Life was difficult for thousands of pet families in the country of Santa Barbara before COVID-19. Now, 20 months after the start of the pandemic, even more families are facing extreme challenges, including difficulty providing food and veterinary care for their pets.
At the same time, many pets that were adopted and placed in foster care when the pandemic began are being returned to shelters as people return to their workplaces. For this reason, CARE4Paws will be hosting a drive-through and in-home donation for the Holiday Adoption Festival from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 4 at Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara and Elks Lodge in Santa Maria.
The event collects resources for pet families who need to keep pets healthy and in their homes, and promotes adoptable pets from local shelters and rescue groups. Supporters can drive and drop off dog and cat food and monetary donations with the CARE4Paws team to support the organization’s response services.
They can also park and visit with adoptable pets from groups such as Animal Shelter Assistance Program (ASAP), Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society in partnership with Dog Adoption Welfare Group (DAWG), Aussie Rescue Networking Group, Santa Barbara Humane, Bunnies Urgently Need Shelters (BUNS) and Spark Rescue.
Additionally, CARE4Paws will be offering family photos with Santa Claus to benefit its programs and will provide free photos to anyone adopting a pet during the festival.
“Pets are part of the family and people should never be forced to choose between caring for their four-legged family members and taking care of themselves,” says Isabelle Gullo, co-founder and executive director of CARE4Paws.
At least 8,000 families in Santa Barbara County live in poverty and, on average, 65% of families own at least one pet, Gullo said.
“When people live in poverty, so do their animals,” she said. “The good news is that there are many resources available to ensure pets stay at home. Between CARE4Paws, our animal and human welfare partners, and generous members of the community, we create a powerful safety net that ensures people and animals stay together.
For the past 12 years, CARE4Paws has worked to help families keep their pets by providing them with access to veterinary care, sterilizations and pet food. In fact, since the start of the pandemic, the association has tripled the number of pet families it supports each year to more than 20,000.
In 2021 alone, the organization’s Mobile Community Medicine & Spay / Neuter Outreach team will modify and provide medical treatment to more than 4,000 pets, free or at low cost. Its companion animal assistance program distributes several tons of pet food weekly throughout the county through the mobile clinic and distribution events with the Santa Barbara County Food Bank and People Helping. People.
Pet food is also delivered directly to homebound seniors, senior centers and low-income housing. CARE4Paws provides food and supplies at several pet resource centers co-hosted with agencies such as Santa Barbara County Animal Services (SBCAS), Santa Barbara Rescue Mission, People Helping People, and Good Samaritan Shelters.
On December 4th, in addition to Earl Warren Showgrounds and The Elks Lodge, pet food and monetary donations can be dropped off with several CARE4Paws business and animal welfare partners, including:
Plaza Deli, Dioji K-9 Resort & Athletic Club, Montecito Pet Shop, La Cumbre Feed, Advanced Veterinary Specialists, George’s Pet Shop, SYVHS / DAWG in Santa Ynez and Santa Barbara County Animal Services shelters in Santa Barbara, Lompoc and Santa Married.
ASAP in Goleta collects pet food every week for CARE4Paws and is currently running a fundraising campaign in support of the CARE4Paws event on December 4th. All locations are listed on care4paws.org/holidaydrive, where supporters can donate money and contribute food through CARE4Paws’ Amazon Wish List.
To learn more and support CARE4Paws’ drive-thru and in-home donation for the Holiday Adoption Festival, visit care4paws.org/holidaydrive. To learn more about CARE4Paws and its services, visit care4paws.org or contact us via [email protected] or 805-968-2273.