Target: Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown
Goal: Stop budget cuts to Jacksonville’s animal shelters from passing
Despite Jacksonville, Florida’s strong effort to reach “no-kill” status, city leaders have proposed deep cuts to the Animal Care and Protective Services budget that will essentially make Jacksonville’s shelters unable to care for animals at all. If the budget passes in October, shelters will become little more than places for stray animals to be euthanized. This budget must be stopped before Jacksonville’s hard work is ruined and its animals are the ones who suffer.
Mayor Alvin Brown’s new proposal reduced each department’s budget to achieve a 14 percent reduction across the board. In order to reach that number the city shelter will stop accepting owner-surrendered and other “over-the-counter” animals, more than 2,000 of which were rescued in 2012. A maximum 14-day shelter stay will also be enforced; therefore, if a dog or cat is not adopted within 14 days it will be euthanized. Perhaps the most disconcerting aspect of the budget proposal is Mayor Brown’s complete lack of empathy or understanding regarding the matter. In a statement, Brown said the budget was balanced and reflected hard work and shared sacrifice. The sacrifice, however, isn’t shared. If the budget passes thousands of animals who had absolutely no voice in the proposal will be senselessly euthanized. How can the sacrifice be shared when those who are hurt most don’t have the chance to protect their own lives?
Animal welfare groups and non-profits throughout Florida are outraged, and reasonably so. Denise Deisler, executive director of the Jacksonville Humane Society, responded to Brown, saying, “We are relegating our Animal Care and Protective Services to acting as tax-funded exterminators, unconscionable especially considering their lifesaving, award-winning achievements and commitment to no kill.” Essentially, if the budget cuts pass they will be running on bare essentials. Mero, a volunteer, said, “If this year’s cuts are approved, it will be devastating,” she said. “It will become nothing more than a holding place for owners who have lost their pets. All others will be euthanized. This can’t happen.”
Mero is absolutely right. This cannot happen. All of the time and effort Jacksonville’s volunteers and animal welfare groups have made to be an example for the rest of the country must not be erased. The animals of Jacksonville must not be erased. Please sign the petition below to keep this budget proposal from passing.
Dear Mayor Brown,
You recently proposed a series of budget cuts across several of Jacksonville’s departments. One of the most severe of these cuts is to the city’s Animal Care and Protective Services that will completely destroy the progress shelters have made toward no-kill status and also put thousands of animals at risk.
In a statement you made in response to the general outcry, you described the budget proposal as a “shared sacrifice.” This is an appallingly ignorant and heartless remark. The sacrifice is in no way shared. Thousands of animals will be euthanized who would otherwise be saved, as the result of your budget proposal. These animals are the only ones who will make the true sacrifice and they had absolutely no say in the matter. I demand that you retract this budget proposal immediately and keep it from not only destroying so many lives, but also destroying the work that so many volunteers and animal rights groups have selflessly done so that these animals can be saved.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Le Howl Studio via Flickr