KERN COUNTY, Calif. (PRWEB) March 30, 2021
Dog rescues are fighting a losing battle and it's not going to be any easier despite entire cities, such as Los Angeles, converting their shelters to "No Kill" facilities. That's the dire warning issued by Jeanete Portocarrero, CEO, and founder of Lost and Found Dog USA Rescue in Kern County, California. "If people fully understood the daily obstacles rescuers face trying to save homeless dogs, there would be a public outcry for change," said Portocarrero, who founded her rescue in 2010, while also establishing the first dog lost and found Facebook page in the Antelope Valley.
Since then, many dog rescues have followed and are actively engaged in saving animals. "Thankfully, through everyone's efforts, and by continually making the community aware of the issues through education, we have reduced the euthanasia rate in our area by nearly fifty percent," she said. “Now, after being in the trenches rescuing dogs for more than a decade, it's time to rescue the rescuers."
Recently featured on Netflix's popular reality show, 'Canine Intervention,' it depicts the life of a full-time rescuer in America. "But that’s just not me," says Portocarrero, "There are hundreds of Jeanette’s across the country and it’s a very lonely silent war that we are fighting. For example, as shelters strive to become no-kill facilities, which is also our goal, rescuers are left to pick up the pieces.
"Here's why," she continued, “No-Kill shelters are only becoming 'No Kill' because they are simply turning away so many of the animals they once accepted, which are putting those dogs and cats in extreme jeopardy. Obviously, rescuers will now have to work even harder because unless these animals are rescued, they will more than likely suffer a painful, slow death on the streets."
As you might imagine, the life of a rescuer is anything but glamorous. "You wake up to an alarm of barking dogs, crates to clean and food to mix. You go without showering because in an instant you are running out the door with your trap to save a desert dog who has been left for dead. With no life or time for relationships, you're driven by the fact that these animals once belonged to someone and we must make them whole again."
Her dream is to make every rescue, "Rescue Rich”. "That means waking up with a smile in our hearts because we are rich in knowledge, manpower, support, tools, supplies, and the funds that no matter what animal, what shape it comes in, we can get it done. Whether it's medical or behavioral... we have the means to run with it," she adds.
According to Portocarrero, being Rescue Rich also means no more broken-down trucks, broken spirits, dreams or raggedy clothes and shoes, I want rescuers to shine and be proud of what they do. This should not only come by way of donations or adoption fees. We shouldn’t have to toss and turn at night because we don’t know where the next dollar will come from to feed the animals and provide medical care. This is also a massive undertaking and the government must play a role in it, period!"
In the wake of the pandemic, Jeanette said the adoption rate at Lost and Found Dog USA Rescue soared by 700 percent as people had more time to spend with their new family members. "We were prepared for the spike in pet applications and could meet the demand," she said. "And because of the increased revenue, we've been able to make awesome improvements to our rescue." On the flipside, county shelters have scaled back their intake rate and are now doing things differently because of that the abandonment rate has skyrocketed, we are back to square one -- too many dogs and not enough money!"
She believes that the dog crisis in America stems from a lack of education, information and accountability. "It occurred to me years ago, 'Why am I footing the bill for dogs that belong to somebody else... why am I taking them to the vet... who is really responsible for them. The big question is, whose dog is this? The solution is right in front of us," she points out. "I believe that no matter what! every dog should be traceable back to its original owner. If dog owners were educated about their local animal ordinances and existing laws were enforced -- people would think twice before dumping their pets. Conversely, she believes that if dogs are humanely surrendered, there should be no fear of judgement or prosecution.
Jeanette says that education is the key to the dog crisis. "For example, I am shocked by how few families know what a microchip is," she said. "And worse, only about one percent of the dogs we rescue have been spay and neutered or microchipped. There must be public awareness campaigns starting with elementary school students. I'm always happy to speak to children about proper dog care, spay and neutering, vaccinations and the dangers of disease, such as Parvo.
A successful entrepreneur with a competitive spirit, Portocarrero has found a proven formula for operating a dog rescue despite the obstacles. "There were no 'How To' books when I started... I had to learn everything on my own…the hard way." That's why she's happy to share her experience with other shelters across the country, or with anybody seriously considering starting a rescue. Her first piece of advice? "Research! Study! Ask other rescues questions, volunteer, do some apprentice time and above all... have a solid business plan."
For more information and to contact http://www.chasingdogs.org or call 1-661-878-3551.