are determined based on capacity and available resources. Changes throughout the season are a result of fluctuating circumstances. This is why following the Don’t Kitnap procedure, a process that gives kittens the best chance of survival, is so important for our community.
Jacksonville will remain a leader in practices that humanely control the cat population because of this successful collaboration and designated financial support from a variety of sources, and because of the passionate work of volunteers willing to roll up their sleeves and be a part of the solution.
As an additional resource, FCNMHP, JHS and ACPS have together created Jacksonville’s Guide to Community Cats to provide information for the public to help care for and advocate for feral/community cats.