Animal Shelter of the Week: Episode 20 – Chico Animal Shelter in California

The Chico Animal Shelter started their own adoption program where they choose to save all the lives of animals that come in, even those with medical or behavioral issues. Their adoption and medical programs are funded solely through donations and not out of the city’s funds. These programs include spay/neuter and overall care for animals that come into the shelter. Of all the animals that passed through their care, they had a 78.67% live release rate, 9.73% euthanized (5.58% were owner requests), and 8.83% were carried over (2.77% died).

Welcome to the ARPA Animal Shelter of the week podcast where we introduce you to incredible organizations around the country that are focused on helping animals.  We’re proud to be sponsored by Doobert is a free website designed to connect volunteers with rescues and shelters, and the only site that automates rescue relay transport.  Let’s meet this week’s featured animal shelter. The Chico Animal Shelter is owned and operated by the city of Chico under the Chico Animal Services section of the Police Department. The public misconception was that the euthanasia rate was going to Klima’s. They were now a government agency. They worked very hard to ensure that that didn’t happen. And in fact, the euthanasia rate dropped in the first year and has remained low ever since. The Chico animal shelter goes above and beyond for animals in their care, including a phosphorous program where animals that might not be adoptable live in comfort with a foster family, where they’ll receive the love and care they deserve. He Tracy, welcome to the show. Hi. Great to be here. Yeah, I’m really excited to have you now. You are from Thie Chico Animal Shelter which is in California, and I’m excited to learn a little bit more about this. Why don’t you start us off and tell us, You know, maybe where you guys are located and their in northern California and maybe what your purpose is. Okay, so we’re actually a municipal shelter, and we’re located in Chico, California, which is in the Northern Valley of California. Great weather out here. We love it and are main purpose is we function as the facility for the city were part of the police department. We also include animal control. So we take in all the straight dogs that animal control picks up strays that people find on the street, that kind of thing. So that’s kind of our main focus Doing animal quarantines and safekeeping Sze things like that. It is. That is pretty cool. And out of all the shelters that I’ve talked to you, I think you’re the You’re the 1st 1 that that is in that situation, right? You work with the city or you’ll run by the city. Essentially, write your minute municipal shelter versus the nonprofit. So how did how did that come about? How long have you been with them. And maybe what is that transition been like? Because at one point, you were a nonprofit, So I’m curious about what? That what that looked like? What? That change was like so just kind of back history. Animal control and animal shelters actually kind of came about back in the fifties. Main purpose was Rabies control because people were being bit by dogs and and there was no cure for Rabies or no treatment for Rabies. So Rabies was pretty serious, and it still is serious. We take it very serious. And so, uh, shelters were built to house animals that were picked up by animal control officers. Stray animals because stray dogs could potentially carry Rabies. So it was a public health issue, and the city had built a basically what they call an impound facility, which is where the word pound comes from. People refer to, Oh, the Dawg Pound Well, that’s why we have the word pound because it’s an impound facility. So the city built the original shelter back in the fifties, and then in the eighties, one of local humane society approached the city and offer to start running the facility for the city. So the city was contracting to the Humane Society to run the facility for them, while the city still did the animal control part, the Humane Society. Still, the Humane Society did thie care of the animals and, you know, re homing them or getting them back to their owners, that kind of thing. So in the about 2011 the city decided that, you know, they felt that they wanted a little more control over operations. So the city and the Humane Society decided they were going to kind of split the tasks. So the city was going to run the shelter, provide care for the animals, housing that kind of thing. And the Humane Society was going to focus more on the adoption part of the the whole operations. So in 2012 the city of Chico under the police department took over operations of the local city shelter. So that’s kind of where we are now. We’ve only been here for about seven going on eight years. Yeah, that had to be an interesting, you know, an interesting transition. How long have you been with the Chico Animal shelter? Well, I actually many years ago. About 20 years ago, I worked for the Humane Society when the Humane Society was running the shelter. And then I kind of left. I actually went to work for the city as an animal control officer for a little while, and then I kind of left the field. I was feeling a little burnt out and went into a completely different line of work and then and and actually moved out of state. And in 2011 I got a call from previous