CARE4Paws, an organization with a mission to keep animals happy, healthy, and with their families for life, recently received some special recognition for the critical services it provides to animals in Santa Barbara County.
Standing next to CARE4Paws’ mobile veterinary clinic, U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) presented the organization with a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition on Jan. 15.
- COURTESY PHOTO BY DAVID DONALDSON
- RECEIVING RECOGNITION U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) presented CARE4Paws with a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for its work before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We all know that pets provide increased quality of life for anyone who is lucky enough to have a pet. What you do for our community is extraordinary,” Carbajal said, according to a statement from CARE4Paws.
The award acknowledged the services provided since the organization’s inception in 2009, but also specifically recognized the unparalleled level of work achieved since the start of COVID-19. CARE4Paws performed 2,000 free spay and neuter surgeries in 2020 at its mobile clinic, as compared with 1,300 in 2019. It gave low-cost and free veterinary care to 1,800 dogs and cats, versus 1,170 in 2019. The organization also hosted 190 surgery days and vaccine clinics in 2020, compared to 140 the previous year. CARE4Paws additionally ramped up its pet food distribution, giving out more than four tons of pet food weekly since March 2020, compared with two tons in all of 2019.
“Congressman Carbajal has known about CARE4Paws for a long time, and he even volunteered at a fundraiser we did many years ago,” Executive Director and Co-founder Isabelle Gullo told New Times. “The office contacted us and told us we were receiving the award, and we were of course very excited about that.”
Gullo added that 65 percent of the services her organization provides are to animals in Lompoc and the Santa Maria Valley. With the county Animal Services’ Lompoc shelter still temporarily closed, CARE4Paws stepped up to help fill that gap.
“We are doing a lot more pet food distribution in North County than we’ve ever done before,” she said. “In Lompoc, every Sunday we are at Ryon Park to distribute pet food, and we are also there every first Sunday of the month with both of our mobile clinics.”
Gullo said no decisions have been made yet about the future of the Lompoc shelter, “but we will know a lot more in the next month or so,” she added.
With the demand for CARE4Paws’ services higher than ever, the organization had to double its budget in 2020. Gullo said this was only made possible thanks to generous donors and community support.
“We’re receiving a lot of new support, as well as continued support from loyal donors,” Gullo said. “In addition to that, we have a lot of nonprofit and business partners who are hosting fundraisers for us to bring in pet food and money. There’s so many people and agencies and foundations coming together to help us do our work.”