Thinking Outside the Shelter

Joy Wegner

You might get your library books from Pima County Library; you likely go to an event in Oro Valley, in Pima County; and you get your local news from Tucson, in Pima County, right?

But you pay your property taxes to Pinal County! That’s because most of the SaddleBrooke development is located in Pinal County. We lay claim to being the southernmost community in Pinal County! This claim-to-fame has its bonuses and its challenges.

One of those challenges is the location of Pinal County Animal Care Center (PCACC). The shelter is located at 1150 South Eleven Mile Corner, eleven miles east of Casa Grande. This shelter is actually 63 miles northwest of SaddleBrooke! Though distant from your own neighborhood, PCACC Shelter is the recipient of a small portion of your tax dollars. It is Pinal County’s response to the need to protect and care for stray dogs and cats, pets that are relinquished by owners, and the four-legged lost-and-found.

A few volunteers travel the distance to the shelter on a regular basis to assist with the dogs and cats. Another group of volunteers have built and maintained dog beds for the shelter for nearly two years now. The SaddleBrooke Pet Rescue Network has donated funds, primarily for medical assistance to specific needs, as well as sending donations of towels, blankets, pet food, and toys to PCACC.

Using your imagination, you might consider some opportunities to help our “local” county animal shelter without having to drive the distance required to actually be at the shelter. Maybe your heart or your stamina prohibits you from volunteering directly with the animals at the shelter. Let’s ignite your imagination!

Do you like to write, or advocate? Send an email, a letter, or make a phone call to the Pinal County Board of Supervisors, expressing your concern and support for increased funding for PCACC. Mera Laureys, of SaddleBrooke and a shelter volunteer, recently attended a meeting of the Board of Supervisors. She used the “Call to Public” time to urge the Supervisors to consider increasing the budget for the shelter, to cover additional veterinary needs, facility repairs and renovations, and additional staff. Comments from Pinal County residents would help support this request. You’ll find the address and phone number for the Board of Supervisors at www.pinalcountyaz.gov/bos.

Are you savvy with social media? Assist the shelter with online publicity about upcoming adoption events, online education about the importance of spay/neuter, and volunteer opportunities at the shelter. This can be done with phone conversations between you and the shelter staff, followed by online postings in various media opportunities.

Do you seek to make a positive difference long-term? A new 501(c)(3) entity, Friends of Pinal County Animal Shelter and Rescues, has been established as a non-profit foundation to provide support for the shelter’s needs and development. The foundation will need assistance with fundraising, including organizing activities, writing letters and grants, contacting businesses for support, and publicity. Drop an email to FriendsOfPinal@gmail.com to express your interest or your questions about this opportunity.

Can you work your power drill? Assist with repairs to dog beds. The beds can be brought to your home, where you can remove damaged covers and replace them with new covers. You can work at your own home, at your own pace, and average about an hour per week. Training and direction will be provided. Contact joy.wegner@gmail.com for details.

Perhaps you do want hands-on experience working with shelter dogs and cats! Of course, volunteers to walk dogs, stroke kitties, play and socialize with animals are needed at the shelter. Even if you need to limit the physical interactions, there are kennel enrichment programs that do not require walking the dogs. The cattery is a wonderful place for a sit with the kitties. Volunteer training is offered regularly, car-pooling makes the hour-long trip a social opportunity, and the dogs and cats of Pinal County Shelter would benefit from your hands-on care. You can find volunteer information on the shelter’s web page, www.pinalcountyaz.gov/animalcontrol.

Think outside the box, and inside the county!