co worker, somebody that still worked for the city and said, Hey, you need you really need to apply for this job And I’m like, What are you talking about? And they said, the city’s taking over the shelter and I said, Yeah, and so yeah, So I applied for the job and moved back to California and have been running the shelter since 2012. Now you talk about what’s meant to be, right? I mean, yeah, I worked for the city. You worked for the Humane Society, and then they merge. And what a what a perfect what a perfect fit. Yeah, absolutely. This is probably one of the best jobs I’ve ever had, very challenging, very stressful at times. But I do. I do really love my job. Yeah, that’s very cool. So within the last seven or eight years or so, what has been the biggest challenge in making that transition? And I guess kind of what makes you the most proud from when you rejoin them to where you are today? So it was kind of an interesting, like, you said, interesting transition. There were probably some assumptions, or maybe misconceptions on each party’s role, what the city was going going to be doing, what the Humane Society was going to be doing. And so that was kind of the challenge was to sort out what each organization was going to be responsible for. Even though there was a contractual agreement, it was not very clear on who was going to do what specific thing. So out of this hole kind of merger separation kind of combination thing that we have going on here because we share the facility. One of the things that came out of it was the humane. I think the city assume the Humane Society was going to take every single animal after the stray hold period. And that was clearly was not what it’s the humane Society did. And so out of that as the city facility. What grew was an adoption program and, you know, sort of a, um, overall sort of caring for the maybe more difficult animals. So animals that have medical problems, animals that have behavior problems, those animals don’t get transferred to the Humane Society for the most part. And so the are the city staff does the rehab on those animals, and we have a separate adoption program for those specific animals, including what we call a phosphorous program, which is animals that are maybe not really adoptable in the true sense of the word. But they’re not suffering. They have a good quality of life still, but they kind of need a little extra help. So those animals go into what we call a fost this, which is sort of my foster hospice program. And we provide care for those animals until such time that you know it’s time to make that decision that they’re suffering. So we continue to provide medical care for them. So, you know, normally a person wouldn’t adopt an animal that maybe need some extra medical care. So we provide Foster, you know, we get foster homes and we help them financially, medically, with those animals. So that is one of our programs that has come out of this whole transition as well as just doing a lot of behavior modification on some of those animals that are not really adoptable quite yet because they have some behavior problems. But we work on that and get them to the point where they are adoptable so that the nice thing about the whole how we have have this everything set up is the Humane Society kind of takes the animals that are easy, you know, easier to adopt, kind of ready for, you know, adoption. And that leaves us with resource is to help those animals that need that little extra care to get them back up on your feet. Yeah, I definitely like the distinction right between the two. I think initially when we first started talking, I was like, Oh, man, how am I going to keep this straight? Right? The Humane Society versus the city. You know, I was already kind of like What the heck, How do you know, how do they do that? And now I feel like that distinction is is fairly easy, right? Yeah, yeah, to your description. It’s the Humane Society’s taken the ready to adopt right? That the easy to adopt wands or easier. And then you guys, that frees up the time to focus on, you know, the ones that need more, more attention. The harder to adopt one’s s So you guys are in the same it sze one physical location. Talk to me a little bit about how many animals can be housed in that location. And then I want to dive a little bit into, you know, like your foster programs What that looks like for you and I off the top of my head. We probably have space. We probably have about 70 runs and cage it, Kate. Space for dogs and about 60 spaces for cats. Okay, so what happens is now the Humane Society because they have a separate cat adoption center. They Their cat program is completely separate from from our program. The dogs, they’re dogs that are available for adoption are still housed here on site, so the city still feeds them. We clean them. We We care for them while they’re here at the shelter. But they are under the Humane Society’s adoption programs, so they they take care of those adoptions. Okay, Very interesting. It is. It is kind of unique. The geek in the sheltering world. Yes. Yeah, that’s one of the questions that I’d like to ask, right, what makes you unique and different. But I didn’t even ask because I feel like that was pretty obviously stated right early on in our in our conversation, within your within your time in this transitional period. Was there one thing or is there one thing that stands