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May 2008 issue of Dog Fancy magazine!
Irvine Animal Care Center Awarded “Shelter of the Year”
The Irvine Animal Care Center (IACC) is the proud recipient of the 2007 "Shelter of the Year" award presented during Purina Pro Plan’s 53rd Annual Show Dogs of the Year Awards, by Dogs in Review and Bow Tie Inc. The Shelter was selected for the award based on their innovative programs and disaster relief efforts during the 2007 Southern California wildfires.
During the firestorm, the Shelter received more than 90 pets from families who had to evacuate their homes from San Diego, San Bernandino and Orange Counties. All animals were safely returned to their original owners after spending an average of eight days at the Shelter. To help care for the additional animals, staff and volunteers worked tirelessly to make sure that each animal was comfortable with blankets, beds, toys, treats and was given extra TLC. The community’s support through donations was greatly appreciated and helped the Shelter accommodate the additional pets in their care.
The Shelter also responded to a request for assistance from the Escondido Humane Society (EHS). The EHS was overwhelmed by the number of animals they received from evacuating families. Representatives from the IACC made an emergency trip to Escondido, where 20 dogs were picked up and taken back to the Irvine shelter for adoption. Since then, the IACC has made return trips to the EHS and have taken an additional 37 dogs to adopt at their facility. The collaboration helped alleviate the strain on a shelter that was at one point in the direct path of flames and in fear of evacuation.
The Irvine Animal Care Center is the largest pro-humane animal shelter in Orange County, and receives nearly 4,500 animals each year. The Shelter is situated on a beautiful 3.73 acre facility that looks more like a park than an animal shelter. The IACC prides itself on mimicking a family life for the shelter pets that are temporarily in its care. Each pet enjoys a daily routine of having playtime in a dog exercise yard or a cat socialization room, going for walks with dedicated volunteers (or receiving socialization from volunteers), and eating high quality pet food from Science Diet. The Shelter is also home to 14 farm yard animals including two goats, three pigs and nine chickens. The farm yard animals were used for humane education and are now being pampered in their retirement.
The Shelter’s innovative programs have not only helped to educate the community about the needs of homeless, abandoned and abused pets, but have also saved thousands of lives through their Third Chance for Pets program. The Third Chance program transfers pets from animal shelters across Southern California to the IACC for another opportunity to find a loving and permanent home.
The success of the Shelter can also be measured by the number of animals they receive that are reunited with their original owners. Fourty three percent of dogs that enter the Shelter are returned to their original owners (national average is 15 percent). And five percent of cats that enter the Shelter are returned to their original owners (national average is two and a half percent). Ninety percent of all animals that enter the Shelter are adopted into new and loving homes or returned to their original owners.