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SPCA offers more than pet adoptions

By: Brandon Darnell, News Messenger Reporter
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The Placer County SPCA is often thought of as a place to adopt a pet, and while that’s true, there’s really a lot more going on, said Leilani Vierra, CEO. “We’re certainly involved in education,” Vierra said. Over the summer, the SPCA hosts a kids camp, which teaches children kindness, respect and compassion for animals. During the school year, a similar program – but with an added community service element – is held for youths, according to Vierra. Other educational efforts of the SPCA include teaching realistic expectations for pets’ behavior, house training, how to select the right animal and pet behavioral clinics. The Placer County SPCA technically covers all of Placer County, but doesn’t have a strong presence in the Tahoe area. When it comes to stray animals, the SPCA can only take from within the city limits of Roseville, but animals voluntarily given up for adoption can come from anywhere in the county, Vierra said. The SPCA’s presence in Lincoln is a weekly affair, as the Petmobile – a mobile adoption center – comes to the Raley’s shopping center from 9 a.m.-noon every Thursday. On July 16, the Petmobile will also come to the downtown farmers market. The Placer County SPCA also has ties to the Sun City Organization of Pooches, and coordinates visits to Sun City Lincoln Hills for services such as microchipping. Though the SPCA does have a small paid staff, about 300 volunteers really make the organization tick, according to Vierra. Currently, the SPCA has a large amount of cats, prompting the organization to offer cats older than 1 year for free to a good home. Currently, there is what Vierra described as an “abnormally large” percentage of purebred dogs up for adoption. That number usually hovers around 25 percent, but it is significantly higher now. “We have everything from Chihuahuas and poodles to labradoodles,” Vierra said. The adoption fee for dogs starts at $125. “All of our animals are tested for the common viruses and heartworm, vaccinated and spayed or neutered,” Vierra said. Volunteers are always needed, and there are many ways they can help, according to Vierra. Those ways include donations of time, money, old blankets and towels, toys, treats and other pet supplies. Foster homes for pets are also needed. For those who face abandoning their pets in the wake of the recession, the SPCA can help through its SOS program, which offers loans or pays pet deposits for owners who would otherwise have to give up their beloved pets. In recognition of its efforts, the SPCA received te Sacramento Nonprofit Resource Center award for Nonprofit of the Year for Central and Northern California for 2008, Vierra said.