out to you that really it’s something you can hang your hat on? What makes you the most proud? Well, there’s probably a lot of things, but one of the things that we did, you know, when we first started running this shelter, there was some concerns from the public because, you know, they thought of the, you know, city, the government is going to take over. And what is that going to mean for the animals? There’s going to be a lot more euthanasia. There’s going to know it’s going to be awful you know, and those those were certainly valid concerns. So one of the things we did right off the bat was we kind of maintained the same policies that the Humane Society had in terms of intakes and those kind of things. And then we kind of, you know, we went through the first year, and we kind of looked back and said, Okay, well, you know what was our biggest challenge and what what can we do? Different. And one of the challenges. And I think this is a challenge for a lot of shelters was just the number of cat’s coming into the shelter. And we’re like, Okay, so what what do we do? Do we get more? Do we build more space? Do we, you know, get portable classrooms and set up our cat cages? Because we had we literally had cats, like, you know, every everywhere we could fit them. We were putting cats, you know, again, not not unique for a shelter. I mean, that’s every shelters challenge. And actually, what What kind of was pivotal for us was Dr Hurley from UC Davis came up and and met with all of all of the animal organizations, and there’s quite a few here in town. We’ve got a very active animal community. And she said, You know, she talked about trap new to return and, you know, cat intakes and things like that. So we really, really looked at that very carefully, and I was not. You know, I’ve been an animal welfare for 40 over 40 years now, and I was like, You know, I was just having a hard time just getting my brain wrapped around that. When she came up here and talked about it, something just clicked. And one of the things she said, his cat sitter out in the community air different than dogs because, you know, again like I had explained before, animal control and animal shelter and came about because of Rabies control and dogs running loose, inviting people things like that, right? But shelters for years and literally I’ve like I said, I’ve been in sheltering for decades, and, you know, we’ve always taught the public we find a stray animal, bring it to the shelter. That’s the best thing for for the animal. But if you break it down Kat, we’ve been treating dogs, cats and dogs alike. So we’ve been treating cats like dogs. Cats need to come to the shelter because they’re lost and you know they need thio. They need us to protect them, to get them back home and all this kind of stuff. But what? But what Dr Hurley pointed out was most cats are community cats, and they’re not like dogs. If a dog goes missing, the owner starts looking for them immediately. When a cat goes missing, a lot of times, people don’t even know the cat’s missing right, because the cat maybe an indoor outdoor cat, and they’re they’re like, Oh, the cat. Did the cat go missing? You know, have you seen the cat today kind of thing. And so cats that are out there that are healthy really don’t necessarily need to come to the shelter because they’re probably just out cruising neighborhood doing their thing. And somebody sees them and they say, Oh, too friendly cat. It needs to go to the shelter. Well, you know what? That’s actually not true. So we changed our policies in 2013 on DH and we did this, and the only reason we could do this is because at the same time there was a trap neuter return organization starting up. But we basically told the public, Look, if the cat is healthy, doesn’t matter if it’s friendly. Farrell, whatever. If it’s healthy, it does not need to come to the shelter and it just just leave it be because it it it probably has a home or maybe several homes. There could be multiple people feeding that cat the cat could be getting food from, you know, other resource is, and it really doesn’t need our help. There’s really no need to bring that cat to the shelter because it doesn’t. It’s not in any kind of distress. So we just completely changed our cow policies so that if somebody says I see stray cats in my neighborhood or there’s a captain’s hanging around my house, we refer them to the TNR organization, who will come out for free and trap them, fix them and read and re released them in theirs in their neighborhood. So we don’t get that kitten overpopulation. But the cats, the cats, are in their own environment, so why take a cat? That probably has resource is bring it to the shelter and try to find it a home when it actually already had a home. But, you know, maybe not. Like we would define a home for a dog when there’s a specific owner or specific person caring for it. Yeah, it’s very interesting. And and obviously, anytime you make a policy change, right, there’s a lot of people involved in that. Yeah, and so I am. So I am very curious about how the community reacted, right, Because they go from this, you know? Call us, right? You CIA carry us, bring him in, you know? And now you’re saying Wait whoa. Well, right. Like, don’t do anything. Just call the tnr group. Right? And I’ll take care of some of the concerns. So tell me how the community reacted to that Now you’ve had it for