By Shelly Cone
C.A.R.E.4Paws has had a presence in Santa Barbara and Lompoc and has watched its efforts to control the pet population make a difference. So naturally representatives of the nonprofit wanted to expand its reach. This month they’ll start offering free and low-cost services in Guadalupe.
On March 19, C.A.R.E.4Paws will host a clinic at the Guadalupe City Hall offering free pet vaccines, including rabies for dogs and cats, distemper parvo for dogs, and feline distemper for cats. The clinic will also make available microchips, dewormer, and topical flea treatment for $10 each. During the clinic pet owners can also get dog licenses from Project PetSafe for $20. Low-income residents can also make an appointment to have their pet spayed or neutered for free at one of C.A.R.E.4Paws’ partner veterinary clinics or in its Spay Mobile spay/neuter clinic on wheels. They can also learn about the nonprofit’s other support services, including delivery of pet food and assistance with vet care.
C.A.R.E.4Paws works to reduce pet overpopulation, keep animals out of shelters, and improve quality of life for pets and their families in Santa Barbara County.
Executive Director and cofounder Isabelle Abitia said the clinics that the nonprofit holds are part of the organization’s bilingual community outreach program, which targets communities with high numbers of unaltered, unvaccinated animals—promoting responsible, caring pet ownership.
She said they have spayed or neutered 1,500 dogs and cats, and vaccinated between 4,000 and 5,000 pets since 2013 when C.A.R.E.4Paws began hosting clinics in Lompoc.
“So based on the success of that program we wanted to duplicate our efforts in Guadalupe,” she said.
She also added that shelter numbers have gone down in Lompoc since the nonprofit began offering its services.
Also, Guadalupe just passed a spay/neuter ordinance, she said.
“So it’s a good time for us to move into Guadalupe, so they can do what’s right for their pets,” Abitia said.
She said that the group isn’t sure what to expect yet at the Guadalupe clinic, but they host a clinic in Lompoc three times a year.
“And we get about 300 dogs and cats that come every single time. It’s packed,” she said.
At the last event alone, between 80 and 100 dogs and cats were spayed and neutered, she said.
Because so many pet owners show up, the staff stays busy, but Abitia said that’s a good thing.
“We are happy to help that many people and it shows that the need is still there,” she said.
Abitia said that the expansion to Guadalupe was possible because of funding from supporters like the Santa Barbara Foundation, Wood-Claeyssens Foundation, Santa Barbara Humane Society, Roy & Ida Eagle Foundation, Bess Spiva Timmons Foundation, and private donors.
The clinic will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 19 at City Hall, 918 Obispo St., and is first-come, first-served. Bilingual staff will be on hand. Cats need to be in carriers, dogs on a leash, and puppies carried to reduce risk of disease.