One of the nation’s first no-kill animal shelters is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Animal Shelter Assistance Program, aka ASAP, is a nonprofit organization that cares for an average of 1,000 cats and kittens annually who are awaiting adoption at the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter.

Angela Walters Rockwell, executive director at ASAP states: “After 25 years, the heart and soul of ASAP remains the same–each and everyone of us, independently and collectively, has decided that these lives of these cats matter.”

Lisa Acho Remorenko

ASAP was founded in 1989 by a group of volunteers who assumed responsibility for the care of all adoptable cats taken in by the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter. Within 15 months of being established, ASAP became the first organization within a municipal shelter to stop killing adoptable cats for the purpose of population control.

ASAP is not your typical animal shelter: It is a warm, inviting environment with homeless cats that actually seem content living in a state-of-the-art facility complete with 226 cages. ASAP is equipped with three outdoor runs as well as a surgery room, a room for sick cats, and an isolation room. You’ll witness some cats walking around and stretching their legs, others lounging in the sun in one of the outdoor runs, and the majority of the others curled up on blankets in their cages dreaming of finding a home.

Each cat that comes into ASAP is given a full medical evaluation before being placed up for adoption. Included in the medical evaluation is spay or neuter surgery, flea treatment, vaccinations, de-worming, testing for Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, and a full blood panel evaluation for cats over ten.

ASAP has a great program for those who want to help, but who don’t have room for another cat in their life. For $30, you can sponsor a shelter cat at ASAP. That money helps provide food, shelter, and veterinary care for your sponsored cat while he/she awaits adoption into a permanent home. As a sponsor you receive a certificate with a picture of your sponsored cat, along with ASAP’s Newsletter and a postcard notification when your sponsored kitty is adopted. To sponsor a cat, visit ASAP in person or email them at HYPERLINK “”

Another way to help ASAP is to volunteer your time. ASAP shelter volunteers participate in routine cat care and upkeep of the facility, which includes feeding, grooming, cleaning cat cages, laundry, and housekeeping details at the shelter seven days a week, 365 days a year. If you are interested in volunteering, you can view the requirements online HYPERLINK “”

ASAP currently has 52 cats at the shelter, 25 adult cats in foster, 2 mom cats with newborn kittens in foster and another 6 kittens in foster. ASAP expects to have well over 100 cats and kittens by the end of April.

If you are thinking of adopting a cat or kitten, stop by the facility at 5473 Overpass Road, off Patterson Avenue during regular business hours (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; closed Sundays). For more information and to see some of their adoptable cats, you can visit ASAP on the web at HYPERLINK “”


ASAP is throwing their 25th Anniversary Celebration bash on Saturday, May 17, 5:30-9 p.m. at QAD: 100 Innovation Place, Summerland. They’ll have drinks and hors d’oeuvres, an exciting program with raffle items and a live auction, followed by a light dinner and dancing to one of our community’s hottest bands, Area 51. You won’t want to miss it, so get your tickets before they sell out! For more information, visit HYPERLINK “”

ASAP wants to hear your adoption story.

Did you adopt a cat (or cats!) from ASAP? Tell us about your cat, the adoption experience; what made it special for you.

Have you been an ASAP volunteer? Tell us what that was (is) like for you, what you’ve done, and why you chose to make ASAP a part of your life.

Did you lose a cat, or need other help with a cat-related issue that led you to ASAP? Tell us about your experience, and how ASAP was (we hope!) able to help you.

Complete the 2014 Anniversary Stories form so we can add your story to our collection, as we look back at 25 years of challenges and successes. We’ll feature some of the top stories on our Facebook page as well as at our first-ever party/fundraiser! If you have pictures, follow the instructions on the form to add those to our collection! For more information, visit HYPERLINK “”

Adoptable Pet of the Week

Sophie is a beautiful long-haired muted calico cat looking for a forever home. This 7-year-old is a friendly sweet mature girl who loves being brushed, petted, and pampered. She will hiss but is not at all aggressive, and she loves attention but will let you know when she has had enough! Sophie gets along with other cats and also with dogs.


To meet Sophie and other available cats needing loving homes, visit ASAP at the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter, 5473 Overpass Road. Hours are: weekdays, 9 a.m.-4:45 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.. For more information, call the ASAP office at 683-3368 or visit their website at

Animal Shelter Assistance Program (ASAP) is a volunteer-based, non-profit organization that takes care of the cats and kittens at the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter. ASAP provides humane care for these animals and works to eliminate the practice of euthanizing them for reasons other than serious health or behavior problems.

The following is included in the adoption fee at ASAP: Spay or neuter surgery, Flea treatment, Vaccinations, Microchipping, Health evaluation, including testing for Feline Leukemia (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). Cats thought to be 10 years or older receive a full blood panel evaluation, thus assuring that the cat is indeed healthy and adoptable, Medical and drug coverage through ASAP’s vet for 2 weeks beyond adoption, if necessary, Temperament evaluation and Cat Carrier (you can save the County money by bringing your own).

Lisa Acho Remorenko is executive director of Animal Adoption Solutions,


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.