almost six years. Yeah, we are. You know, like, tell me a little bit about that, that progression, because I agree with you. But I’m curious, right? So we were We’ve prepared, you know, staff, you know, for a couple of months, we you know, we talked about the policies and of course, you know, what was that looked at like on the front end for our staff. Like when somebody came in or called, How would we handle that? So we actually even did some role playing Where we, you know, I had some buddies pretend they’re, you know, they’re the finder of a cat and come in and say, Oh, I found this cat here, take it. And so we practice because, you know, this was a big changes. This is an a huge shift in mentality. And so we had to be prepared for dealing with the public. And the other thing we did was we went to the two local newspapers and we told them what our policies were going to be and why we even sent I wrote up a whole thing, and I sent it to our police chief, who sent it to the city manager who shared it with our city Council people. So they would be aware so that if they got any negative feedback, they would understand why we were doing this and went on the radio, You know, just wherever we could use to get the word out and just prep people. And the other thing we did is you know, we have people that were trapping they would bring us, you know, 10 2030 cats and oh, my gosh. And so we said, Look, we’re going to work. You’re going to keep trapping cats till one of us, you know, rise of old age, right? And it’s never going to solve the problem. But this is the solution. So this this is going to be you know, as of this date, we’re no longer taking in stray cat. But if you trap a cat, you can call this organization, and for no charge, they will have that cat fixed. And, you know, we have some studies that we were able to sight that we shared with the media. You know that this is the best, most effective, proven way of actually reducing the cat population in in a community or in the environment kind of thing. And so we actually did not get nearly a cz much pushback as we expected. In fact, we had people coming in and they say, I know, I know you don’t take cats, but can you give us the number for the people that will help us do trap, neuter, return. And even now 667 years later, When somebody comes in with a stray cat or they call us and are having issues with cats, they are actually a static that they have the option of having that trap Neuter returned on, and we will even take the cat in for them and say, Look, since you have the cat in the trap right now, right here, we will take the cat in and either we or the TNR organization will have that animal fixed for you and return to your neighborhood. And they’re they are 99.9% of the time. People are absolutely thrilled that not only is the cat not gonna end up in the shelter, and they don’t have to worry about it being euthanized, because out, of course, is always a concern from the public, but that the animal’s going to be fixed and returned, and they don’t have to worry about an endless supply of kittens, right? That’s usually the big factor. People get to the point like why I started feeding one, and now there’s to another’s 10 and now there’s, you know so on and so on, and so knowing that there’s not going to be any more kittens is huge. Yeah, it’s just a game changer. Yeah, I’m pleasantly surprised, Right? By the positivity around this, because such a big change on so many levels. Usually you get a, you know, a mixed reaction. But I love that you guys took the time you did the role plane. You reached out to the to the right people and told them, you know, when asked for their support, and I think that goes a long way. So I love how you guys did that. And quite honestly, I just love how the community is has gotten around you on, really supported that not only supported, but they really seem to understand what your goal is. Yeah, and I love that because that’s not something that we we see right. So I think that’s pretty awesome. Yeah, if you have that conversation when you know, because initially we’re like, Okay, we can’t We’re not going to take the cat in. And of course, that you know, they suddenly get like What do you mean? The problem? But when you start to explain, you kind of see the light will go on, and they’re like Oh, wow, that you’ll do that. Wow, that’s great. Yeah, they’re happy that we’re going to provide that service for for them. And you know, from a municipal standpoint, has a government agency who obviously money is, you know, kind of an issue. It actually is less expensive for us to do tnr than it is to have bring a cat in. How’s it for the holding period? And then hold it to either try to find a home or even, you know, if the cat is not adoptable, you know, have to euthanize it. So you know, the amount of stress on the staff is a lot less because there’s fewer animals in the shelter to care for on a day to day basis. So, yeah, there’s a little more work on the front end having to talk to the public right. But on the back end, there’s a lot less work and a lot less stress. Yeah, it’s saving you time and definitely money, right? And and resource is, if you’re right, that’s a that’s a triple triple of right there. So and the resource is that we save, we can help those cats that do need our help because we will take in sick cats. We will take an injured cats. We will take an orphan