|Monday, 01 October 2012 00:00|
Rescue Organization Readies for Major Transport S.T.A.R.T. Plans to Save 200 Pets in One Day
TUESDAY, Ooct. 1, 2012 – The unique partnership between S.T.A.R.T. Rescue and Riverside County Animal Services gets major this Thursday, Oct. 4.
On that day the Studio City-based nonprofit animal-rescue organization orchestrates its biggest one-day transport to date.
S.T.A.R.T. – an acronym for Shelter Transport Animal Rescue Team – plans to save about 150 pets from the county's Western Riverside County/City Animal Shelter. Two large vehicles and one airplane will be part of the one-day transport operation. Most of the 150 pets saved that day will be dogs, but the transport will also include some felines. Roughly 50 more pets will be rescued from different Inland shelters.
The destinations for the Riverside County pets will be mostly Pacific Northwest locations in Oregon and Washington. Some of the animals will head to guaranteed-placement shelters and some will be sent to smaller, nonprofit rescue organizations that are already prepared to foster or place the furry friends.
"This one-day transport mission is to continue building the relationship we have in Riverside County, but also make a statement that we still have yet to make a dent in the pet-overpopulation problem throughout Southern California," said Steve Spiro, president of S.T.A.R.T. "Our message is blunt: Too many animals die in shelters statewide. We have to keep hounding people to spay and neuter their pets and help us all end this terrible cycle."
Piggybacking on that point, Riverside County is providing free spay-and-neuter surgeries that day for "lightweight" dogs (weighing 20 pounds or less). All appointments are already filled for this special. The county is using a waiting list of prior "lightweight" surgery pet people.
Each year, thousands of pets from Riverside County's shelters are saved, thanks to the efforts of nonprofit rescue-group partners. S.T.A.R.T. is one of the newer groups, but has proven to be one of the most active, said Dr. Allan Drusys, the county's chief veterinarian and supervisor of the rescue-group partnerships.
"This wonderful organization reached out to us about a year ago and, since that first meeting, has been responsible for saving hundreds of our pets," Dr. Drusys said. "We are humbled by the magnitude of this one organization's aggressive transport operations."
This rescue mission will also be the first official operation that Riverside County will keep a closer record of some of the pets and document what families are now caring for former shelter animals. The record-keeping is in conjunction with the county's participation in the Carroll Petrie Foundation Dog Rescue Project.
Riverside County Animal Services is one of more than 40 groups participating nationwide in the Carroll Petrie Foundation Dog Rescue Project, a program coordinated through the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
The project's goal is to save 16,600 dogs. Groups and organizations such as Riverside County Animal Services provide data and "happy stories" to illustrate good work and, in return, the foundation rewards the groups. Each dog transferred to rescue groups, or adopted, rewards organizations $50 per pet.
"Since we have been working with rescue group partners for years, this was a no brainer for us to sign up for the Petrie Project," said Kim McWhorter, a program manager with Riverside County Animal Services. "We've transferred pets to our partners with the intent to save lives. Now we've got a chance to be rewarded for these efforts and give our budget a little boost."
The S.T.A.R.T. operation on Thursday, Oct. 4, will begin at the Western Riverside County/City Animal Shelter (6851 Van Buren Blvd., Jurupa Valley, Calif. 92509) at about 5:15 a.m. A female dog and her six puppies, plus three pregnant dogs, will be heading to the Chino Airport. A small aircraft will depart from the Chino Airport at about 7 a.m. and head to Oregon.
The Chino Airport is located south of Highway 60 at Cal Aero Drive (in the 7000 block of Merrill Avenue), between Euclid and Grove avenues. The airport's contact number is 909-597-3910.
Following the plane takeoff, employees and volunteers will begin loading the first of two large transport trucks at about 8:30 a.m. That vehicle leaves the shelter at about 10 a.m. Then employees and volunteers will start loading the second truck.
To learn more about S.T.A.R.T., please visit the organization's Web site: www.startrescue.org