Riverside’s Animal Care and Protective Services has been living up to its name since its opening in Riverside in 2009.
Operating since March under Division Management Consultant Jim (The Chief) Crosby, ACPS takes in dogs and cats that have been abandoned, rescued or left to wander the streets and alleys of the Cultural Core as strays. Its dedicated staff and volunteers provide animals with all of their veterinary and behavioral needs.
And thanks to Friends of Jacksonville Animals, ACPS is even able to offer critical surgeries to animals in need — such as dogs that have been hit by cars or those suffering from heartworms. Although ACPS gives a lot of time and care, the facility wouldn’t be able to function without help from the community.
“The biggest challenge here is trying to change human behavior and to teach people to be responsible,” Crosby says.
Here are a few things you can do to help the shelter and the pets in our area.
1. Spay and Neuter
“Number one [is to] spay and neuter your animal,” Crosby advises.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ website, doing so not only has medical benefits – such as lowering the risk of cancer and infections – but behavioral ones as well. Pets may be better behaved and less likely to run away from home. Additionally, if your dog does get out, there is no risk of future stray pups if Roscoe is feeling raunchy.
2. Food, Water and Shelter
“Animals are not disposable,” Crosby says.
Sometimes it’s not a case of intended cruelty, either. The Chief explains that some pet owners don’t realize how hot it can be outside for a dog left in a backyard. Fortunately, there are educational resources at ACPS to ensure that pets are taken care of properly.
“Keep your animal licensed so that we can help get your pet back to you if you and the pet get separated. Licenses help us identify the animal and if an animal gets lost we can call you,” Crosby says.
“Donating is nice but … volunteering time is something I can’t buy. Give personal interaction to some of our animals. That, to me, is a more valuable donation than any check or dollar,” Crosby says. “A dog can’t snuggle up with a checkbook. A dog can spend 20 minutes a day snuggled up to a caring person and change that animal’s whole day.”
Volunteers also can assist in the behavioral, laundry, clinic, greeting and cleaning areas – among others.
“Bottom line is: just treat your animals kindly,” Crosby says. “Kindness goes a long way and that’s something I think people forget sometimes. They get so busy and involved in the day-to-day chaos going on around them that they forget to just take a breath and take some time. Be kind to your pet. Make sure your pet is part of your life and part of the family, not just a Paris Hilton accessory.
Find out more about adopting a pet on the City of Jacksonville’s website.