kittens. And so we have. The resource is in the manpower because we have a great foster network to help those animals that really do need our help and not clog up our system with animals that don’t need our help. Yeah, definitely interesting. So one of the other things I wantto I want to talk about since we’re talking about, you know, the community is what challenges do you guys see in Chico that you guys are maybe are focused on. So one of our challenges right now is because of the campfire. And because Paradise was is close to us. There only about, you know, 20 miles away from us or so 20 2020 minute drive when the fire happened. That put a huge stressor on our our facility, our community. And we’re still feeling those impacts because a lot of people were displaced and they still cannot go back home because there’s no home to go back to. They may never go back to paradise, right? And so people, animals all came to Chico for the most part And so that’s had a huge impact on our community as a whole, but also on the sheltering facility as well. Yeah, definitely. I can definitely understand. You know the impact and you don’t often write these air emergencies, and so you don’t have time to gear up and prepare, so you know, it happens just that quickly. So what have you guys been able to do with that influx to kind of maintain, You know where you guys were before that happened early on, when the actually, the morning the fire started, I got a call from Paradise Animal Control asking if they could bring their animals to our shelter. And so, fortunately, because it was November and it’s kind of our slower time of year, we had plenty of space that we we took their animals in. They have since opened, and they were able to take the animals back whatever animals were remaining. We also help our local. We have a local animal disaster group that sets up emergency shelter is kind of like the Red Cross does, but for animals. And so they set up shelters for all the displaced animals and most of those animals went back home, but then there were some that didn’t get reclaimed. So we had about 20 dogs that ended up coming to our facility that had not been reclaimed by their owners. We took in probably about 60 cats or so that we’re not claimed by owners. And we have found homes for them but that, you know, So that was the initial impact through January, February. And now that those shelters air closed down and you know, life is going back to quote unquote normal. We still have a lot more people living in Chico and a lot more dogs. So we’re seeing more animals coming into the shelter in terms of stray animals and also people needing to surrender their pets because they may have served, you know, gotten out of paradise. They’re staying with friends you know we’re looking at were going into 667 months now, and so they haven’t been able to find permanent housing. They might have to move out of the area. Or maybe they found housing with a friend, but they can’t bring their dog with them. So there’s been a lot of long term impacts for people on their pets in the community because of all the displacement and all the upheaval. Tow everyone’s lives and a lot of the dogs. You know, paradise is a more rural area, and so the dogs maybe are you still a little more space? And Chico’s kind of, you know, we’re all close together. Everybody’s houses, air kind of closer and backyards so the dogs aren’t really used to being confined there, not really used to being in a little backyard. Eso Some of those dogs are not adjusting well to being in the city versus being, you know, having a acre or two to run around on. And so those animals air having to be surrendered to the shelter. So it’s been it’s been really a challenge with the number of animals that that air needing assistance. Yeah, I think you know one of the things that really stands out for me, and that is, you know, the morning of the fire from from that very moment until now, which, like you said, is about seven months or so. You’ve never turned your back right. You knew that there was a challenge. You knew that people in animals needed help. And you were going to find a way with what you had right at your fingertips to to do what you needed to do. And so, through that entire story, I didn’t feel like one time. Sure, it was overwhelming, and I’m sure it was stressful. But you took it in stride. And I feel like that. That’s a huge thing because there are a lot of challenges that you described in that story. And I just didn’t feel like, you know, there was ever a quit in you, right There was never like, I can’t do this. We don’t have the resource is it was like, Let’s rally together. Let’s help these guys do what we can. And it obviously sounds like you have some partnerships, you know, with other organisations in and around Chico. And I’m assuming that they played a big part in this as well. Oh, oh, yeah, Absolutely. We like I said, we have this animal disaster group that has been around for many years and this is what they trained for. We’ve participated. Our staff has participated in trainings with them on DH, you know, having that resource. I think if we did not have that resource, we would have been completely overwhelmed. So having that local resource was huge because they played a huge role in the early days of, you know, people being displaced. But also, we had so much support from everywhere, literally, you know, all