Jacksonville Humane Society partners with Sulzbacher Center to shelter homeless people and their pets

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (January 5, 2010) – The Jacksonville Humane Society (JHS) is helping the Sulzbacher Center keep homeless people and their pets warm as freezing temperatures sweep the First Coast. JHS will house homeless families’ dogs and cats, allowing people to stay in shelters on cold nights.

“Prior to the 2007 fire that destroyed the majority of our facility, we worked closely with the Sulzbacher Center to keep people and their pets warm on frigid winter nights,” said Leona Sheddan, executive director of JHS. “Because of post-fire space constraints, we have not had the capacity to continue this partnership. However, during this long cold spell, we felt it was vital to ensure homeless people and their pets have shelter from the freeze.”

“Homeless people are sometimes reluctant to seek shelter because they will not be able to bring their pets with them,” said Audrey Moran, president and CEO of the Sulzbacher Center. “This partnership gives us the chance to make sure people and their pets are kept safe from freezing temperatures.”

Everyday, JHS will pick up homeless people’s animals at 3:30 p.m. from the Sulzbacher Center at 611 East Adams Street. All people participating in the program must arrive at the Sulzbacher Center no later than 2:30 p.m. and sign temporary surrender forms. People do not have to be clients of the Sulzbacher Center to participate in the program.

JHS’s staff veterinarian will check all pets and administer necessary inoculations before housing them. JHS will keep the animals in separate crates with blankets overnight and will return animals to their owners at 10:30 a.m. the next morning. People and their pets can return to the Sulzbacher Center at 2:30 p.m. through Jan. 10 for shelter. In the event of future cold spells, JHS and the Sulzbacher Center will reinstate the program.

JHS will house all pets participating in the program in the facility’s warehouse, which is usually used to store food and other supplies. All crates and the warehouse floor will be disinfected each day. JHS will keep all dogs and cats in this program isolated from adoptable JHS animals to prevent the spread of disease.

Animals that are not reclaimed by their owners after the program will become the property of JHS or transferred to the City of Jacksonville’s Animal Care & Protective Services.

JHS is accepting cash donations and sheets, blankets and towels to help care for the animals. Donations can be made at the JHS facility at 8464 Beach Boulevard or by calling 904.725.8766.

About the Jacksonville Humane Society

The Jacksonville Humane Society, founded in 1885, serves more than 4,000 animals each year. JHS is a non-profit, no-kill center for animal welfare and education that serves as a resource for all companion-animal related issues. The organization is dedicated to finding loving, permanent homes for animals by matching people with the pet that is right for them.

About the Sulzbacher Center

Sulzbacher Center provides the opportunity for homeless men, women and children to achieve a better life. The center’s comprehensive services include street outreach, daily meals, safe shelter, case management support, job placement assistance, medical, dental, and mental health care as well as scattered-site housing. Every day, the Sulzbacher Center is home to more than 300 homeless members of our community–many of whom are children. For more information, visit www.sulzbachercenter.org.

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Media contact:

Michelle Gilliam
Jacksonville Humane Society
904.725.8766 x 243(office)
904.859.8606 (cell)

Sara Dougherty

Sulzbacher Center
904.394.1646 (office)
904.859.8150 (cell)