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Helping the homeless -- stray dogs and cats

December 21, 2000

Tariq Malik

HUNTINGTON BEACH -- Instead of collecting toys for needy children this

holiday season, Adrienne Parks wants to help homeless canines.

Parks, who has lived in Surf City for 11 years, has adopted an animal

shelter and hopes to raise funds and collect squeakers, chew bones and

other playthings for stray dogs.

"This time of year there are so many people out there trying to help

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others who have no place to go," she said. "I just wondered about the

dogs, cats and other pets that are also out on the street."

To encourage donations, Parks turned decorative lawn reindeer into

lighted golden retrievers, pulling a sleigh across the frontyard of her

home at 17085 Westport Drive. On Christmas Eve, she'll deliver the

contributions to the Seal Beach Animal Care Center because she supports

their "no-kill" policy of not euthanizing animals to free up cage space.

"I just wanted to remind people that there are shelters out there with

dogs and cats that need good homes, especially right now," Parks said.

The Seal Beach animal shelter is at 1700 Adolfo Lopez Drive, and finds

homes for about 1,000 pets each year.

"It's absolutely wonderful the way people are encouraging our type of

shelter," said Pierrette Manfredi, office manager at the Seal Beach

shelter. "We're completely run by volunteers and to find our funding."

Karen Chepeka, president of the Save Our Strays group in Huntington

Beach, said the city desperately needs its own humane animal shelter to

meet the needs of the community and give residents a place to take their

pets.

"This city spends about $425,000 each year in a contract with Orange

County Animal Control to collect stray and vicious animals," she said,

adding that those animals are taken to the county's animal care center in

Orange, where by law they must be kept for at least four days before

being euthanized.

City officials are looking into possibly building an animal shelter in

Huntington Beach, and may have a report ready by early next year.

Another facet of animal shelters is their ability to find good homes

for dogs and cats.

"When people go Christmas shopping, some stop at pet stores to pick

animals up as gifts," she said. "But when things don't work out between

the pets and adults or children, they're returned to animal shelters."

At the Seal Beach shelter, entire families must come in and fill out

an application before taking a new pet home.

Officials at the Huntington Beach Humane Society, with a shelter at

21632 Newland Ave., said their facility also keeps animals until they're

adopted by pet-seeking residents, but typically doesn't accept strays

from the community because contracts with Westminster and Costa Mesa keep

cages full.

"It would be great if we had a humane shelter here for residents,"

Parks said. "Because if these animals go the county shelter and no one

claims or adopts them ... they're gone."

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