ACPS Announces Appointment-Based Approach for Animal Intake

August 12, 2022  
Exterior of ACPS Building

As we have previously reported, Animal Care and Protective Services (ACPS) continues to experience overcrowding in the animal shelter. This level of overcrowding exceeds the shelter’s capacity for care and must be addressed to improve conditions for the animals, as well as the staff and volunteers working tirelessly to care for them. That’s why beginning Tuesday, August 16, ACPS will temporarily require appointments for the intake of all animals in non-emergency situations. In response to nationwide overcrowding, this move is recommended and supported by the National Animal Care and Control Association, and is being implemented in shelters across the country.

“This temporary change is necessary to allow our staff to focus on urgent and critical situations, and to provide better service to the community. It will also allow staff to identify and prepare a location in the shelter for the animal to be housed if shelter admission is determined to be the best option,” said Jennifer Walter, ACPS Division Chief.

In order to implement this appointment-based approach, walk-ins and unscheduled surrenders for non-emergency situations will be paused until further notice. Instead, ACPS is requesting that anyone who finds a lost pet call, text, or email before transporting them directly to the shelter.

Requests for admission of found pets will be evaluated by a staff member to identify if there is a solution that does not involve the pet coming to the shelter. The urgency of the situation, lack of alternatives, and the capacity of the shelter will determine whether admission will be scheduled the same day or at a later date.

“We anticipate keeping this temporary policy in place through November 30th to coincide with Hurricane Season and peak intake months, or until the shelter population is better aligned with the capacity for care,” Walter said.

If you find a lost pet and choose to intervene, we ask that you please attempt to assist in locating the owner. Dogs found and kept in their neighborhood are 85% more likely to get back home and most are reunited within 24 hours of being found. After entering the shelter, only about 20% are reunited with their owners. Shelter staff can be contacted by phone, text or email Tuesday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Phone/text: 904-362-0626

 To help lost pets get back home:

  • Walk the neighborhood. Talk to community members to see if they recognize the pet.
  • Look for flyers and signs.
  • Use social media. Post the pet on sites like Nextdoor, Facebook, and Petco Love Lost.
  • Scan for a microchip.

Animal Code Enforcement Officers will continue to provide service in the community without interruption. The Adoption Center hours will remain the same. Adopters and fosters continue to be urgently needed.

To report concerns with animals in the community or for general questions and information, an online request can be submitted online at or by calling 904-630-2489.

More information on the National Animal Care and Control Association’s guidelines on appointment-based pet intake into shelter can be found here:

About ACPS: ACPS enhances the quality of life in our neighborhoods by offering quality pets for adoption at a reasonable cost. ACPS is dedicated to providing a high level of service to the citizens of Jacksonville and to saving lives of all adoptable animals in our community.  Animal Care and Protective Services can be reached via email at or call (904) 630-CITY (2489).