A woman recently told me that she just moved to Santa Cruz from Santa Clara, where she routinely donated to a “no-kill” shelter in that area. She asked if I could confirm if we were also “no-kill,” as that was the only kind of shelter she would support. This is a question I am continually asked.
We’re “open-door,” not no-kill. Our doors are always open for our community’s animals – healthy, sick, old, young—we accept all animals at our shelter. We are a safe haven for the 6,000 animals we rescue, house, care for and do everything we can to get adopted. From the highly adoptable kitten to the most aggressive and potentially dangerous dog, we take them in—no questions asked. In addition to dogs, cats, rabbits and the like, we are also routinely rescue non-wildlife animals such as livestock, reptiles, fish and birds.
Our agency is the safety net and second chance for all local animals in need, whatever the reason. Whether a pet owner is hospitalized or deceased, or decides they no longer want their animal, those animals will find loving compassionate staff to welcome them at our shelter. When someone is arrested and their animal is left unattended, we step in and care for that animal. If a house burns down and animals are at risk, we shelter them. Our animal control officers bravely save stray and lost animals, rescue injured animals, and investigate animal abuse and mistreatment cases every day. We don’t turn an animal away regardless of space available, or the animal’s age, breed, health, temperament or physical condition. We take them all.
But why aren’t we “no-kill?” Typically, a “no-kill” shelter accepts a limited number and type of animal while they have available room. Once they are filled to capacity, they must turn new animals away, leaving them to be rescued by “open-door” shelters such as our own. A “no-kill” shelter works well when there is an “open-door” shelter operating nearby.
Because we love animals and because we see the tragic results of pet overpopulation and irresponsible pet ownership on a daily basis, the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter has designed progressive programs to ensure that the very need for animal shelters decreases.
Our Planned Pethood program offers low-cost spay/neuter surgeries including $5 spay/neuter/microchip for cats in South County and $50 surgeries for Pit bulls and Chihuahuas County-wide. Our Door-to-Door community outreach program helps pets stay in their homes, by providing free dog houses, food, toys, animal care counseling and support to interested owners. Our targeted humane education program in South County schools is changing the way the community values its animals, instilling more compassion and kindness into our community. Our dedicated staff and volunteers make sure that the animals at the shelter have a great quality of life with play groups, socialization, on-site veterinary care and lots of love.
We work tirelessly to care for this community’s homeless and unwanted animals and to provide resources for local families needing help to care for their animal companions. Our goal is that no animal be euthanized except those for whom euthanasia is necessary to relieve their suffering or for the safety of people and other animals.
But for us to accomplish our goal, we need your help. We cannot do it alone. Help us help them: adopt locally rather than buy; spay/neuter and microchip your pet; be a responsible pet owner and properly socialize and care for your pet for the pet’s lifetime; volunteer to help local animals; and support our services and innovative programs that improve the lives of animals and people in Santa Cruz County.
For more information visit www.scanimalshelter.org