JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A local woman has raised enough money to save a litter of puppies from being aborted, thanks to First Coast News viewers.
Jessica Perkins showed up to the Jacksonville Animal Care and Protective Services (ACPS) on Monday, wanting to pick-up a pregnant dog she said she rescued about two months ago. She named her Lucy.
"She found us," Perkins said. "We circled the neighborhood that had dogs in cages in the yard that were similar to her size and breed. We asked [a neighbor] if they were missing a dog and they said ‘nope, not ours.'" [Lucy] seemed familiar with them so we just assumed they had enough and didn’t want to take responsibility so we did."
A few weeks after owning Lucy, Perkins said it became obvious the dog was pregnant. Perkins said she slipped under the fence and reported her disappearance to the city and on Facebook.
"Someone contacted me and said they brought her here to the shelter," she said.
Perkins received a confirmation number and drove straight to ACPS to pick Lucy up, but it wasn’t as easy as she expected.
"She’s previously microchipped to someone else," Perkins said. "[ACPS] would have to do a stray hold and at that point they would have to spay her before she is adopted."
"I let them know that she is extremely pregnant, but they said it didn’t matter, they will abort the puppies and spay her before she can be adopted," she explained.
Perkins said ACPS tried tracking down Lucy's original owner through the microchip, but told First Coast News that the information wasn't current. As a result, Lucy was placed on a six-day stray hold "which allows owners the opportunity to reclaim lost dogs... [Perkins] will be able to retrieve the dog at the end of the stray hold period, if the registered owner does not come forward."
ACPS also said that according to the City of Jacksonville, all dogs and cats submitted to ACPS are required to be sterilized before they are redeemed or adopted. However, ACPS released a statement saying Perkins can have the sterilization done herself:
"If an owner chooses to have a specific veterinarian perform the sterilization, the owner must provide a $500 deposit, to be refunded after proof of sterilization within 30 days. In an effort to support this citizen's interest while complying with laws and ordinances, the dog will be released to her on July 11th after the $500 deposit is paid."
Asking the public for help via GoFundMe:
Perkins said she’s set up a GoFundMe account to try and raise the money needed to pick up Lucy and her puppies.
Perkins said that once she is refunded the fee, she will donate proceeds to the animal shelter.
Shortly after our story aired, viewers raised nearly $900 on the GoFundMe page.
Volunteers at animal control said their shelters are so full right now to the point that they are having difficulty sustaining their usual ‘no-kill’ standard, which is why some animals are still having to be euthanized during their ’no-kill’ months.
However, volunteers tell First Coast News that this weekend, ACPS is taking part in a "Mega-adoption" event to try and alleviate the problem.
Thanks to the Petco Foundation, the Jacksonville Fairgrounds will have more than 1,000 adoptable pets available this Friday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The $20 adoption fee will include spay/neuter, microchip, vaccines, and city license fee. If you're active or retired military, your adoptions will be free.
Below is a video by ACPS regarding the overcrowding issue at its shelters: