By Logan B. Anderson
In response to Santa Maria’s new Responsible Pet Owner Ordinance, a local nonprofit group wants to help pet owners keep their pets healthy.
C.A.R.E.4Paws will host a $5 pet vaccination clinic for pet owners in Santa Maria from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Santa Maria Eagles Aerie, 688 S. College Drive.
“With Santa Maria’s recent passing of a Responsible Pet Ownership Ordinance, C.A.R.E.4Paws really wants to be there to support local pet owners and make it easy for them to follow this new ordinance, while also helping to curb pet overpopulation,” said Isabelle Gullo-Abitia, co-founder and executive director.
Gullo-Abitia said Saturday’s event is part of C.A.R.E.4Paws’ community outreach efforts, which usually draw more than 300 pet owners per event.
The group will offer vaccines and flea and dewormer medicines for $5, along with access to microchip services for $10.
No appointments are needed, Gullo-Abitia said.
Low-income pet owners can sign up for a C.A.R.E.4Paws’ upcoming free spay and neuter clinic appointments on Saturday, too.
“We will have vaccine and microchipping stations set up for small dogs, large dogs and cats,” Gullo-Abitia said. “We have a large, experienced team working and we will do our best to get everybody taken care of as quickly as we possibly can,”
Project PetSafe also will be there to sell dog licenses.
Santa Maria’s Responsible Pet Owner Ordinance, which encourages pet owners and their animals to develop a relationship with a veterinarian and brought the city’s code in line with Santa Barbara County laws, went into effect July 21.
The goal of the ordinance is to reduce stray animals and associated costs on neighborhoods and animal services, said Jason Stilwell, deputy city manager.
The new rule is not a mandatory spay and neuter law. It only encourages the practice by bolstering pet registration laws already on the books.
“With the recent passing of the Responsible Pet Ownership Ordinance in Santa Maria, we knew we needed to start working more in the city, and this big vaccine clinic is the start of our efforts,” Gullo-Abitia said. “It’s a great way for us to get to know local pet owners and let them know we’re here to help.”
C.A.R.E.4Paws hosts frequent low-cost vaccine clinics countywide and throughout the year as part of its bilingual community outreach program.
Gullo-Abitia’s group is able to offer low-cost pet vaccination clinics thanks in large part to grants and donations.
Grants from the Roy and Ida Eagle Foundation and Wood-Claeyssens Foundation are helping make Saturday’s event possible.
“Every single spay or neuter surgery counts,” Gullo-Abitia said. “As a former shelter volunteer, I know how important it is to offer affordable and accessible services to pet owners in need. This is how you prevent animals from breeding needlessly and from being abandoned due to an owner’s lack of awareness or lack of resources.”
C.A.R.E.4Paws has worked in Santa Barbara County since 2009 to reduce pet overpopulation, keep animals out of shelters and improve quality of life for pets and pet owners in need.
“Our programs are geared mainly toward low-income pet owners to ensure they can keep their pets for life,” Gullo-Abitia said.
C.A.R.E.4Paws has the only mobile spay and neuter clinic in the county.