Rick DuCharme–founder and director of First Coast No More Homeless Pets in Jacksonville, FL–traces his path from a long career in sales, marketing and management in the heavy equipment industry into animal welfare and rescue. He discusses how those efforts included considerable research and volunteering in and around the Jacksonville area, then being appointed in 2001 to the Mayor’s Task Force For Animal Control. The Task Force’s recommendations–particularly developing targeted spay/neuter programs–led in a sense to DuCharme launching First Coast No More Homeless Pets in 2002. DuCharme addresses how, in the ensuing decade-plus, FCNMHP spawned various programs and innovations, including a small spay/neuter clinic focused as much on feral/community cats as domestic cats, the much-imitated Feral Freedom program, and more. He also talks about how, over the course of that decade or so, the numbers of animals euthanized in Jacksonville/Duval County plummeted, while the number of spay and neuter surgeries soared. In June of 2012, The Florida Times-Union ran a piece in its Op-Ed section that enthused “Duval County is within sight of becoming the first large city to become basically a no-kill city for pets,” awarding the lion’s share of credit to DuCharme. In the “Talking Animals” interview, he also weighs in on why No Kill and how to handle feral/community cats represent polarizing issues in come cities and counties.
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ALSO: We spoke briefly with Marilyn Weaver, on behalf of the then-upcoming annual daylong yard sale in Brandon that each year benefits a different nonprofit animal organization–this year, Wildlife Haven Rehab was to benefit, and Weaver provided a quick overview of their work. (http://www.
MUSIC: Gene Vincent’s “Cat Man,” Aimee Mann’s “Labrador,” instrumentals