This Sunday, April 29, C.A.R.E.4Paws will roll out its brand-new Spay Mobile with a Spay Day for 15 dogs and cats on Santa Barbara’s Lower Eastside.
The kickoff for the Spay Mobile, Santa Barbara County’s first spay-neuter clinic on wheels, coincides with the launch of C.A.R.E.4Paws’ latest project — a pilot Critical Communities Targeted Neighborhood Spay-Neuter Outreach Program.
This innovative program focuses on promoting spaying and neutering and responsible pet ownership on the Lower Eastside, a Santa Barbara area where animal overpopulation is a major concern.
C.A.R.E4Paws is reaching out to each household in this “critical community” (east and south of Trader Joe’s on Milpas Street) to make direct contact and provide free spay/neuter surgeries and support services to all cats and dogs. The goal is to change the conditions of pet ownership and reduce animal overpopulation in the area permanently.
Animal control agencies and animal welfare activists agree that a high percentage of homeless dogs and cats come from certain areas of the county, where pet owners are less likely to alter their pets and provide ongoing veterinary care.
In the targeted Eastside neighborhood, C.A.R.E.4Paws volunteers, led by the organization’s Critical Communities Outreach coordinator, Carlos Abitia, are going door-to-door to share information about free spay/neuter services, low-cost vaccinations and other forms of assistance and to sign pet owners up for spay/neuter and vaccination clinics.
Each part of the neighborhood is then visited by C.A.R.E.4Paws’ Spay Mobile to ensure pet owners are able to follow through with spay/neuter surgeries and vaccinations.
“We will do this one household at a time,” said Abitia, a C.A.R.E.4Paws’ co-founder. “The only way to reduce pet overpopulation is to communicate directly with the families who historically have not been reached with the message about spaying and neutering. By going to their homes, and making our services accessible and affordable, we can make real change in a critical neighborhood. Once that’s done, we’ll move on to the next critical community, until all of Santa Barbara County is committed to spaying and neutering and embraces a general sense of responsible, loving pet care.”
The Critical Communities Targeted Neighborhood Spay-Neuter Outreach Program is funded by the Santa Barbara Foundation and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, both of which recognize the need for innovative approaches to the persistent problem of pet overpopulation.
After the April 29 Spay Day kickoff, C.A.R.E.4Paws’ Spay Mobile, outfitted with the generous support of the Santa Barbara Humane Society, will be deployed to high-need neighborhoods throughout Santa Barbara County.
— Isabelle Gullo is the director of C.A.R.E.4Paws.