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Veterinarian Steps Up to Fund Heal the Ocean’s Doggy Bag Program

Dr. David Dawson gives $6,000 to provide waste-bag dispensaries at Arroyo Burro and other local beaches

Heal the Ocean announced Wednesday that its program to provide doggy bags for Santa Barbara County’s South Coast beaches has received a significant financial boost of $6,000 from Dr. David Dawson, owner of San Roque Pet Hospital and Montecito Pet Hospital.

Through HTO’s joint program with Santa Barbara County Community Services, Dr. Dawson, who recently acquired the Montecito Pet Hospital on Coast Village Circle, has entered a one-year contract to provide funding for the doggy bags at the Miramar Beach steps, Hammonds Trail, Butterfly Beach, Lookout Park and Summerland Dog Beach.

In addition, through his San Roque Pet Hospital, Dr. Dawson is providing for all three doggy bag dispensers at Arroyo Burro Beach, one of the most popular dog beaches in Santa Barbara County.

Dr. Dawson, whose pet hospitals combine under the name of Santa Barbara Veterinary Group, also include the HydroPaws Animal Rehabilitation and Performance Center. He has been providing pet waste bags at Arroyo Burro Beach for some time.

“The doggy bag dispensing campaign is an essential part of allowing all of us dog lovers to enjoy the beach while keeping it clean and healthy for the entire community,” he said.

Hillary Hauser, executive director of Heal the Ocean, lauded Dr. Dawson’s generosity in helping to help keep doggy bag dispensers stocked. HTO has been raising money to help the county buy bags since June 2010, through Heal the Ocean’s website, where pictures of “doggy donors” are posted.

“But at $2,500 a palette (of bags),” Hauser said, “the expense was beginning to pack a punch.”

HTO created the joint dispenser sponsorship program with Santa Barbara County in 2011 to help raise funds, and Dr. Dawson’s participation represents a refocusing of the entire program, Hauser said. Her organization is launching a public information campaign as well, to encourage people to bring their own dog bags to the beach, to consider the bags in the dispensers as an “emergency — oh, I forgot!” supply.

For more information, or to learn prices of other dispensers available for advertising, contact Heal the Ocean at 805.965.7570.

— Hillary Hauser is executive director of Heal the Ocean.

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