Most every city has at least one animal shelter, generally run by the county. Many also have humane societies where animals fare a little better. But sadly, many pets that end up at either type of facility do not last long. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that while 6-8 million pets are taken to animal shelters each year, only 3-4 million are adopted, less in some areas. But there’s a different kind of animal shelter you should know about. It’s called a no-kill animal shelter. And that is the goal of a relatively new group that in Shasta County, known as Another Chance Animal Welfare League, or ACAWL.
Founded in the fall of 2005, ACAWL has already put together a network of volunteers, a board or directors, and has recently opened a thrift store in the Holiday Quality foods shopping center in Palo Cedro. The thrift store is a means to raise funds to support the program and provide a place where kind-hearted souls wishing to adopt pets can visit the animals on adoption days. In most animal shelters and humane societies, pets are housed in cold cages and have too little human interaction. But pets taken in by ACAWL are housed in foster homes around the county. They are part of their foster families, receiving the best of care and love until ACAWL can find each pet a “forever home.”
Two Saturdays a month (the second and fourth Saturdays to be exact) from 10am to 3pm some of the pets can be viewed at adoption day events held at the thrift store, located at 9384C Deschutes Road, in Palo Cedro. As you enter the Holiday Quality Foods shopping center, you’ll find the thrift store on the north end of the center. On adoption days a counselor is available to help you determine if a particular pet is right for you, and to start the paperwork if the answer is “yes!”
Summer of 2006 ACAWL will see the launch “Muttmatchers Messenger,” a tool for those who must surrender their beloved pets and those who wish to adopt them. After all, not all pets that end up in animal shelters do so because of abuse or willful abandonment. Sometimes illness or hospitalization forces a pet owner to find new arrangements, hopefully not in a traditional animal shelter. Muttmatchers Messenger will make that process easier. This is not a new publication but it is new to ACAWL, having obtained the rights from the founder.
ACAWL is always looking for volunteers dedicated to the welfare of pets. Helping at the thrift store would be an excellent volunteer opportunity for high school and college students or retired folks wishing to participate in community service. If you have a big heart and a home with a fenced yard and would like to become an ACAWL foster parent, call 530-547-PETS (7387) or e-mail at email@example.com. Also needed are good quality donations for the thrift store. And like any type of animal shelter or other not-for-profit, financial donations are always needed. ACAWL has a Guardian Angel program where members donate $25 per month to help support the pets in this very special program. If you’d like to send a donation, please address it to ACAWL, P.O. Box 308, Millville, CA 96062. ACAWL is a registered not-for-profit 501(c)3, therefore donations are tax deductible.
The president of ACAWL is Sandy Shelby. You may remember her from the many years she worked in animal rescue at the Haven Humane Society animal shelter. While there, she oversaw a program that saved over 4,000 pets. Now Sandy’s vision is for an animal shelter that does not practice euthanasia. And through hard work, excellent volunteers, a dedicated board of directors, and a lot of love for pets, ACAWL is making the vision of a no-kill animal shelter real.
You can see pets that are part of the ACAWL program by logging onto Petfinders.com and entering a Shasta County zip code. Then arrow down to find Another Chance Animal Welfare League. Animals in other animal shelters are also available for viewing on Petfinders.com.