Shelter manager touts ‘notable accomplishments’

Despite pandemic-related hurdles last year, Ventura County Animal Services reported a significant decrease in animal intakes, a 93.5% animal adoption rate, and fundraising efforts successful, according to shelter officials.

The organization recently released its annual report, outlining the programs and services it provides to its contract towns, which are Camarillo, Fillmore, Moorpark, Ojai, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Simi Valley, Ventura and all unincorporated areas of Ventura County.

Animal Services operates two sites: a main shelter in Camarillo and a smaller facility in Simi Valley.

“I am proud to report that, despite the odds, we have remained fully committed to our rescue mission and have achieved notable accomplishments,” VCAS Director Jackie Rose said in a statement.

The shelter’s total intake of 6,015 animals in 2021 was higher than the 5,445 reported in 2020, but lower than previous years, including 2019, when about 11,708 total animals were brought to the shelter.

Shelter officials said similar numbers have been seen at shelters across the country. A major factor in the recession was that people were mostly staying home during quarantine, which helped limit the number of dogs escaping and getting lost.

Of the 6,015 animals captured last year, 4,956 animals were stray pets and 444 abandoned pets. Of this number, 1,294 lost animals have been reunited with their families.

There were also 2,682 pet adoptions: 1,150 dogs; 1,248 cats; 97 rabbits and 187 other animals.

Of 563 animals euthanized, 532 were for medical reasons and 31 for behavioral reasons. That number includes many injured or seriously ill wildlife that people bring in and cannot be saved, officials said.

The shelter’s 93.5% adoption rate is based on a live release rate, which tracks the percentage of animals leaving the shelter through means other than euthanasia or natural death.

Animal Services has maintained a release rate of 90% or more since January 2014, two years after the shelter stopped euthanizing animals due to lack of space or the length of time the animal was the.

Shelter officials said that despite what has been reported from other places, they have not seen a significant uptick or increase in the number of pets adopted after the quarantine was relaxed and they returned to work. .

Despite a temporary drop in volunteering due to COVID-19 restrictions, 12,993 volunteer hours were still donated last year. In addition, 53,408 hours of foster care were donated by volunteers caring for 1,176 foster animals.

With the overwhelming majority of pet intakes (83% in 2021) resulting from lost pets, the shelter continues to encourage pet owners to microchip and register their pets with correct and up-to-date information.

The VCAS Pet Retention program in 2021 helped 1,694 pets stay with their families by providing financial and other assistance, including behavioral training and veterinary fees, which are funded by the Animal Services Foundation of Ventura County.

Rose noted some of the organization’s many accomplishments in 2021, including sponsoring 10 spaying and neutering clinics throughout Ventura County, producing 300 surgeries for owned animals; and partnered with the Ventura County Police Department to rescue over 200 neglected animals in the Lockwood Valley area.

Animal services have also increased their network of volunteers and foster families; held a successful curbside pet food drive in the Simi Valley, where over 1,000 pounds of food was provided to 175 households in need; and broke a fundraising record at a Porters for Pups fundraiser held at Institution Ale Company in Camarillo, where $7,061 was raised.

In August, VCAS also deployed Ventura Animal Control Officers Fernando Serratos and Tony Ochoa to El Dorado County to provide animal rescue assistance during the Caldor Fire, where they spent 16 days. to travel hundreds of acres to care for and rescue animals in difficult evacuation zones.

This year, VCAS successfully completed a community dog ​​bed campaign, where the public purchased 208 Kuranda dog beds for the shelter and raised over $55,000 in a fundraiser in honor of the late actress Betty White.

A new shelter to replace the Camarillo facility was stalled during the pandemic, but is back on track, with a contract in the early stages underway with an architectural firm specializing in animal shelters.

“None of these successes would have been possible without the dedication of our amazing staff, volunteers and community members who support us every day,” Rose said.

For more information about animal services and pet adoption, and to read the 2021 Annual Report, visit vcas.us.


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Jennifer R. Strohm