Saturday, January 2, 2010

Wishes for pets in the new year

With the new year rushing up to greet us like a little of lab puppies, I’d like to share my wishes for the pets of Kern as we head into 2010.

First and foremost, I wish everyone would get their pets licensed. Licensing your pets helps to address so many of the issues people have with Animal Control that it’s difficult for me to see why people don’t embrace taking this action. The funds generated through licensing allow for programs like low-cost spay and neuter vouchers, additional staff to respond to nuisance animal calls, upgrades to the shelter to make the animals more comfortable and an increase in the number of people whoa re reunited with their lost pets. Cat owners, you’re not exempt on this one, either. Animal Control also offers a cat identification tag for only $5 per year. Let’s make 2010 the year people get serious about licensing their pets.

Next on my wish list is increased activity on behalf of pets in Kern County. If you’ve ever been frustrated about the current pet ownership rules, wondered how you could do more to support spay/neuter programs, been curious about what shelter volunteers do or want to know more about the factors that our county Animal Control department deals with on a regular basis, it’s time for you to attend the Animal Control Commission meetings. The meetings are held on the third Wednesday of the month at the Kern County Public Services Building, 2700 M Street, at 6 p.m. Concerned pet owners may develop a whole new perspective on the issues in play surrounding pets in Kern County and how vital a role residents have in creating change.

Now, there are those who make an active effort to avoid anything to do with Animal Control, simply because the idea of being a part of a group where so many animals are euthanized is too emotionally traumatic for them, and I can certainly respect that viewpoint. For you folks, my wish is that you will step up to the plate and do more for those local organizations who do not euthanize health, adoptable animals.

The Cat People, Alpha Canine, Kern Humane Society, and the Bakersfield SPCA are all local organizations who can use all the support they can get, especially during these difficult economic times when the number of surrendered pets increases while the number of donations decreases. The Bakersfield Pet Food Pantry is another recent addition to the list, as a nonprofit organization that collects pet food to distribute to the needy and to disabled or homebound seniors.

Any of these organizations will happily accept financial donations or membership requests, but you can also help by becoming a foster parent to a pet in need or by donating office supplies, cleaning supplies, blankets or food to these groups. You can also encourage the company you work for to become a corporate sponsor of one of more of these groups, knowing that more homes have pets than ever before and pet owners love doing business with businesses who value pets and the human-pet connection.

So, there you have it. Let’s see if we can make 2010 the best year yet for pets in Kern County.

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