JACKSONVILLE, Fla -- Since 2014 the city’s Animal Care and Protective Services, or ACPS, has been labeled a 'no-kill shelter' along with the Jacksonville Humane Society. The two shelters work together, taking in thousands of animals each year.
However, the term “no-kill” can be misleading since hundreds of animals are also euthanized in those shelters each year.
This story piqued the curiosity of First Coast News on Thursday morning when ACPS posted a video on their Facebook page showing "bottle baby" aged kittens in need of a home as soon as possible. In the video, they say, "If they’re not picked up by 5:30 today they could be euthanized."
It caused a flurry of concern from many people who wanted to help out but couldn't that soon. Fortunately, the city says all of the kittens in the video were fostered out in time.
ACPS tried to answer some questions online about their shelter and why some animals have to be euthanized and others don’t, saying:
“Puppies and kittens that are not able to eat on their own require bottle feeding every few hours so it is not humane to house them in the shelter overnight without feedings due to the high likelihood that they will die from not eating. If we have bottle babies at the end of the day and have no foster families or staff able to take them overnight, then euthanasia becomes the only humane option.”
Their partners, the Jacksonville Humane Society, has a little more freedom since they are not run by the city. Executive Director Denise Deisler says they will not allow any of their kittens or puppies to be euthanized. If there isn't a home for them overnight they will take them home themselves.
"If at the end of the day someone says I have a litter of five kittens and I don't have a foster home for them," said Deisler, "They might just have to go home with me tonight because those are kittens we can save."
To qualify as a 'no-kill' shelter Deisler says at least 90% of the animals they take in must be released alive.
To verify that number we combed through several documents for both agencies and we found that they were holding up their end of the bargain:
TOTAL PERCENTAGE OF ANIMALS WHO LEFT JACKSONVILLE SHELTERS ALIVE IN 2015: 93%
TOTAL PERCENTAGE OF ANIMALS WHO LEFT JACKSONVILLE SHELTERS ALIVE IN 2016: 93%
While those numbers are comforting, there are other numbers we found that could still seem alarming regarding the number of animals euthanized over the past three years at the Jacksonville Humane Society (JHS) and Jacksonville Animal Contrl (ACPS):
2015 INTAKE NUMBERS:
ANIMALS EUTHANIZED IN 2015:
TOTAL = 855
2016 INTAKE NUMBERS:
ANIMALS EUTHANIZED IN 2016:
TOTAL = 793
For 2017 JHS has data through March, showing that 20 animals have been euthanized in the first three months of this year.
ACPS has only posted numbers for January and February of this year so far, showing that 110 animals have been euthanized in the first two months of this year.
Perhaps the most surprising statistic was when we looked at individual months. For example, this past February at ACPS 44 dogs and 19 cats were euthanized in one month.
JHS has a foster class on saturday April 29th at 10 am if you are interested in learning more about fostering or adopting an animal in need of care.
For a more detailed explanation on ACPS's 'no-kill' policy you can read their full statement here on their Facebook in the comments sections below.