A current and ongoing plan aims to develop emergency preparedness in the event of a disaster. The shelter partners with Sonoma CART (Community Animal Response Team) for training, networking and certification. A shelter evacuation exercise has already been created and a shelter-in-place exercise will be next.
The shelter aims to soon be certified as a co-located shelter (in which family and pets are either in the same building, different rooms, adjacent buildings or nearby facilities) with mobile shelters available if needed. Staff members participate in ongoing quality training as disaster service workers so that they can serve as first responders.
All of these additional features are especially important to residents of Sonoma Valley. Pets Lifeline is the only shelter in the valley, and if it didn’t exist to provide its range of services, strays would have to be taken to places like Santa Rosa, Marin County, or Napa County.
Since June 1, 2021, 613 animals — 175 dogs and 438 cats — have arrived at the shelter. During this period, 564 animals left: 83 dogs were adopted, 83 were returned to their owners and 2 were transferred; 276 cats were adopted, 117 were returned to their owners and three were transferred.
Since 1982, Pets Lifeline has provided 20,241 pets with shelter, care and protection; found “permanent” homes for 12,590 cats and dogs; and returned 7,449 lost and frightened animals to their families.
The shelter works with other local animal shelters to better meet the needs of animals and the community at large. With its additional space and services, Pets Lifeline can mainly focus on hosting cats and dogs; last year he only transferred five animals. Sonoma County Animal Services and Lake County Animal Services, two open-admission shelters, have the greatest need for foster dogs, King said.
“We visit them regularly and take dogs and cats into their homes,” she added. “It’s an exciting day when we fill our van with animals from our partner shelters. We also work with Muttville [based in San Francisco]which is an amazing organization dedicated to senior dogs, and a variety of other partners, such as Forgotten Felines, British Columbia Chihuahua rescue.
Last year, more than 65 of the 482 lost and abandoned dogs the shelter took in came from other shelters. The capacity of the shelter to accommodate other animals depends on the conditions of the animals already there and the space available.
Pets Lifeline is considered a “no-kill” haven, as its live release rate over the past five years is 97.8%, above the required 90%. A no-kill shelter is also defined as a shelter that does not euthanize healthy or treatable animals even when the shelter is full, reserving euthanasia for terminally ill animals or those considered dangerous to public safety. Pets Lifeline also meets this requirement.
“But the animal welfare industry as a whole is moving away from the kill versus don’t kill terminology,” King said. “As an organization, our board and staff are wholeheartedly on board with this and choose to focus on programs that reduce the supply of animals such as neutering and humane education, and focus instead on how many lives we can save.”
She says that regardless of whether they kill or not, all shelters perform euthanasia in cases where animals pose a danger to the community or are in intense suffering.
Pets Lifeline is also celebrating its 40th anniversary. Its roots date back to 1982, when Helen Clary and a handful of other dedicated animal lovers, fearing that there were no local animal shelters or resources to help solve the problem of stray and abandoned animals, decided to start a local animal welfare organization out of her. residence.
“Originally, the animal population was much freer, and Helen and company would return strays to owners or find homes if no owners showed up,” King said. “She also spearheaded the spaying/neutering movement at the time to reduce the population of unwanted cats and dogs.”
The shelter moved when the Eighth Street property was donated and construction of the original shelter was completed in 1987. Its mission is to protect and improve the lives of cats and dogs in need. in the Sonoma Valley through fostering and adoption, human nurturing, and community. programs.
“Over the years, the mission has been updated to include the services we provide, resulting in bringing people and animals closer together,” King said. “Pets Lifeline has been successful in fulfilling its mission because we put animals first. The organization has become an exceptional community resource.
“Animal welfare, as we know it, reflects our ever-changing community. In a perfect world, we would be working unemployed ourselves and not losing and abandoning cats and dogs. To that end, we now have great programs to help keep animals home instead of coming to a shelter.
Contact the reporter, Dan Johnson, at [email protected]