over the country, all over the world, you know, people sending donations and people coming to volunteer. And so it was just a wonderful experience. I mean, not not that, you know, there was a great experience, but it was just so wonderful having so much support, it was almost overwhelming. The amount of support we got in the sense that, you know, sometimes it was too much, you know, people were sending us things, and it was just But it was It was fantastic to know that people really cared and you were willing to help out. Yeah, that is one of the really cool things in the animal welfare industry, Right? Is that people really just have so much heart and they want to do anything they can. So that has to be one of the things that that kind of keeps you going, right in tough moments with the community support and your volunteers I want to talk a little bit about the foster program. How many foster homes do you have within your program on on paper? We’ve probably got about 40 people signed up S. Foster’s. We do have kind of are regular fosters that do a lot of kittens. Truth kitten season. So how are hostile program works when we get kittens? Because we will take in underage kittens if they don’t have a mom. So we always kind of ask people to make sure, you know, or did they just find a litter of kittens, you know, out somewhere. And there’s still a mom out there. We much of the murder that they stay with their mom. But if we know for sure that those kittens air, you know, no mom t care for them. Those kittens go immediately into foster care, and we’ve got a great network. Our vet attack Lori is fantastic. She kind of does all that juggling of finding foster homes and getting them. You know, the right age appropriate kittens in the right foster homes, because something will do bottle babies and some will d’oh a little bit older kittens and then getting them back in to the shelter when they are at eight weeks and two pounds so we can get them spayed. And then they go right into our adoption room and they usually go pretty quickly. So there’s a pretty good flow as those kittens are going into foster getting raised up and then coming back in getting getting what they need to get ready for adoption and then getting adopted out. Yeah, so I’m assuming right? One of the one of the challenge is always with, you know, organizations is that they’re always looking for more Foster’s. I’m assuming that’s the same for you guys as well. Oh, absolutely. We can always use Foster’s who can use. We can use the phosphorus homes and then for dogs. Most of our dogs that go into Foster are dogs that are maybe not doing well in the shelter. They might be a little more timid, afraid that kind of thing, and getting them into a home environment as quickly as possible versus being in the shelter always helps. So people that are willing to work with dogs are a little shy or maybe just frightened. You know, those those things really help a lot. So Foster’s. We can always use Foster’s for that as well. Yeah, and so how does if somebody is interested in helping you guys and wants to foster? What is that process look like for you? And how did they get in touch with you? They can either come to the shelter or email us. So we have a little application that we have. People fell out just to get an idea of. You know what they’re able to foster? You know, puppies. You know, kittens, older animals, things like that and what their home environment is like. Do they have other pets? Obviously, we want to make sure that we’re not placing a dog in a home. Well, that doesn’t maybe get along with other pets. So, you know, we try to make sure that we’re matching people appropriately, but it’s a little short form that they have to fill out. And so they can. They can give us a call or stop down or send us an email and fill that out. Yeah, I think that’s perfect. I mean, 48. 40 active Foster is pretty good. First for a steady flow. I’m pretty impressed by that And so you have one person who kind of maintains that. Yeah. And that includes the phosphorus pieces. That as well. Okay, yeah. Yeah. Okay. Yes, Very cool. So, talking about programs, what other programs do you guys have in place for the community? We offer Microchipping, which is huge. We love microchips because dogs and cats are more likely to go back home if they have a chip. Absolutely. And, you know, one of one of our early on, Probably the first couple months we started. We had a dog that was brought to us by a homeless person they had come from, I think Indiana, and they kind of travelled along, I think, one of the main highways over to California, and on their way, they picked up a dog, and then he got to Chico and they said, Well, I really, you know, can’t take care of this dog anymore. So they turned the dog in tow us, and we scanned it and it had a microchip. And the microchip went back to a family in Colorado. Okay, That the family had been visiting other family members in Kansas. The dog got out of the yard where they were and went to a rest stop, which is where the person picked the dog up. Brought it to Colorado. So are to California. So imagine your dog gets out, you’re in a different state, and then the dogs transported to another, completely different state. Now one of the odds of you getting that dog back if it didn’t have a chip. Yeah, zero, There’s here. There’s no way, no way on Earth you would ever find your dog. So