The Animal Shelter Assistance Program (ASAP) was the recipient last Friday of two legislative resolutions honoring its 25 years of service to the feline and human residents of Santa Barbara County.
At a news conference held at the Santa Barbara animal shelter, executive director Angela Rockwell accepted two resolutions honoring ASAP’s role in the community. Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf presented ASAP with a Resolution of Commendation Honoring the Animal Shelter Assistance Program upon its 25th anniversary, approved by the Board of Supervisors. Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, and state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, then presented the Legislature’s Resolution honoring ASAP’s achievements and contribution to the community.
Wolf, whose district includes the Santa Barbara shelter, praised the commitment of the many volunteers whose work is essential to ASAP’s success.
“I am proud to present this award on behalf of the county, to an organization that has accomplished and continues to accomplish so much,” she said.
Williams and Jackson spoke of their own experiences as cat owners, and the need to provide compassionate care for homeless animals.
“We are celebrating 25 years of ASAP’s extraordinary achievements in saving cats’ lives and serving the residents of Santa Barbara County,” Rockwell said. “Our relationship with Santa Barbara County Animal Services represents a uniquely successful collaboration between a public and private entity, with results that go far further than either of us could achieve alone.”
She went on to note that ASAP is considered a model of successful private/public partnership, with fundraising and volunteer support providing the equivalent of 15 full-time employees (FTE) to the County’s Animal Services program.
ASAP was founded in 1989 by a small group of volunteers committed to saving the lives of the 90 percent of cats then being killed at the county shelter. Within a year, the euthanasia rate of adoptable cats was reduced to zero. ASAP has continued to save all adoptable cats in its care since then, including many cats transferred from higher-kill shelters in Lompoc and Santa Maria. It cares for approximately 1,200 cats each year, including 400-plus kittens, and is the sole shelter for lost and abandoned cats on the South Coast.
In addition to receiving these resolutions marking its achievements, ASAP will host a 25th Anniversary Celebration from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 17, at QAD in Summerland. The celebration will include a cocktail reception, presentation, live auction, and light dinner and dancing with music by local band Area 51.
— Lee Heller is board vice president of the Animal Shelter Assistance Program (ASAP).