News and Articles

Santa Cruz Sentinel, Opinion Section: The Rescue Dog Who Rescued Me!

Posted: 10/16/2011
Byline: John P. Weiss, Chief of Police for the City of Scotts Valley and a Board Member of the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter

Last fall my wife and son announced that they were going down to the local animal shelter to "look around." I glanced over at Einstein, our aging cat. He didn't look happy. My pre-teen son had pined in the past about getting a dog but my allergy excuse generally preempted further discussion.

To be honest I had considered that a boy should experience a dog before girls and all the distractions of adolescence settle in, but I also knew who inevitably ends up taking care of the pet. Frisky the hamster was a must have for my son, but my wife and I seemed to do all the feeding, cleaning and interaction.

My son discovered Jack London's "The Call of the Wild" and "White Fang." This didn't help matters, nor did my wife's love of Siberian huskies. So off they went that day to the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter. I reassured Einstein that all would be OK and took off to run some errands.

A few hours later the text message "come down here" popped up on my cell phone, along with the image of a rather small little dog with big, lugubrious eyes that seemed to look in different directions. Not the kind of dog you find in a Jack London novel. I swallowed hard and drove down to the shelter.

The shelter staff kindly directed me to my wife and son, who were communing with two little dogs in a holding pen. "So where's the Siberian husky?" I offered. My sarcasm was ignored as my son pointed to the pooch with the goofy eyes and exclaimed, "Isn't he cute?"

I learned from my wife that the dog was a mixed breed of Chihuahua and Pug. The other dog was all Chihuahua but clearly didn't have the panache of the goofy one, who my son aptly named "Chug." A bit of paperwork and before I could sneeze Chug was on his way home with us.

Chug was already housebroken, and it turns out he enjoys laps and long walks. He also runs into walls on occasion and licks anything in sight. My wife and son joke about Chug's mental deficiencies and oddly I find myself defending him. Per my prediction, Chug's novelty soon wore off on my son.

I started taking my lunch breaks at home in order to take Chug on walks. When I arrived home evenings, Chug yelped in anticipation, wagging his tail vigorously. My wife announced that Chug was my dog, as clearly he favors my company and attention.

Word got out in the department about my sad little dog. But that sad little dog has me off the couch walking more and jogging a bit. Coming home is more like grand reunions with Chug. Whether on my lap while I read or accompanying me on errands, I enjoy Chug's companionship.

Loving pets have been proven to lower blood pressure and improve people's lives. Perhaps my little rescue dog is rescuing me from the demands and stressors of life?

Some say that animals do not have souls, but that can't be true. If you spend enough time with them you begin to feel their unique presence, loyalty and connection. There are so many little souls at the Santa Cruz County Animal Rescue waiting for their chance to rescue someone back. A pet may not be right for every home, but I strongly urge folks to visit the shelter. You never know who you might meet.


Santa Cruz Sentinel, Praiseworthy Section: Getting Lou Lou Back Was a Miracle!

Posted: 08/15/2011

It was a miracle! We would like to thank the persons who found our little lost lovebird Lou Lou in Live Oak on Friday Aug. 5 and took her to the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter on Seventh Avenue. We appreciate so very much that this service exists to heal, protect, and care for our beloved animal companions. Thank you also to all of our neighbors who helped us look for Lou Lou for three days. We live in a wonderful community, a place where people care about a tiny, elderly bird finding her home and family! We are so grateful.


Half Price Adoptions for Kittens and Cats to Ease Overcrowding at Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter

Posted: 08/04/2011

Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter (SCCAS) is offering half price adoption prices for all kittens and cats at their Santa Cruz shelter, 2200 7th Avenue. Due to a high volume of kittens and cats in the shelter, SCCAS wants to ensure that these healthy, adoptable pets are offered a second chance to find a new forever home.

Normal feline adoption fees range from $55 to $120, depending on the animal. The current price special will be $60 for kittens under one year of age, $50 for adult cats one to six years of age, and $28 for senior cats over 6 years of age.  All adoption fees include the following:

  • Spay/Neuter services
  • Initial worming and vaccinations
  • Rabies vaccine (over four months of age)
  • Microchip
  • FeLV (Feline leukemia virus) testing
  • Cardboard cat carrier

“Adopting a shelter animal not only saves a life, it also opens up precious space in our shelters for Santa Cruz County’s neediest animals,” said Melanie Sobel, General Manager for Santa Cruz County Animal Services. “We are asking community members to consider a shelter cat as the next addition to their household.”

About Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter (SCCAS)

Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter (SCCAS)provides animal regulation and humane care that protects the health, public safety and welfare of people and animals in Santa Cruz County.

SCCAS currently rescues and assures safe, temporary shelter, veterinary and humane care for approximately 7,000 stray, unwanted, abandoned, mistreated and injured animals each year.  SCCAS also provides 24 hour animal rescue service and is Santa Cruz County’s only full service, open-admission animal shelter.  SCCAC provides two locations for owners to find and recover their lost pets and adopt new animal companions at 2200 7th Avenue in Live Oak, Santa Cruz, and 580 Airport Boulevard in Watsonville. 

SCCAS is an organization charged with the responsibility of rescuing thousands of lost and homeless animals and animals suffering from cruelty, neglect and indifference.

Animal Care and Control facilities are often referred to derogatorily as “the pound”. They are often one of the most misunderstood organizations in any community.  Although their mission is to save lives, their community’s irresponsible pet ownership requires them to euthanize animals, and then they are faulted for doing so. These organizations don’t have the luxury of shrinking from the life and death issues of animal welfare. They are the only animal welfare agency in any community that has to address the issue of pet euthanasia head on every minute of every day.


Raining cats and dogs in Santa Cruz: influx of pets prompts residents to adopt

By EVAN MORRIS, Santa Cruz Sentinel

SANTA CRUZ -- With the passing of the Fourth of July, things seem to be returning to normal. But for many pet owners, all is not well.

As a result of unplanned deliveries, the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter and the Santa Cruz SPCA are operating at maximum capacity.

After the Fourth of July weekend, both the SPCA and the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter had surprise deliveries, with ultimatums of acceptance or abandonment. Surrendering of animals is a growing trend among pet owners, attributed to the down economy, the costs of pet ownership, and a lack of owner responsibility, according to Melanie Sobel, general manager of the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter.

While some of the animals at the shelters are surrendered or stray dogs, many are assumed to be lost.

"It is so important to keep owner responsibility in mind," Sobel said. "Things as simple as a leash or a collar are often overlooked, and with the chaos of the Fourth, many pets get loose."

The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter is the only open-door agency in the county, never refusing an animal, Sobel said. As a result, they are full with animals, doubling up dogs in cages and using their quarantine area for general housing.

"If a resident has ever considered adopting, now is the time," Sobel said. "Animal control officers are rescuers, and help operate safe havens for pets."

The SPCA has been running at close to capacity for a while, and had taken precautionary measures to ensure that they would not be overflowing, according to Jennifer Moulton of the SPCA. They sent out a mass email to their donors and posted a message on Facebook over the weekend looking for foster families, which resulted in more than 15 placements in one day, but did not entirely halt the stream of incoming animals.

The Madera County shelter alone dropped off nine animals this weekend. Thirty percent of the Santa Cruz SPCA's animals are rescues from out of county shelters where the animals would otherwise be euthanized.

The SPCA currently houses 92 dogs and cats, and it is using its space to the fullest, with carriers lining the walls. The shelter has a maximum capacity of 70, but is able to accommodate the rest of the animals through Bed and Biscuits, a nearby pet resort.

The 92 figure is a 49 percent increase in animals from last year, according to Lisa Carter, executive director of the Santa Cruz SPCA.

The SPCA is home to a plethora of animals, with the majority consisting of small dogs and cats. Plans for a new center down the street are in the works, with a fundraising drive in progress. The SPCA receives no public funding, operating entirely on donations.

"We have Chihuahuas, border collies, terriers and poodles, as well as many large-dog puppies and 40 purebreds," Moulton said.

Adoption rates are rising, but both the SPCA and the county's animal shelter urge residents to consider adoption, and to check their locations and websites for lost pets.

"One thing people don't realize is the lengths we go to ensure the safety and comfort of animals," Moulton said. "When people think SPCA, they think animal control. We are animal rescue, and more adoptees means that we can rescue more animals."