we did a little fundraiser and paid to fly the dog back home to its family in Colorado. That’s amazing. And I got the chills when you told me at Awesome. Yeah, that’s you know, that’s kind of what it’s all about. Yeah, that is so microchipping, obviously, for that reason alone. But even just locally there’s there’s definitely a reason for it. So Oh, absolutely. Okay, you guys do Microchipping. Is there anything else? The other service that we do provide is low cost euthanasia services. We do it for animals that are suffering. We don’t just we don’t do euthanasia on demand. Sure, you know, my my dog has fleas are a moving or whatever, but if if it is a quality of life issue, we do offer that service because, you know, we understand that. That’s you know, it’s sure it can be expensive. Eso we do offer that to our local residents. OK? Yeah, I mean it. It definitely is important, right? For for animal shelter there. Animal organizations, tio have programs that support the people in the community. And I really like that. You guys, you know, are thinking about that. And you’re doing that right. It’s, you know, you’re trying to keep the pets with the people who love them, you know, so they don’t end up in the shelter and they’re not taking the resource is that you need for other animals who definitely have tio who definitely need your help. Exactly. So I love that I love that approach with you guys. Definitely very cool. So one of my one of my favorite parts in this is the memorable stories. Now you shared a really good one with the micro chipping. But I’m curious. Do you have another story that, you know, on the difficult days that you have to look back and remember like, this is why you love what you dio and you don’t want to do anything else. Uh, sure. I way have lots of stories, but most recently, again, going kind of going back to the camp Fire Lady was displaced and she turned her dogs into the temporary shelter for, you know, for them to care for the dog wall. She was, you know, trying to get her self back together. And when the temporary shelters were closing down, they contacted pet owners and said, You know, do you have any kind of arrangements for your patter, you able to take the pet back? And at that time, she said, I just I can’t You know, I can’t can’t take the dog back. And so she surrendered the dog over to the temporary shelter. And then and I think it was maybe February. She called here and said, You know, I had to surrender my dog and is there any way I can find out what happened to her? And I was like, Okay, we’ll try And I contacted one of one of the people from the organization that runs the temporary shelters that we had been working very closely with, and I said, you know, on the off chance. Is there any way to find out what happened to this dog? So she said, Yeah, let me see what I can find out. And so she she did Cem, you know, digging. And she called me back and he goes, Well, the dog was sent to the San Diego Humane Society and it was adopted out, and I was like, Okay, and she says, But it just so happens the dog was returned. Oh, my. And so I called the owner back and I said, Well, we found your dog and she’s at the San Diego shelter. Sure says, You know, Oh, I really I don’t have a place for the dog until May And I said, You know what? We’ll try. We’ll get the dog back up here and we’ll put her in a foster home until you’re ready to take her home. Okay, so we did way were able to get her back up here. We got her until a foster home. And just about probably about two weeks ago, she was able to come pick the dog up. And it was just an amazing reunion because, you know, I’m sure the dog You know, the dog’s been through so much. Owner’s been through so much, but they were just so happy to see each other. It was just amazing. So, yeah, that that’s what makes it all worthwhile helping people, you know, it’s out that animal people bond that is so important. And we recognize that we try to honor that and keep eat people on their pets together. You know, those are the people that deserved to have that animal back, right? They recognize they made a tough decision, given their circumstance. And they really wanted to make sure that dog is okay. Right? And I’m sure when she called, she didn’t She wasn’t assuming that she’d be able to get them back. Right? Right, Right. She was just taking a shot in the dark. Wanted to know if she was okay, right? And they talk like that. You get So she goes in Northern California. So what, Sandy at, Like a 10 11 hour drive? Yes. Yeah. I mean, that’s a that’s a big distance. And so that you were ableto work with another organization, right? Find out where they were, do the fundraising like there’s so many awesome things about that story. I agree with everything you said. I love the the distance and the meaning behind that. And I’m just a huge fan. And I agree that it’s a pretty that’s a pretty cool story. Pretty cool story. So and, you know, we when the fire happened, you know, we certainly wish we could have done more. But, you know, we did what we had. Certainly something like that is, you know, a couple of phone calls, and, you know, we were able to help. Yeah. Yeah, it’s not a whole lot of skin off your back, but it does take it does take a commitment, right? You have to reach out and work with other organisations and your partners, and, you know, you have to do a little digging. But at the end