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Program To Help Financially Struggling Pet Owners On Central, South Coasts Keep Their Pets Expands

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(Photo courtesy C.A.R.E.4Paws/WinkFace Photography)
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Volunteers help prepare pet food for distribution through the Pet Resource Center program, which is offering everything from pet food to healthcare to those in need through Santa Barbara County's Animal Services Shelters.

Aid now available through three Santa Barbara County Animal Services shelters

If you have a cat, or dog, or other pet, you know they are a part of your family.

But, what if you couldn’t afford the medical care their needed, or even the food they need to stay healthy? It’s a crisis that’s hit families and seniors on the Central and South Coasts, especially during the pandemic.

A Santa Barbara County non-profit has tried to tackle the problem. Isabelle Gullo is Executive Director of “C.A.R.E.4Paws."

The non-profit started operating a number of mobile clinics, offering everything from pet food to vaccinations to pet owners who needed help. They also opened a center at the Santa Barbara County Animal Services shelters in Santa Maria. The goal was to open similar centers at the shelters in Lompoc and Santa Barbara.

But, the pandemic hit. Finally, with the COVID-19 crisis easing, new new centers have opened.

It’s a huge coalition of groups involved. There’s County Animal Services, and C.A.R.E.4Paws. Also involved are the groups Companion Animal Placement Assistance, the Animal Care Foundation of Santa Barbara County, ASAP Cats, K-9 PALS, and Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter.

Those involved in the effort say the need is huge. They hear from people regularly who love their pets, but bring them to shelters because they can't afford the medicine, or food they need. The program tries to help keep those pets in homes.

Jessica Wiebe is with Santa Barbara County Animal Services, and is coordinator of the Responsible Pet Ownership Program. She says among the way people can help is by dropping off food at the county's shelters, and donating money.

Gullo says during the pandemic, they aligned many of their mobile clinics with other events like foodbank food giveaways. But, she says it really make sense to have the aid focused at the county’s three shelters. C.A.R.E4Paws saw demand for help go through the roof during the pandemic.

Those involved in the effort says they want pet owners to know that if they need help, it’s out there, and that they don’t have to give up that special friend over money.

You can find details on how you can help at: https://countyofsb.org/phd/animal/home.sbc

Gullo says C.A.R.E.4Paws has a big event this weekend. Here is a link to the details: https://www.care4paws.org/happytails