The Jacksonville Humane Society Offers Tips to Discourage Pet Surrender


Solutions to Common Pet Problems Help Families Keep Furry Friends

Jacksonville, FL– Families surrender pets to shelters because of behavior issues, allergies or lifestyle changes every day. The current economic crisis is creating added stress for many families, often leading them to surrender their pets. The Jacksonville Humane Society (JHS) offers solutions to common problems to help families keep their pets.

“Many people do not explore creative solutions to issues with their pets and turn to surrender,” said Leona Sheddan, executive director of JHS. “At JHS, we offer a number of services to assist people with a variety of pet-related issues.”

Sheddan and Renee Yaple, behavior manager at JHS, examine a number of reasons people surrender animals and solutions to those problems:

  • “My pet has behavior problems”

“If your pet has bad habits like chewing household items, urinating in the house or biting, it is important to see your veterinarian. Behavior issues can signify health problems,” said Yaple. “If your pet does not have any medical problems, try modifying your pet’s behaviors through training. Many organizations in Jacksonville, including JHS, offer training courses for pets and their families.”

  • “My dog barks constantly”

“Barking is sometimes caused by frustration or loneliness, so make sure you spend quality time with your dog each day and ensure that your dog has enough exercise,” said Yaple. “Training can help discourage barking.”

  • “My new apartment doesn’t allow pets”

“There are a lot of pet-friendly apartment complexes in Jacksonville,” said Sheddan. “Start contacting real estate agents and rental agencies six weeks before your move to inquire about pet-friendly housing. Many landlords require an extra security deposit for your pet, but the expense is usually minimal.”

  • “A family member is allergic to my pet”

“According to the Humane Society of the United States, 15 percent of the population is allergic to dogs or cats,” said Sheddan. “People can control their pet allergies by creating an ‘allergy-free’ zone (a room where pets are not allowed), using HEPA air cleaners and bathing pets weekly. If allergy symptoms persist, consult an allergist. The doctor can determine if you are reacting to the family pet or if you are sensitive to other allergens, like dust, pollen or smoke. An allergist can also prescribe medications to lessen symptoms.”

  • “I don’t have time to spend with my pet”

“You don’t need to spend huge blocks of time with your pet,” says Yaple. “If you spend five minutes talking to your cat, ten minutes walking your dog and an hour cuddling with your animals while watching television, you’ve given your pets much-desired attention. You will probably find that the time you spend with your pet is also relaxing and enjoyable for you.”

  • “My new pet doesn’t get along with my other pets”

“Expect some growling and scuffling when you bring a new pet into your home,” said Yaple. “Cats are territorial, and it is best to introduce them slowly. Dogs test their position in the household when a new animal joins the family, so it may take time for dogs to find their order in the new family pack.”

In addition to pet obedience and manners classes, JHS offers a behavior helpline manned by trained staff that can assist with correcting many behavior problems in dogs and cats. The free service is available by calling 904-725-8766, extension 227.

More information about JHS programs is available by calling 904-725-8766 or visiting

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 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.