of the day, it’s all for the animal, right? So yeah, again, I just I love the story in the meaning behind that. So I wanted to talk about, you know, we’ve talked about kind of the trans transition and where you guys, you know, have been over the last seven or eight years. I want to talk a little bit about, you know, future events. Or, you know, what the future looks like for you guys is you kind of, you know, continue toe to change and mold what this looks like for you. So one of the things that has been a challenge in the community is spay neuter for shelter animals. We work with one of the local that clinics for a lot of our certainly do a lot of surgeries on animals. So amputations, you know, when a when a limb is, you know, injured we’ve had, you know, I remove ALS. We’ve had, you know, surgery for tumors. Pretty much you name it. We’ve provided for animals. Just so you know, maketh, um healthy, sure and adoptable. But the Spain neuters have been a challenge getting appointments and things. So one of the things that we are working on here in house is setting up a little surgery suite so that we can start doing our Spain looters in the house. And we just the not for the public, but for our animals here. Sure. So that we can get those done in a timely fashion because obviously, the longer it takes to get those surgeries done longer, the animal has to stay here. And of course, that impacts overall numbers in terms of Yeah, you know how many animals are in the shelter? And but also, you know why I haven’t and will stay in the shelter any longer than it really has to be here. Yeah, absolutely. So what do you guys currently doing now, then, for your surgeries and Spain owners and that kind of thing? Are you working with another organization or another group were working with ever with with whatever vets we can. But, you know, our there’s a low cost. They neuter clinic in the next community. Okay, over. But there, you know, they’re booked through July. Sure. You know, it’s a busy time of year for Spain. Neuters, obviously. And so they can only do so many of our animals. So we kind of parse them out to different that clinics, which takes a lot of time and coordination on the part of you know, of that tax getting all that coordinated. So, you know, it would be nicer if we could just say Okay, we’re gonna have that come in today. And do you know 10 Spain odors? Yeah. So you guys won’t actually have a vet on site necessarily. But you’ll work with with other vets and kind of do like a rotation. Is that kind of what you’re thinking? That’s kind of what our plan is. Yeah, Yeah, that’s very cool. Very cool. And so the timeline for something like that. I know it’s not for the general public necessarily. But how soon are you guys looking to incorporate? I’m hoping by the fall. OK, so it’s pretty quick. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s actually just a few short months away, right when we wait, we got a grant so would have the funding for it. It’s just actually making it happen. Yeah, eso yeah, that’s definitely a cool change. It’s something to look forward to and something that will, you know, help streamline the current process that you guys have. So I’m really excited that you were able Tio to kind of put that in motion to Tracy before we we get ready to wrap things up here. I know we talked a little bit about a lot of of different things and programmes included. Is there anything else that we maybe missed that you want to share you know, it’s been a very interesting run here for us. And I can tell you we’ve got a lot of very dedicated staff and they’re very passionate about what they d’oh. And I can tell you that, you know, having worked both for nonprofit and for a government agency, there are definitely positives and negatives to both sides of the equation. But certainly the town has been The city has been very, very supportive of us, and the community has been very, very supportive of us, especially, you know, again because they really didn’t know what was gonna happen. And I think that we have shown them that not only can eh government agency run a shelter well and care for the animals, and our euthanasia rate is actually extremely low. We only have to euthanize for animals that are, you know, suffering that we can’t help or animals that are just too aggressive to put in a home. Yeah, I think that’s a that’s a great rap up, right? And one of the things we didn’t get a chance to talk about was, you know, the shelter staff and honestly between you know, the staff and the community and the volunteers without all of them. It kind of doesn’t go right. You have to have an incredible team around you, and it definitely sounds like you guys have that. We’ll definitely make sure to follow you. I know you guys are on some social media platforms. If anybody’s looking for you, I think Facebook and Twitter for sure. And then also they can reach you at your website right, which is Chico Animal Shelter Dot or GE. I think I got that. Yeah, that’s it. Perfect. And again, thank you for joining me today. Well, thanks for having me has been great. Thanks for tuning into today’s podcast.  If you’re not already a member, join the ARPA to take advantage of all of the resources we have to offer.  And don’t forget to sign-up with It’s free and helps automate the most difficult tasks in animal rescue.

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