When families live in poverty, so do their pets. While income level is not at all an indicator of how much a dog or cat is loved by his family, many pet owners have a hard time providing even basic services for their animals, especially with the high cost of quality pet food and veterinary care.
C.A.R.E.4Paws provides a range of critical services to pet owners in need. We focus our work on underserved areas, including Santa Maria, Lompoc, Guadalupe, New Cuyama, Santa Barbara’s East- and Westside and Goleta/Isla Vista, where you find high poverty rates. In 2022, we have also started working in underserved communities of south San Luis Obispo County.
Our Mobile Community Medicine & Spay/Neuter Outreach program provides free and low-cost spays/neuters, veterinary care and vaccine clinics in our mobile veterinary clinics—the only ones of their kind on the Central Coast. Our clinics travel directly to pet owners in need, ensuring that financial difficulties, lack of transportation and language barriers do not prevent animals from being altered and receiving proper veterinary care.
Also, our Companion Pet Assistance program provides essential care such as food, supplies and behavioral training. In fact, since the pandemic started, we have provided 900,000 pounds of food to the community. We also provide grooming to pets of unsheltered community members. Our Safe Haven program supports domestic violence survivors with temporary boarding or foster care.
Through our boots-on-the-ground approach and compassionate, bilingual outreach team, we have built trusting relationships with thousands of local pet owners. Our work has not only improved animal welfare in our community, but it has had a significant impact on the county’s pet overpopulation problem—most notable in drastically reduced shelter intake numbers countywide.
We continue to grow and have an impact in our community and on our shelter population as we expand our services and build more and more relationships in the community, with local pet owners, businesses, animal shelters/rescue groups, pet service providers and human welfare organizations, such as homeless shelters and shelters for domestic violence survivors.