Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

UNDER CONSTRUCTION; Second Clinic for First Coast No More Homeless Pets Seeks Sponsors

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

UNDER CONSTRUCTION; Second Clinic for First Coast No More Homeless Pets Seeks Sponsors

Article excerpt

Byline: Beth Reese Cravey

Rick DuCharme led visitors through what will be First Coast No More Homeless Pets' second veterinary clinic, pointing out small paper signs tacked onto walls in the under-renovation building.

The signs either pointed to a space in need of a funding sponsor or showed a photo of a piece of equipment in need of a donor to pay for it - and the cost. Exam room, $10,000. Bathing station, $4,000. Medicine safe, $2,000. Dog kennel, $500. Rechargeable clippers, $285.

DuCharme, founder and executive director of the Jacksonville nonprofit, urged his guests to think about the nonprofit's mission - saving pets' lives - and keep their checkbooks handy.

"Feel free to snatch one of those signs off the wall," he said. "Don't be shy."

Past donors and other supporters took tours of the Cassat Avenue site late last week at a "hard hat party," with DuCharme updating the renovation's progress and what services the clinic will provide when it opens, likely in January.

In 2014, the nonprofit paid $500,000 for a three-building complex near Highway Avenue that last housed a tile store but had been vacant for about seven years. The main 10,000-square-foot building is being renovated into the nonprofit's second low-cost full service clinic - the first one is on Norwood Avenue - and the adjacent 13,000-square-foot garage will be a transport hub and pet food bank. A 3,000-square-foot space will house some administrative offices, DuCharme said.

The total renovation cost is about $1.8 million for what will be called the Mary Lou Russell Animal Welfare Complex, including the Joseph A. Strasser Veterinary Medical Center, named after two major donors.

The complex will offer many of the same services that are offered at the Norwood location, including pet veterinary care and surgery, dental care and a pet food bank. The new site also will offer grooming services, but spay and neuter surgeries will be only at the Norwood site.

The nonprofit estimated the new site, in an area with few veterinarian services and no low-cost animal clinics, will serve about 250 clients a day, compared to the 80 to 100 a day at Norwood Avenue. …

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