Saturday, November 10, 2012

Animal Sanctuary Offers Another Chance

Photo by Joe McGarity

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Pets are sometimes an overlooked victim of the ongoing housing crisis.  When you are losing your own shelter, sometimes it’s easy to forget about your life-long friends.  But is there any hope for them?  The Fantom Penguin talked to Joyce Darrow, Volunteer Coordinator for Another Chance Animal Welfare League.

“Seven years ago six ladies got together and discussed the need ultimately for a no-kill sanctuary here in Shasta County for mainly dogs and cats to start off with.  They worked very hard.  They came up with fifty bucks to open up a checking account.  They got a 501(c)(3), which is a non-profit.  They started with a small thrift store here in Palo Cedro and went from there, obtaining foster homes to take the cats and the dogs until they could be placed in their forever homes.  Over the years, over 2100 dogs and cats have been placed in their forever homes through Another Chance.  Everything in our store is donated.  All the money goes to support our animal programs.  We now have purchased property, eight acres and we’re going to begin building a sanctuary as soon as we acquire a little more money to do that.”

What is the difference between a shelter and a sanctuary?

“In a shelter animals have a time.  They are taken in and after so many days they are euthanized sometimes.  We will never euthanize an animal unless a vet says we’ve done all we can do to take care of the animal and that it’s very, very ill.  We’ve had animals in our program for 3-4 years and they ultimately find their forever home.  They’re special and special people show up and adopt them.  And as I always say, animals adopt the people.”

Not the other way around?

“Absolutely not.”

When people come into the shop there are animals here that they can see and interact with, but these aren’t all the animals are they?

“Oh, no.  All of our dogs are in foster homes and come on Saturday for adoption or just to be seen.  Many of our cats are here, but many of them are in foster homes.  We also offer people a ‘Pet-Partner Program’.  When we have no foster homes available, especially for dogs because we are limited on those, we discuss with the people if they can keep the dog and bring the dog on Saturdays for adoption.  We take pictures.  We do a bio.  We put the dog up on Pet Finders, which is a nation-wide organization and people can basically go looking for that particular animal they think they want without having to spend a lot of money on gas driving around.”
What are the challenges to developing a sanctuary?  Do we have to change the way that people look at the animal overpopulation problem?

“Yes we do.  We need to make people understand that they need to spay or neuter their puppies and kitties by the time they’re six months old.  Cats can have 3-4 litters a year.  Dogs can have 2-3 litters a year.  Just because they’re nursing doesn’t mean they won’t get pregnant.  That’s an old wives’ tale, because they will.  We need to spay and neuter animals.  Another Chance does help with that by way of vouchers.  There are other organizations that help out.  S.A.F.E. which is Save Animals From Euthanasia, they have vouchers that help people.  The county has vouchers that help people.  Anderson P.D. has vouchers that help people.  Haven Humane has a voucher system right now that helping a lot of cats and dogs.  We need to spay and neuter these animals because we’re not going to find forever homes for all of them.  We don’t.”

It sounds like there’s a lot of different programs.  Does it depend on where you live within the county?  Is that what it’s about?  I’m a little confused.

“Okay, sometimes . . . like Haven got a grant and that was for cats to be spayed and neutered if you lived in the 01 - 02 zip code.  That was a grant specifically for people that lived in that area that had cats.  Sometimes grants are specific as to where someone lives.  Our vouchers do not specify where anyone lives.  They just have to come down, fill out a form and then get a $25 voucher to help them out.  And you can put that with other vouchers, like if you have one from the county or one from Anderson P.D.  The vets will honor them.  I always tell people call around, see who’s charging what.  See what’s convenient with you.”

