Ventura County's most vulnerable need your help
In Ventura County, there is a somewhat secret community whose members have been working diligently for years to create awareness and network to find alternative solutions to the status quo. They have sent e-mails, made phone calls, contacted the press, held protests, etc., to do whatever they can to stave off the destruction of certain desperate little creatures. These people are Ventura County’s unrelenting animal activists.
It’s been just a bit more than a year since the group came together to stage a protest at the Camarillo Animal Shelter, demanding it be a no-kill shelter. A few months later, Monica Nolan, director of the Ventura County Animal Services Department, resigned, stating that family came first. While family is often a logical reason to leave a job, it seems possible that the stress and pressure for change at the shelter may have played a role in her decision. Over the last several months, Donna Gillesby, deputy director for Ventura County Animal Services, has really emphasized, through social media and the press, the need for foster homes and for the community to adopt animals that have been left at the Camarillo shelter.
The work of these local animal activists and the community at large hasn’t gone without tangible results. The number of dogs euthanized in January 2012 was 160, and in January 2013, it fell to 70. Unfortunately, of the 688 animals that came to the shelter in January, 300 did not find permanent homes. The burden on the shelter, which has a slim and trim budget, to be no-kill as well as to take care of these animals and keep them in good health is nearly impossible. But the numerous staff and volunteers haven’t given up.
In January 2012, we put out a call to action for locals to volunteer as foster parents or to adopt. This year, we congratulate those Ventura County residents who answered the call. We recognize their good work and urge them to keep it up while we call on those who have hearts for these animals to join the cause. While our economy is getting better, there are still too many animals being abandoned at the shelter by families who simply can’t afford to care for them. If Ventura County really wants to have a no-kill shelter, the best way to do it is for locals to become part of the solution. Through diligence and hard work, these abandoned pets are sure to find homes. But it takes a village to see the change we desire.
To learn more about foster parenting or become an Animal Services volunteer, contact volunteer coordinator Brooke Novak at 388-4345 or write to VCAR.firstname.lastname@example.org. Potential adopters of animals can get half-price adoptions at the shelter on March 23. The discount, part of the Easter Eggstravaganza, runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will include crafts, games, music, food and an Easter egg hunt. For more information, visit www.vcas.us.