C.A.R.E.4Paws hosting drive-thru pet food donation drive Saturday in Santa Maria | Local News

A Central Coast nonprofit organization dedicated to helping pets and owners who have financial troubles will hold an event Saturday in Santa Maria to raise donations of dog and cat food and the adoption of homeless animals.

CARE4Paws will host a donation drive – through home – for the festive adoption festival from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Santa Maria Elks Lodge, 1309 N. Bradley Road.

The organization will be running a similar event at the same time at the Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara.

CARE4Paws co-founder and CEO Isabel Jolo said backers can drive to drop dog and cat food as well as financial donations to support the organization’s intervention services.

Gallo noted that life was difficult for thousands of pet families in Santa Barbara County before the COVID-19 pandemic, and now, 20 months later, at least 8,000 families in the county are living below the poverty level.

“When people live in poverty, so do their animals,” Gulu said, noting that, on average, 65% of families own at least one pet.

Since the pandemic began, the number of pet families supported by CARE4Paws has grown to more than 20,000 a year, she said.

“Pets are a family, and people should never be forced to choose between taking care of their four family members and taking care of themselves,” she said.

To mitigate this problem, she said her foundation partners with animal and human welfare organizations and, with the help of community donations, they have created a safety net to help keep people and pets together.

But with the economy slowly returning to normal, some rescue animals are finding themselves homeless for a second time.

At the start of the pandemic, many people were asked to stay home in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, and many of these individuals adopted dogs and cats from local shelters to provide companionship.

But now, with people returning to their workplaces, a large number of those pets are being brought back to shelters again, Gallo said, prompting CARE4Paws to add animal adoptions to its donation drive Saturday.

In addition to handing out donations, people can park their cars to visit adoptable pets from groups like ASAP, the Animal Shelter Assistance Program; Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society in partnership with DAWG, a dog adoption care group; And BUNS, the organization of rabbits is in desperate need of shelter.

Other groups that offer adoptable animals include Spark Rescue, Aussie Rescue Networking Group and Santa Barbara Humane, Jolo said.

She said family photos with Santa will be available from CARE4Paws, with proceeds in favor of their software, and free photos will be offered to anyone who adopts a pet during the festival.

For the past 12 years, CARE4Paws has provided access to veterinary care, spay and neuter services, and pet food and supplies to low-income and needy pet owners.

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Gulu said that in 2021 alone, the organization’s mobile community medicine and sterilization/neurocommunication team will modify and provide medical treatment to more than 4,000 pets for free or at low cost.

Its Companion Pet Assistance program distributes several tons of pet food per week throughout the county through mobile clinic and distribution events with Foodbank in Santa Barbara County and Santa Ynez Valley Helping People.

Pet food is also delivered directly to homegrown seniors, senior centers, and low-income housing facilities, as well as pet supplies, provided at many pet resource centers hosted by agencies such as Santa Barbara County Services, Santa Barbara Rescue Mission, People help people and the Good Samaritan shelters.

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