10/9/2013 8:06:00 AM Successful animal shelter depends on donations
Volunteers make all the difference to abused, abandoned pets in Chino Valley's care
Courtesy, Bonnie Keith
Julie James, left, poses with CV Animal Adoption Specialist Grace Rentschler. Julie submitted the highest bid for Milly’s bicycle.
Courtesy, Bonnie Keith
Kathi Sabot Chino Valley Review
With assistance from Chino Valley Animal Hospital and a myriad of volunteers, the Chino Valley Animal Shelter provides care and foster homes for injured and medically compromised stray dogs.
"Bonnie Keith is a volunteer who is expert in senior dog care and dogs needing medical help," said Angela Grassi, Chino Valley animal control supervisor and shelter manager.
Donations are crucial to the local shelter.
"Many people don't realize how important their donations are," said Keith. "We recently raised over $600 at a yard sale, where we had a special bike donated in memory of one of the dogs that was rescued, and hospiced. We are distinctly different from private humane facilities, which are governed by a board and perhaps a wealthy benefactor. Our volunteer efforts are primarily devoted to helping the 72-hour dogs find new homes. The facility here is not state-of-the-art; it is cramped and cold. Donations of rugs, and towels and blankets are always welcome so they have a bed to lay on."
Animal control is part of the Chino Valley Police Department. It abides by Arizona laws, which state that a dog with no identification must be kept a minimum of 72 hours. Dogs with an I.D. receive care for up to 10 days.
"I very quickly turned that around," said Grassi. "As long as we have space, we keep the dogs. We can't take owner-surrendered dogs because we are a government shelter."
This passion to rescue dogs is made possible by volunteer support. Because of town budget cuts, three full-time positions became two 18-hour, part-time paid Adoption Specialists, (Grace Rentschler and Bethany Steinmann), and one full-time position which combines shelter management and animal control.
"A lot of employees had to take two titles," Grassi said.
While Grassi spends the bulk of her time responding to animal control calls, local townsfolk are busy caring for the canines.
"We make it work with volunteers. Mailu Yoshikawa empowered the adoptions. She works with local rescue groups." Grassi said. "Dave Moorefield volunteers every evening to give them a potty break."
"I was involuntarily retired from the aerospace business in California with no consuming hobbies," Dave Moorefield said. "My wife was a volunteer at an animal care center, and invited me to visit. I found myself wanting to see the dogs again. There were many women of slight build who were glad to have a male volunteer manage the rowdy, larger dogs.
"I started taking seminars on dog training, and now have 15 shelf-feet of dog behavior books. The hardest dogs I would train to walk on a leash. The dogs here don't get any kind of outdoor time unless a volunteer takes them outside."
The 12 large and three small kennels are indoor only. Volunteers receive basic training from Rentschler and Steinmann. Donations pay the medical bills.
"Fortunately we do live in a community with heart, that has managed to lift its animal control facility from more than just a doggie jail; we can affectionately and deservedly refer to it as the Chino Valley Animal Shelter," Keith said.
Volunteers operate the washers and dryers, provide dog baths, clean dog bowls, offer leash training and basic commands, transport dogs to adoption events, and find adoptable homes via the Internet.
Owners of newly adopted dogs also receive free beginning obedience lessons from the Chino Valley Canine Training Club.
Moorefield said the dogs appreciate visits late in the day, when it's quieter.
"I can't imagine doing anything else."
The CV Animal Shelter is open to the public 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and Sunday by appointment. You also can preview animals online at the town's website, www.chinoaz.net.