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, countless other families are facing extreme challenges, including struggling to provide food and veterinary care for their beloved 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. That’s why CARE4Paws will be hosting a drive-through and in-home donation for the Holiday Adoption Festival on Saturday, December 4th at Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara and Elks Lodge in Santa Maria.

The event, which runs from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at both locations, collects resources for pet families who need to keep pets healthy and in their homes and also promotes adoptable pets. 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.

“Animals 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, which adds that at least 8,000 families in Santa Barbara County live in poverty and, on average, 65% of families have at least one pet. “When people live in poverty, so do their animals,” says Gullo. “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 community members, 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 Pet Assistance program continues to distribute several tons of pet food each week 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. Additionally, 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 Elks Lodge, pet food and monetary donations can be dropped off with several CARE4Paws business and animal welfare partners. This includes 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 Sainte-Marie. ASAP in Goleta not only collects pet food each week for CARE4Paws, but is currently running a fundraising campaign to support the CARE4Paws event on December 4th. All locations are listed on care4paws.org/holidaydrive, where supporters can also donate money and contribute food through CARE4Paws’ Amazon Wish List.

To learn more and support CARE4Paws’ drive-and-home donation for the Holiday Adoption Festival, visit care4paws.org/holidaydrive. For more information on CARE4Paws and its services, visit care4paws.org or contact us via [email protected] or 805-968-2273.


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