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Social Media Helps to Save Pets in Baldwin Park

The goal of the Animal Shelter volunteers is to reduce the euthanasia rate and find great homes for their highly adoptable pets.

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Social media like Facebook or YouTube are allowing volunteers at the Baldwin Park Animal Shelter to raise the adoption rate of home-seeking pets that otherwise might end up euthanized.

Lance Hunter, animal control manager, said almost every pet that has been promoted online by the shelter has been adopted. 

“Social media has made a huge difference,” Hunter said. “It has opened up the portal to show people we care and we want to help these pets find homes. We want to stop the idea that others have of us. We are not dog killers here.”

According to the facility’s records, over 575 animals have been adopted from the center since June 2011 until last month, including cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs and other types of animals the facility receives.

Most of the adoptions are a direct result of the work contributed by volunteers. Ric Browde is among them.

Browde is an administrator of The Baldwin Park Animal Shelter Facebook fan page that has reached more than 5,000 likes since its creation.

Using pictures and videos portraying every pet, the volunteers have been able to improve the rate of adoptions.

But according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), only 20 percent of animals in kennels get adopted, and even with the new technological efforts of the Baldwin Park animal shelter's volunteers and workers, some pets do not find homes.

“Mobile adoptions, networking lists, and Facebook postings are not enough,” says Browde in his blog. “The grim reality is that we only have 192 kennels and when you get 70 new dogs a day, and only average 30 adoptions a day, bad things are going to happen.”

The Baldwin Park Animal Shelter first opened in 1956 to protect the public from dangerous strays. Since then, the domestic animal overpopulation and the economy have had a significant role in changing the shelter's services.

“People are not taking responsibility for their pets,” said Hunter. “We had to evolve. We are here to assist the public but also help with animal adoption and care.”

The Baldwin Park animal shelter emphasizes programs to sterilize animals and reduce overpopulation.

“We encourage up and down, left and right, to spay and neuter,” Hunter said.

Every Wednesday and Thursday, the shelter also opens a clinic to the public offering low-cost vaccinations to prevent pet diseases.

The shelter's cheaper vaccinations were worth a three-hour wait for Martín Flores recently.

“I’m going to be here awhile,” said the Baldwin Park resident of 20 years. “I used to pay about $50 for one shot; it’s just more affordable here.”

The animal shelter is preparing to open a new clinic in January that will cost a little over $1.5 million. The shelter is one of three animal care centers receiving development funds from the Los Angeles County Capital Project.

The new clinic will allow the sterilization of all animals prior to adoption. Shelter workers can also evaluate impounded animals with medical concerns, triage injured and sick animals and host vaccination clinics.

For more information about the animal shelter, call 626-962-3577, visit the shelter at 4275 Elton St., or go to the shelter's website.

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