Last summer, during record high temperatures in Southern California, the City of San Bernardino animal shelter experienced an interruption in water service. Volunteers were quick to react, alerting a network of supporters via Facebook. Luckily, service was quickly restored, but what if that had not been possible?
Pet Assistance Foundation was among those responding to the plea for bottled water, and we learned that this situation occurs several times a year. Through our efforts to respond, we realized that transportation was the biggest obstacle to overcome—large amounts of water are bulky and heavy. Rather than waiting for the next crisis, it made more sense to provide the shelter with equipment they could use to store drinking water safely on site.
We contacted the shelter manager, and he confirmed that they had room for emergency storage kits, and that they would use them. This is important when making shelter donations, as for various reasons, not all items that seem like they would be helpful can actually be used. Once we knew they would be welcomed, Pet Assistance purchased two 55 gallon, food grade, emergency water storage barrels, along with preservative and a pump and delivered them to the shelter.
It is tragic that human carelessness, fickleness and greed keep our shelter populations so high, but until we effectively curb pet overpopulation, many animals will know no other home. It may not yet be in our power to find families for all of them, but it is definitely in our power to treat them humanely while in shelter care. In fact, it is our moral obligation as a society.
Our thanks to the dedicated animal advocates on Facebook, and the wonderful San Bernardino volunteers and shelter staff for bringing attention to this situation, and allowing us to help.