Pet adoption program benefiting veterans to begin Saturday

JURUPA VALLEY – A pet adoption program intended to benefit military veterans while finding new homes for impounded dogs and cats will begin May 27 at the Western Riverside County Animal Shelter in Jurupa Valley.

The Homeless Pets & Combat Vets Adoption Series will feature flat $49 fees for all sheltered animals, with $20 of each collection going to nonprofits selected by the county department of veterans’ services, specifically to support veterans struggling with the transition from active-duty to civilian life, or in need of aid to get off the streets.

“We know that many of our military personnel serving in combat situations come back home with a lot of physical and mental scars,” said Department of Animal Services Director Rob Miller. “In some respects, a homeless pet shares some similarities with combat veterans.”

When a dog or cat enters an unknown shelter, it can be very stressful for a pet, Miller said.

“It’s nothing compared to a war, of course, but our pets are sometimes forced to endure days and weeks in this unfamiliar surrounding before getting re-homed,” he said.

In addition to the $20 for veterans’ groups, another $20 from each adoption fee will be donated to the nonprofit Animal Solutions Konnection, which oversees a variety of programs benefiting impounded canines and felines, according to animal services spokesman John Welsh.

ASK sets up food pantries for needy pet owners who cannot afford to purchase supplies for their four-legged friends. It has also supplied every Riverside Fire Department station with oxygen masks for pets in distress and is funding the installation of horse corrals at the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus, Welsh said.

The balance of fee collections will go to the county.

Veterans’ services Director Grant Gautsche lauded the Homeless Pets & Combat Vets Adoption Series as a “wonderful concept.”

“I love pets, and I love our vets, so I am very happy to be a part of this,” Gautsche said. “What a gesture to assist our combat veterans when they return home.”

All of the county’s shelters will participate in the program, which in addition to today, will run on the following Saturdays: June 3, June 10, June 17 and July 8.

Special events are scheduled on a rotating basis, with prize giveaways, food vendors, music and other entertainment at different shelters.

More information is available here: www.rcdas.org

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