<!--:es-->Animal Samaritans, Counting on you to Lend a Helping Paw<!--:-->

Animal Samaritans, Counting on you to Lend a Helping Paw

Al Vasquez

La Prensa Hispana

Walk in to the Animal Samaritans clinic on Ramon Road in Thousand Palms, and it will open your eyes to a startling reality. There are thousands of Gods little creatures who are voiceless, in need and totally helpless, so few of them have a fighting chance. Unless we as human beings give them a hand, they die, simple as that. For the most part, these deaths mean nothing to the average person. But, once you peer into their eyes, see the love they express and feel their expressed or silent yearning to be your best friend, all of that changes. It is difficult to walk away from a loving puppy or kitten who is licking their way into your heart.

Animal Samaritans has been a dog or cat best friend since 1978. Thousands of animals have been saved through either their direct intervention or through the spay and neuter clinic that has prevented the birth of hundreds of thousands unwanted animals. Simply 2 uncontrolled breeding kittens and subsequent litters will add up to 12,000 cats in just five years. Tragically, the majority of these births will end up in suffering and early deaths.

In 2008 alone, Animal Samaritans conducted 8,353 spay and neuter surgeries, one of which was a rabbit. They performed 24,924 vaccinations and 787 animals were taken by their owners to be micro-chipped. A tremendous amount of work coming out of a 3,000 square feet space painstakingly maintained to veterinary standards, Painstakingly due to the heavy use and the relatively old age of the structure. Fortunately, a state of the art structure of 7,360 square feet will be built next to the Riverside County Animal Shelter in Thousand Palms that will work closely with the county facility in an effort to rescue as many animals as space will permit.

Animal Samaritans works under county laws and although they may want to rescue every animal brought into the local County Animal Control center, they must prioritize and fill their space with those who would be the most adoptable. They are only allowed to have approximately a combined total of 50 dogs and cats in their facility at any given time with kittens dominating the number. A few rescued cats have called the facility home for 10 years and have no intentions to leave. Ironic as it seems, when adopted, these rascals let their new owners know in no uncertain terms they want to go back and they do. This however is the exception.

Having met with Bill Blue, the President of the non-profit organization, Barbara Flanagan board member, one of the original founders and Richard Martin the Director of Operations, it is clear that for directors and staff involved, the only thing larger than their heart and commitment is the size of their mission.

Animal Samaritans is much more than a rescue facility, it provides low cost spay and neutering, humane education, senior pet wellness, adoptions, animal assisted therapy, vaccinations, micro-chipping, the feral cat program, pet dental care services and a wide array of school presentations and educational classes. Animal Samaritans reaches out across the valley including stops in the East Valley and you can call them at 343-4271 or 396-1249 to obtain any information you may need. If you are looking for a new pet, call Animal Samaritans first, they always have an amazing variety. Any pet you find there will be healthy, vaccinated and spayed