Kids & Pets
December 2, 2020
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Happy birthday to us!

By: Mickey Zeldes
October 9, 2020

I know that 2020 isn’t everyone’s favorite year but it is special for the Rohnert Park Animal Services as it marks our 25th year in our current facility!!  Building this shelter was a huge improvement over the tiny one room building we had been in.  This accomplishment took a lot of lobbying and fundraising, and I heard there was a bit of (gentle) arm-twisting!  The city is issuing a proclamation next Tuesday, October 13, recognizing this milestone and the hard work of two non-profits that directly support the shelter and the animals in our community.  Both FAIRE and ASL deserve huge accolades for all the money and hard work they put in. And, as we couldn’t have all the live celebrations we were planning for this year, at least this is some recognition.  Since council meetings are done by Zoom, instead of asking for a physical show of support, wouldn’t it be great if we flooded the city’s public comment system with notes of appreciation and support for our animal shelter?  Comments are accepted up until the agenda item closes on Tuesday so you have the weekend to write something.

We owe this beautiful building to not only the city, of course, but to the persistence of a small group of dedicated people who formed the organization FAIRE – Friends of the Animals in the Redwood Empire.  Their main focus when they incorporated in 1985 was Rohnert Park and helping us become the best shelter in the county.  From FAIRE’s website we get this story.

“With encouragement from FAIRE, a task force was formed by the city in 1989 to explore this possibility {of a new facility}. After much research and many meetings, this committee presented its design for a new shelter to Rohnert Park's City Council. On the final night for deciding the next year's budget it came down to a decision between new bike paths, an expanded overpass, or the animal shelter. FAIRE rallied 100 people from the community, filling the council chambers with supporters for the new shelter. And, by one vote, the new shelter was in the budget!”  I wish we knew who those 100 people were so we could personally invite them to join in our 25th celebration of what they helped to create.  If you happen to be one of them, or know someone who was, please ask them to tune into the council meeting and hear their proclamation of appreciation, and know some of it is for them!

FAIRE ran the adoption program for the shelter for many years.  They paid for, and still pay for, some of the advertising of animals available for adoption.  In 1997 they saw the need for financial assistance for the public to spay and neuter their pets and came up with a voucher program to help cover the costs.  Since then they have spent close to $100,000 to help prevent unwanted litters and that’s been a huge help in lowering the number of animals coming into the shelter each year.  They continue to support the shelter with dog training vouchers, foster supplies and prescription food for the animals here that need it.  FAIRE chipped in when we were remodeling the kitten room and continues to support us in a myriad of ways.  We truly appreciate their support!

In 2002 a group of the shelter volunteers decided to incorporate into a non-profit to help the shelter in other ways and hence the Animal Shelter League of Rohnert Park (ASL) was born.  This small but mighty group does fundraising on behalf of the shelter and animals in our community with directed mail pieces and events such as the Mutt Strut and Bark After Dark.  They pay for a lot of extras that are outside the city’s budget such as medical care for animals that come into the shelter with broken bones or other major injuries, lab work for sick animals, collars and leashes for every animal adopted, safe carrying boxes to send the cats home in, support of Bunny Day and our small animal program, to name just a few examples.  Their community programs include the “Get Them Back Home” campaign which offers free microchips and ID Tags to all pets in Rohnert Park and the City of Cotati; Silver Paws, which covers veterinary expenses for the pets of low-income seniors in our area; Kidz ‘n Critters summer camp, to help teach kindness to the next generation and so much more!  

We are all the better for the support of these two organizations and their recognition by our city council is well deserved.  Please join in this show of support by going to the city’s website, www.rpcity.org and looking up the agenda for the council meeting on Oct. 13.  There will be instructions on how to submit public comment for your agenda item.  Then please take a couple of minutes to send in your email of support.  Thank you!

 

Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at mzeldes@rpcity.org.