The future of the Jacksonville Humane Society shines bright with the completion of their new $15 million facility back in November 2017. The 2018 Mutt March marked the first time the society held this event in their new space.
The Mutt March is an annual fundraiser hosted by the organization to raise money for the animals. It signifies community engagement and overall support for the Humane Society.
The community has been essential to the growth of this organization after a devastating fire ravaged the facility’s ground 10 years ago. More than 150 animals were trapped inside when the fire began. Firefighters battled against 30 to 40 foot flames as they tried to save the animals. At least 80 pets were rescued, but the society lost 19 dogs and 67 cats. Adding to the sadness, four firefighters were injured in the fight. Fortunately, no human lives were lost.
“The new building is like a coming home for us. We lost our facility 10 years ago in a fire and just recently finally rebuilt and it’s everything we hoped we would be and we really see it as a center for the community,” said Amy Pierce, Development Director.
“A place where the community can come and enjoy themselves, and find a new friend and find the help and resources they need.”
The Humane Society could not have achieved such success without the help from their community. They use this facility to give back to those who helped them in their time of need.
“The community jumped right into action, and was able to help us right away,” said Lindsay Layendecker, Co-Development Director. “We have our community resource center which offers everything from free behavior counseling, we offer rehoming services, we have low cost vet care for the community as well.”
The Jacksonville Humane Society offers more than just pet adoption. They also provide services that include a children’s camp, reading program and dog obedience classes.
Michelle Trainor, a local Mutt March participant, is excited about all the society has but hopes that their main mission, pet adoption, is not ignored. She hopes it raises awareness about the need for adoption.
“I know for a long time they didn’t have any place to house animals indoors so this is really fantastic,” Trainor said. “I’m just hoping it raises awareness and makes more people aware of the need for adoption.”