By Bernice Osorto, ASPCA Safety Net Manager If you visit me at work, don't expect to find me sitting at a desk behind a computer. I spend my day - usually outdoors - and the entrance to LA County's high-intake animal shelter in Downey, greeting clients as they approach with dogs on leashes, cats in carriers, kittens and puppies in shoeboxes, or injured pets in towels.
I'm a manager for the ASPCA's "Safety Net" program, and since June 2014, I and my colleagues, Erica Macias, who is stationed at the Baldwin Park shelter, and Miguel Ruelas, who divides his time between both Downy and Baldwin Park, have interacted with thousands of pet owners and helped more than 3,400 animals remain in their homes.
The ASPCA collaborates with the LA County Department of Animal Care and Control and the LA County Animal Care Foundation to offer services to qualified clients living in the Downey and Baldwin Park service areas. The services - which can include free and low-cost spay/neuter, medical care, vaccines, assistance with licensing fees and boarding - even help with fence repair - are granted through an ASPCA voucher system via partnerships with local veterinary clinics, pet service providers, and local animal welfare organizations. They can make the difference between a family keeping a beloved pet or having to relinquish it.