Sunday, November 1 kicks off National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week. This campaign was started in 1996 as a way to acknowledge and promote the invaluable role shelters play in their communities and to increase public awareness of animal welfare issues and shelter services. There are many ways you can help your area animal shelter. Here are just a few ideas:
Volunteer. Shelters need help cleaning cages, walking dogs, grooming cats, playing with rabbits, etc. If you have allergies and still want to help, consider offering administrative assistance. Many shelters need help stuffing envelopes, for example.
Donate. Even if you can’t provide monetary donations, go through your closets and pull old blankets and towels that you no longer need. Shelters can always use extra bedding for the animals. You can also donate toys for the animals. Cats LOVE faux fur mice and what dog doesn’t love a chew toy?
Adopt. Studies show that only 18 percent of dogs and 16 percent of cats are adopted from shelters. The majority of animals are purchased from pet stores or breeders, from ads in the newspaper, or given by friends and neighbors. Be sure to choose your next pet from your local shelter, which has so many wonderful dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, and birds all waiting for permanent homes. Even if you have your heart set on a purebred animal, studies show that 30 percent of the animals in shelters are purebred. For a listing of Santa Barbara area rescue groups, animal controls, and humane societies, visit animaladoptionsolutions.com. If you don’t see what you’re looking for at an area animal shelter, you can visit petfinder.com and search by your zip code for the breed, sex, and size of the animal you’re looking to adopt. Since November is also Adopt a Senior Pet month, consider adopting an older animal, or encourage your senior citizen friends and family members to adopt a senior pet.
Vote for the animals. Support politicians and legislation that helps protect animals.
Be a voice for the animals. Speak up for animals by reporting animal cruelty, helping an injured or stray animal, and teaching your children to respect all forms of life.
Spay or neuter your pet. Overpopulation is the single greatest threat to domestic animals today. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that 4 million-5 million cats and dogs are euthanized annually in our nation’s shelters simply because of lack of homes. This breaks down to one animal being euthanized every nine seconds! In addition, it is believed that much of the neglect and cruelty endured by animals is a direct result of overpopulation.
Own your pet for life. If you own a pet, remember that it is a lifetime commitment. Many of us pet owners will get married, have children, move, start a new job, etc., throughout our pet’s lifetime. When these changes occur, it should not be a reason to give up your pet.
Animal shelters across the nation take care of countless unwanted animals. They care for these animals by keeping them happy and healthy until they can find permanent, loving homes. Some shelters even investigate animal cruelty, help owners find their lost pets, and even provide spay and neuter services. To ease the efforts that shelters go through everyday, 365 days a year, the best thing you can do is not be part of the problem. Celebrate National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week by becoming part of the solution!
Montecito Pet Shop Starts Selling Shelter Dogs Only
Last Chance for Animals (LCA) has succeeded in convincing another pet store to carry only rescue dogs! The Montecito Pet Shop in Santa Barbara will no longer buy pure breed puppies from breeders but instead will only re-home shelter dogs.
Santa Barbara residents contacted Kim Sill, who heads LCA’s “Pet Shop Project,” wanting to protest the pet store after watching the special Dog Whisperer episode: Inside Puppy Mills this past May. LCA’s investigation of the Pet Shop determined that the store was buying pure bred puppies from backyard breeders. Elyse Kuhn, who has owned the Montecito Pet Shop for 22 years, agreed to work with LCA after many meetings with Sill. She decided it was time to help the dogs on death row in the overcrowded shelters in California instead of participating as part of the problem.
On October 23, the Montecito Pet Shop welcomed their first litter of rescued puppies to their store. Sill delivered the six eight-week old pups, the last of the dogs to be removed off the Bemis property in Mojave. “It was very rewarding to watch the change in perceptions as the customers viewed the rescue puppies,” Sill said. “The mood is different when people know that it is a rescue, there is hope and there is change in Santa Barbara tonight.”
Last Chance for Animals is working toward a day in making Los Angeles a no-kill city, where pet stores no longer support puppy mills and breeders, but shelter animals and rescue groups. LCA is committed to overseeing and endorsing pet stores in Los Angeles that are willing to change their business practice and re-home shelter animals. According to Last Chance for Animals, more than 200,000 pets have been killed in California shelters alone this year.
Adoptable Pet of the Week
Meet Nutmeg, a long-haired, tortoise-shell with silky fur the color of autumn that says “pet me!” She’s a little shy at first, but is friendly and playful and good company when she gets to know you. This four-year-old likes attention and petting (on her terms!) but also enjoys time by herself. Nutmeg would probably prefer being the only cat in your life, but she gets along with dogs.
To learn more about Nutmeg, call the Santa Barbara Animal Shelter Assistance Program (ASAP) at 683-3368 or visit asapcats.org. ASAP is located at the SB Animal Shelter, 5473 Overpass Road. (just beyond the Humane Society). Regular business hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.; closed Sundays.