Pip, a 6 month old kitten, joins his new family. [Nick Alaimo/Lariat]
Petco Mission Viejo is trying to find many of these pets “forever homes” through its weekly cat adoptions and monthly dog adoptions. OC Small Paws is the local cat adoption organization that operates out of Petco Mission Viejo every Saturday.
According to the ASPCA, approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, about 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats. Of those, 2.7 million are euthanized. Euthanization is the process of putting an animal to death with minimal pain and distress. Euthanasia is usually used due to a lack of resources to continue supporting the animal, or if the animal has some sort of disease or disorder that is unable to be treated.
OC Small Paws is a non-profit, no-kill cat rescue that focuses on rescuing cats from high-kill shelters. Adoption starts at 10:30 am and lasts until 2:30 pm. Elizabeth Kianpour, vice president of OC Small Paws is heavily involved with Petco Mission Viejo’s adoption events.
“I started volunteering with the rescue after I adopted two kittens,” she said. “Although I had always been an animal lover, I had never volunteered in rescue and the group was looking for help. Once I started, I realized how broken our shelter system is in California and how many pets and or stray animals were being euthanized daily simply over lack of space.”
Dog adoption events are also held at Petco Mission Viejo, although they only take place every third Saturday of the month. These are held by KARMA, an Orange County organization that rescues animals from kill shelters.
Adoption events like these are more important than ever, seeing as how the actual sale of cats and dogs by pet stores has been illegal since 2012 in most California cities. The majority of cats and dogs are obtained from friends and family.
“The the more I started doing, the more I started learning, and I realized that in order to truly change the system we have to educate the community – in our cities, statewide and nationwide,” Kianpour said. “But you have to start small so that it doesn’t become overwhelming. In my mind, I am helping one animal in need at a time.”
Only 29 percent of cats and dogs are adopted from shelters and rescues. This is a huge disparagement, seeing as how estimates for only stray cats in the US are upwards of 70 million.
Organizations like Petco, OC Small Paws and KARMA are all supporters of finding “forever homes” for cats and dogs in need. Volunteers are always needed. if you are lookingso to get involved with OC Small Paws, or even just looking for a new kitten to love, you can find them on Petfinder, Twitter, Instagram and at their website.