“If you are having to move because you have lost your home or you didn’t pay your rent and you know the landlord’s gonna knock on the door, don’t wait ‘til that happens to call us or call other organizations to see if they can help you find a new home for your pet.  Don’t abandon your animal out on the street.  Don’t think that because somebody lives in the country, ‘Oh well, they can feed another cat or a dog’.  That isn’t fair to the animal.  It isn’t fair to your children who have grown to love that animal.  Let the organizations try to help you but don’t wait until the last minute because; no you can’t walk in here and bring us a cat or a dog.  We have cats in foster homes and we have dogs in foster homes.  All of those animals have to come through first before we can help somebody who walks in with a cat or a dog.  The best that we can offer them is a Pet Partnership and if they’re getting kicked out of their home, that’s not gonna work for them.  But don’t abandon your animal.  Take responsibility for it.”

“I think everyone should support these groups.  Another Chance, there’s lots of groups out there that are doing their best to help out with all of the animals and they all need help, whether you volunteer a few hours, whether you can donate to our thrift store.  Everything here is donated and like I say, all of the money goes to help our animals.  We’re in the process of working on building a sanctuary.  If you think that there’s something that you physically can do to help, please give us a call.  Let us know.”

“Support your local animal rescue groups.  Don’t ignore them.  Someday you may need them.”
Another Chance Animal Welfare League is located in Palo Cedro in the Holiday Market Shopping Center.  They can be reached by phone at 547-7387.

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Thanks Giving

The Thanksgiving Holiday is nearly upon us but thanksgiving should be upon us already.  Many of us – okay, all of us are struggling these days.  As the days get darker and colder it may be tempting to give in to discouragement (who me?).  It is traditional at this time of year, perhaps because of this, to begin to count and reflect upon our blessings.   The Fantom Penguin has much to be thankful for this year.  Although it remains a day by day struggle and hasn’t always hit the stands on its scheduled day, the paper continues to be published and to find new readers with each and every issue.  We are thankful for this.  We are thankful for the many individuals and family members who have supported (literally in many cases) the Fantom Penguin for the past two years as it has gone from a large unwieldy egg to a chubby grey Furbie-like chick to something that actually looks pretty good in black and white.  We are thankful for the steadfast support of Palo Cedro Printing.  Your support of this local business helps to support free and independent local publishing.  We are thankful to all or our advertisers and the local merchants who allow us to distribute our paper in their establishments.  Please choose them whenever you can this holiday season.  And of course, we are thankful for you, Fantom Penguin reader!

Last issue I allowed myself to express some opinions in this space.  I suppose that is the risk one runs when writing a column.  In a column titled Fantom Penguin Contains No Detectable Levels of Corporate Influence, I seem to have said something like “this is the paper to pick up if you don’t want to get the same old disinformation spoon-fed to you”.  This is a little bold and almost seems like I waited until the day of publication and wrote the column really fast.  I was on a bit of a roll but I see what I was trying to get at.  One of the things that seems to be on people’s minds these days is a realization that most of what we see and hear comes from a very small number of sources and that number has gotten smaller over the years.  Because of this, there is a growing distrust of mainstream media of all stripes.  It was not my intention to suggest that any of the local mainstream news outlets had done anything wrong.  Most of them do have strong ties to big corporations, but that is no secret; it’s all out in the open.  It is not the intention of this paper to set them up as the “bad guy” straw men for us “good guys” to knock over.  I certainly don’t have any qualifications for being a journalist other than living in a country that protects freedom of the press.  It would be the height of arrogance (who me?)  to suggest that this humble publication was better than any of them.  I wouldn’t want any of them or anyone at all for that matter to ever be afraid of talking to the Fantom Penguin for fear of being misrepresented.  If any representative from the local mainstream media outlets would like to tell the Fantom Penguin what it is that they do and why, I would be happy to publish that story.

In this issue you will find cats.  You will find a lot of cats. There are a lot of them out there.  They breed like crazy and they live and die difficult lives on the streets and in the country.  We all know this, but most of us think that there’s nothing that we can do about it because the problem is overwhelming.  But there are a few people who are committed to the idea that this problem can be solved, people who believe that it’s possible to put in place a system to deal with stray dogs and cats that we could describe to a small child without feeling uncomfortable.  We don’t have that now.   Thankfully, it’s on its way.